Cabinets of Curiosities and Mausoleums of History

written by Maroje Mrduljaš


on the psychic life of picasso and
the assumed pantha from altamira

if we compare picasso’s guernica...
with the product of the precursor painter from altamira...
in the thirtieth century
it will not be quite clear
which product came from the twentieth
and which from the minus thousandth century.
there is no difference.[1]



When we talk about the museum as an institution, we usually first think of spaces intended to exhibit the history of visual arts. These are the temples of art, enormous or maybe just mediocre collections, reconstructing an evolutionary and linear understanding of history, not only art history, but also the history of civilization. Respectable museums contain mostly identical historical narratives recounted more or less by the same artists and same visual art patterns – style periods or genres. Of course, such narratives are also histories of exclusion and disregard, as in case of the cultural production of peripheral or Other environments; museums host a pageant of the big names of the dominant, Western-oriented history and its value criteria.

[1]              This manifesto by Dimitrije Bašičević Mangelos was first published in the catalogue Manifesti, on the occasion of his one-man exhibition in the Tošo Dabac Studio, Zagreb, 1978. Taken from the monograph Mangelos no, 1+9 ½, ed. by Branka Stipančić, DAF, Zagreb, 2007.