OCEANOMANIA: SOUVENIRS OF MYSTERIOUS SEAS

April 12 – September 30, 2011
Nouveau Musée National de Monaco

A new project by Mark Dion is held in Monaco both at Villa Paloma, one of the NMNM‘s exhibition spaces and at the Oceanographic Museum. Dion’s project examines our perception of the oceans and engages our sense of wonder at its diversity and our melancholy at its depletion. Investigating the development of our fascination with the sea in time and space, design, literature and art, Dion reveals how the uncanny and the marvelous have inspired artistic research through time.

The artist creates a display which is a huge Wunderkammen where a lot of objects from or about the sea are mixed together respecting the mysterious and the collecting attitude of the wonder rooms which were developed during the European Renaissance. Dion’s intervention at Villa Paloma brings together works by 20 visual artists. They show different aspects relating to our understanding of the sea and the ocean. They focus on the ocean not only as a site for exploration and discovery but also as a site where there is often unregulated and invisible human labor and exchange and where the marvelous aquatic life and mineral resources are often neglectfully exploited.

The exhibition includes the monumental series Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea by Bernard Buffet (1928-1999) and works by Matthew Barney, Ashley Bickerton, David Brooks, Michel Camia, David Casini, Peter Coffin, Katharina Fritsch, Klara Hobza, Isola andNorzi, Pam Longobardi, Jean Painlevé, James Prosek, Man Ray, Alexis Rockman, Allan Sekula, Xaviera Simmons, Laurent Tixador and Abraham Poincheval and Rosemarie Trockel. In addition, Dion’s site specific intervention at Villa Paloma comprises an eclectic gathering of sea-related art from the collections of NMNM and includes works by Lucio Fontana, J.M.W. Turner and Alphonse Visconti. As part of this museum investigation, two exquisite, rarely seen, Claude Monet paintings, showing the harbor of Monaco, will be on view for the first time in decades. At the Oceanographic Museum, a carefully selected gathering of Dion’s works demonstrates his interest in the oceans for more than 20 years. Here, OCEANOMANIA involves Dion’s explorations into the Museum’s distinctive collections, which the artist uses to create a spectacular curiosity cabinet.

OCEANOMANIA is based on a general concept by Mark Dion. Co-curated by Sarina Basta and Cristiano Raimondi (NMNM) with the scientific support of Patrick Piguet (Oceanographic Museum of Monaco) and Nathalie Rosticher Giordano (NMNM).

Images: Courtesy in situ/Fabienne Leclerc, Paris