In the Museum of Nothing, the presence of absence is on display. And doubt is introduced into history. Because the visitors are asked to fill the voids and gaps of the collection with their own stories, benandsebastian argue.
The Museum of Nothing consists of range of curios departments – the department of substitutes, the department of impossible returns, the department of fakes and forgeries, the department of past orders, the department of hidden agendas, even the department of dust, just to mention a few. In the end though, nothing is shown. The cabinets and displays of the museum of nothing are empty.
Still though, benandsebastian explain, things that are absent can still have a presence. As with an amputated leg, you still have the phantom pain and the lost leg has a very strong presence. As well as the phantom limb becomes a representation of what is not there anymore.
This thought then leads benandsebastian towards questioning institutional identities. Very often museums, cultural institutions and institutions in general present themselves as being whole and complete, as if they don’t have any gaps and inconsistencies. But as with history, objects that have been regarded as treasured artefacts, can turn out as fakes from one moment to the other. Then they not only loose their status as artefacts, but cease to exist within the collection, thus their cultural value.
The Museum of Nothing thus explores, how institutions create sets of values – both in monetary, but also cultural terms. It shows that the pretension of cultural consistency is just that and has to be questioned. As with history, the presence is always ambivalent, benandsebastian argue. “Our experience is, that if you start to doubt a received view on history, then conversations start quite naturally – and new histories are quickly written, because we cannot deal with no stories being present. Making gaps and creating doubt thus generates more stories.”
benandsebastian is a visual artist duo that was formed in 2006 by Ben Clement (b. 1981 in Oxford, GB) and Sebastian de la Cour (b. 1980 in Copenhagen, Dk). Both members are educated architects and use the language of architecture in their artistic work as a means of addressing the relationship between the psychological spaces of the mind and the physical spaces of the body and it’s surroundings. For it’s elaborately crafted sculptural and installation art works the duo has received diverse prices – besides others by the Danish Arts Council, the Danish Arts Foundation as well as the talent prize of the Danish newspaper Politiken. Today benandsebastian live and work in Berlin and Copenhagen.
Read more about the Museum of Nothing on their website: http://www.benandsebastian.com/?portfolio_item=museum-of-nothing
benandsebastian were interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner
Camera by Klaus Elmer
Editing by Kamilla Bruus
Produced by Marc-Christoph Wagner, 2014
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, produced by Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2014.
Supported by Nordea-fonden