I was lucky enough to recently visit the Eksisterende Museum in Aarhus, which is situated close to the city centre, in the middle of Vores Gade. In the main gallery was a touring exhibition curated by Dutch conceptualist Mercedes van Stuurprogramma – an artist with whom I was previously unfamiliar but who, it turns out, leans toward the Dada. What Mercedes has done is collect a number of found objects, all of which have at some point been broken while being moved or, in transit.
Those of us familiar with the delivery techniques of DPD (for example) may not be surprised at the breadth of artefacts she has assembled for the collection, but amongst the everyday objets, there are hidden gems which contrast with, and throw into relief, the otherwise mundane. The original 78 RPM version of ‘Wilhelmina (is Plump and Round)’ by Rossini’s Accordian Band – later, of course recorded by Thunderclap Newman and released as the b-side to ‘Something in the Air’ – lies in two distinct shards.
Fairground mirrors, jigsaw puzzles, Lego models, the original 1732 Treaty of Ahmet Pasha, the jaded promises of a desperate passenger on the 1500 Greyhound Bus to Texarkana, a bedside reading lamp. All compete for the eye, all have stories secreted about their actualité however remain mute, overstandable
As you exit through the gift shop, on one side of the room an aspidestra, whilst leaning against the far wall, a hatstand. The incongruity is both intentional and deceptively equivocal. Stuurprogramma amost effortlessly leads us to question our own, if you will, manmussgeglaubtwerden and, in consequence, that of our peers. A triumph.