i really enjoy going to museums and galleries, although i must admit i don’t make the effort to go nearly often enough. however, i usually find myself quite frustrated when perusing the various exhibits.
let me attempt to illustrate why, using these photographs i took on a recent trip…
here, we have a cabinet of fascinating artefacts – some dating back almost 3000 years. yet when i look to the numbered chart on the wall adjacent, often the only information attributed to the piece is something along the lines of: bronze head, circa 2800BC‘.
these are interesting and beautiful objects, no doubt with an extensive personal history but we don’t even receive a full sentence of information about it! sure, i understand there are limits of available space, budgets to consider, and of course in some cases – there may be no information other than the physical & geological facts.
anyway, my next issue is present to some degree in the display above, but better explained by this next image..
to the left is a shot of the plaque underneath the painting ‘perseus and andromeda‘, giving us an explanation and short history [:D] of the picture. to the right was my view of the painting from that same spot. this is a very large picture [2.3m x 1.3m] and it is hung some way up the wall. it is also behind glass.
however, the glass, wall position, and the lighting in the room all conspire to make it impossible to get a decent view of this beautiful oil painting. i had to stand 4 or 5metres away from it, before i could get a relatively unobstructed view. but at that distance, you can’t really see the detail of the painting!
of course, i could look for a hi-res image online – but i want to be more engaged with the object while i am in it’s physical presence. indeed, that is one of the reasons why i go to a gallery instead of simply viewing paintings online or in a book.
these frustrations regarding minimal information and issues with physical presentation are factors that i am taking into account when planning this overall project …which i shall explain more fully very soon!