The Lost Museum

The Lost Museum – Department of Humans
9th September-5th November 2017
Munchmuseet on the Move-Kunsthall Oslo
Dronning Eufemias gate 34

The Lost Museum is a proposal for a phantom museum that could appear anywhere and everywhere. Its Oslo incarnation, the Department of Humans, has been assembled from the diverse collections preserved and cared for by institutions around Norway.

All of these images and artefacts are usually considered as part of separate stories – they have been classified as artworks, historical documents, anthropology, cultural heritage, psychology or medical research. In the act of bringing them together, new possibilities emerge. By deviating from familiar categories, there is a chance that something new can be added to our understanding.

The Lost Museum in Oslo looks at places where fact and fantasy; reality and desire; magic and materialism; beauty and ugliness collide. It looks especially at the way northern European culture has defined and redefined what it is to be a human being. In the drive towards progress and individuality – or what is generally called modernity – many human phenomena, beliefs and experiences have been sidelined. These excluded ways of being and thinking can add something worthwhile to the understanding of our culture’s present crisis – a crisis rooted in the reduction of the human possibilities of mind, spirit and body to quantified values that can be processed bureaucratically and economically. The intention is to see what might happen if the deviations from rational modernity that are preserved, but hidden, in existing museum collections can be brought back into common circulation.

Like most museums, The Lost Museum is interested in how the past speaks about the present and the future. It mines the archives for images and materials that respond to the demands of today. It looks for deviations from the consensus of experts about where art and science, life and society might be headed, hidden possibilities that are waiting for the moment when they might be recognized or rediscovered.

The Lost Museum is curated by Charles Esche, Director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. Esche has been curator of may major international exhibitions, including the first Tate Triennial in London, the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, the Istanbul Biennial, and most recently, the São Paulo Biennial in Brazil. This is Esche’s first exhibition project in Norway.