Treading the Timeline : A Study of the Newly Renovated Permanent Art and Design Exhibition at Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
Sammanfattning: The present study is, to my knowledge, the first investigating the newly renovated and rearranged permanent art and design exhibition at Nationalmuseum, Stockholm: The Timeline. The exhibition presents Western art from 1500 to 1914 and design and portraiture from 1500 until today in a chronological arrangement. In the first chapter of the analysis, the exhibition is compared to previous arrangements of the permanent art exhibition at Nationalmuseum, as well as to historical museological trends. In the second chapter, Carol Duncan’s perspective of the ritual structure is applied in order to explore how the specific design of the exhibition affects visitors and objects, and how mening and narrative is created. The study does not primarily focus on individual objects, but on the general design and structure of the exhibition space. The study concludes that historical references can be found in the current exhibition – mainly to a sensual, intimate, and aesthetic mode of display from the early twentieth century. Some principles which have been dominating in art museums since the mid-twentieth century are challenged, including the isolation of objects; use of vast, empty spaces; division between different object categories; and sparse, single-row hanging. The varied and dynamic hanging of the current exhibition, in contrast to a repetetive one, creates different patterns of movement and object-visitor interactions. Still, the ritual structure of the exhibition works to direct visitor attention and behaviour, conveying an art-historical narrative. Meanings concerning objects’ historical context are fascilitated through the interplay between visual arrangement and textual information.
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