Museums are shifting their focus away from being mere repositories for material culture to being a medium of communication. This project is about asking artists to intervene in, reinterpret or add to the interface between a museum, an object, or a collection and the audience.
Artists are in a unique position to repurpose and restate the stories told by museums. They are used to dealing with concepts and ideas, used to challenging, questioning, and commenting. They can bring life, vitality, a new perspective and new meanings to museums and collections. They can enliven experiences and engage new audiences, and make us see history in a new light.
To help celebrate the sesquicentenary of the discovery of gold and the establishment of Gympie township Gympie Regional Gallery has engaged curator Judy Barrass to work with a group of six local artists to develop stories around objects in the historical collections of local museums. The artists were chosen on the basis of including a mix of mediums, styles and approaches to make what we hope will be an interesting exhibition. In the process new links and connections are being made between cultural institutions in the town, artists, and heritage and art. The project is funded by Gympie Regional Council as part of it’s G150 celebrations and through the Gympie Regional Gallery.
The project is not about telling the history of Gympie or preconceived ideas about which are the important stories to tell. The artists are asked to explore, interpret and respond to objects in Gympie’s historical collections. In doing so they may deal with historical objects and stories, but the project asks them to also consider other things such as the museum space, the arrangement, the display, classification systems, labelling, cultural assumptions, the why’s and conventions of objects, collections and museums, and how they might tell the stories of objects in their work.