Imaginary Museum

It’s an old country. One day out in the back of beyond you come across a small town, run-down because many of its young people have headed for the city. In an unpretentious building you discover a local art gallery-cum-museum. A solitary caretaker puffing a pipe turns on the lights and you are startled by the paintings on the walls. You smile at some of the quaintness but basically you are very impressed by this local school. There is a pleasant sense of artists having worked closely together. Here are old images of heaven and hell that now have a surreal air. You’d like to understand this odd iconography but the caretaker has a curiously literal approach – he tells local stories about the paintings as though he were pointing things out to you through a window. Still, he’s a compelling talker, and the small town has changed so little over the years that it’s not difficult to feel your way back inside the artists’ frame of mind.

[R. Horrocks, ‘The Invention of New Zealand’, AND 1 (1983), p. 9]

Le Musée imaginaire:

No comments: