Life inside a Cabinet of Curiosity: Sitting on the Sofa with Sir John Soane and Mariano Fortuny

Domenico Remps (1620–1699) (photo from WGA)

Philip Hoare wrote a great article a few weeks ago for the Guardian (my fave) about the resurgence of curiosity for the Cabinet of Curiosity in museums today. He highlighted upcoming exhibitions and new forms of curation that reveal a taste for stuffed animals and objects of naturalia within the realm of fine art. In recent years the type of objects and means of display pioneered within the Renaissance Wunderkammer (aka Cabinet of Curiosity) has gained momentum due to artists such as Damien Hirst reinventing them. The structure of the cabinet is intriguing and to have a single art piece or show based on it is fascinating. However what I am more interested in is what happens when you build your Wunderkammer around you in your home and you become the central object? Continue reading

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Truly Splendid: Sensing Spaces at The Royal Academy

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Yesterday I realised it really is worth being friends with The Royal Academy. Last night I spent around three hours wandering through their latest exhibition: Sensing Spaces. Seven leading architects from around the world have designed installations to transform the Royal Academy’s galleries. It is innovative and incredibly refreshing and I already want to go back again.

As you enter the gallery you are at a crossroads. A huge wooden structure enticing you to the left, a metallic arch in front, and a dark silent room to your right. The first room is an introductory room – with two sleek tables topped with interactive iPads explaining who the architects are and what concepts lie behind their installations. But all I want to do is go and explore. Cleverly the RA have made no narrative or set path to follow. This exhibition is more about becoming aware of the spaces around you as you enter them, not about following a story. Continue reading