EXPOSURE. Art, culture, fashion in and out of the showcase
Curated by Katya Inozemtseva and Sara Rizzo
MUDEC – Museum of Cultures, Milan
1 March – 8 September 2024

The exhibition, curated by Katya Inozemtseva and Sara Rizzo, reflects on the traditional concept of the vitrine and its centrality in exhibition projects. In relation to the ‘classical museum display’, the display case separates and at the same time exposes the object, offering it for viewing, but creating a barrier for the viewer. In ethnographic museums in particular, the ‘neutralising’ effect of the display case affects the works, isolating them and depriving them of their original context and function.

The exhibition is preceded in the Permanent Collection by a special intervention by the contemporary artist Theo Eshetu (b.1958),The Crocodile on the Ceiling: a brand new work produced especially for MUDEC. By reversing vision, Eshetu reflects on the origins of the museum itself, which can be traced back to the Renaissance cabinets of curiosities. Brave New World, also by Theo Eshetu, is instead a kaleidoscope of moving images that makes the audience itself part of the work.

This is followed in the Focus rooms by a section devoted to the history of the display case in museum displays and its role as a means of classification, particularly in ethnographic collections. The theme of desire, on the other hand, is explored through the dreamlike images of the shop windows created by legendary designer and windows dresser Gene Moore for Tiffany and those of the displays by graphic designers Albe Steiner, Giancarlo Iliprandi and Roberto Sambonet for ‘la Rinascente’ in the second half of the 20th century.

The exhibition concludes with a focus on the display case in contemporary art practice, through works by Mark Dion (b.1961), Sam Durant (b.1961), and a site-specific installation by Monia Ben Hamouda (b.1991), which aims to deconstruct the practice of the display case and, metaphorically, the museum itself.

The exhibition is preceded by Luce dietro tracce incompiute by Mariana Castillo Deball (b.1975): in the iconic setting of the Agora: in the museum’s glass atrium, the seven textile sculptures – inspired by pieces from the MUDEC collections, create an inverted situation in which the public finds itself, along with the works, inside an imposing display case.

The exhibition is also enriched by a rich programme of events that allow us to reflect on some of the key concepts of the exhibition and to leave the museum through public art.