Beyond the Limits of Museality

Skills: Exhibitions

At the exhibition Beyond the Limits of Museality, Ľubomír Slovinský presents to the viewer for the first time, not as usual, a work that was created on the basis of external observation, but – an intervention from the inside. He intervenes directly in the exposition of the Mining Museum in Gelnica through his artworks. The author selects artefacts from the collections according to personal and aesthetic taste, several of which are hidden in storage. From them, using photogrammetric technique, he creates models and subsequently spatial objects, which, together with digital outputs in the form of two animations, he places directly in the exhibition halls of the museum.

The author does not create consistent copies of museum objects with the resulting collection. Based on the technology, which is associated with small process imperfections and data loss, only imperfect imitations are presented to the viewer. At the exhibition, the viewer finds himself in a space where two apparently identical poles do not differ from the outside, but upon closer inspection he realizes that he has originals in front of him, but also a kind of parallel museum inventory; he witnesses the collision of the original and the present.

Intervention in the museum collections is one of the popular exhibition practices in many leading art institutions today. By confronting contemporary artists or by reorganizing the collection, curators tend to bring old art exhibitions back to life and create for visitors a new – up-to-date – view of the subject under investigation. It is the same in this case. We can therefore perceive Slovenský’s exhibition experiment as a way of looking at the exhibition with different eyes, and this new perspective can serve as an impetus for many to visit the museum premises again years later.

At the same time as a new look at the museum exhibition, the question of the relationship with history also arises. The mining museum is an institution that preserves the mining past through research, acquisitions and collection of objects, thereby becoming a representative and bearer of the collective memory of the region associated with the mining identity. With the intervention, the author not only transfers the exposition to the 21st century, but also expands the past. Through the exhibition, he indicates that working with history is a fluid matter, shows that history is not immutable, but that we create it anew based on the current perspective, newly acquired knowledge and scientific research. It can only be added that today, when there are more and more powerful attempts by politicians to fix a single authoritative interpretation of the past to justify their actions, this is a very timely and important contribution from the author.

Dávid Gabera

place: Mining museum, Gelnica
curator: Dávid Gabera
year: 2023

The creation of the artworks was supported by the Slovak Arts Council