The Exhibition Space

For a long time we have been aware of the strong connection that exists between the materials displayed and the way they are displayed. Indeed, nowadays special attention is paid to the setting up of exhibitions and museum displays, due to the great importance given to the connection between creativity and exhibition arrangement. The exhibition of artefacts coming from non-Western cultures has sparked off an animated, controversial and topical debate, which has in turn generated an important discussion on the way these distant and unfamiliar worlds are perceived.
However, for more than one century, Western art has already been part of an intense confrontation with the extraordinary creativity of the artefacts produced by other and different cultures. The setting-up of an exhibition reflects the constructive dialogue that modern and contemporary Western art is holding with these ‘other’ cultures and their signs, symbols and ideas.

As a consequence, I let myself be inspired by this type of confrontation when I worked on the setting-up of the new Museum of World Cultures of Castello D’Albertis. I planned a variegated visit itinerary that allows visitors to follow different pathways and enjoy a visual and highly tactile experience, and that is based on the following principles:
- to reject the classical idea of showcase as a vertical container that forces visitors to experience the objects displayed from a perspectival position that has now become ‘comfortable’;
- to create a new place for exchange where the observed object, the architectural space and the visitor are closely connected;
- to favour variation over a modular uniformity;
- to avoid any form of mimesis, which has by now lapsed into mere illustration of reality;
- to create a place for symbolic exchange through the use of metaphorical showcases;
- to create an exhibition that fosters reflections, especially on important issues, such as the meaning of the sacred, which always arise when dealing with ethnological collections;
- to allow a persistent immersion of the body in its special tactility through a ‘sculptural’ artistic conception of the exhibition space design.

Finally, I want to underline how all choices were made bearing the following in mind:
- the meditative aspect that the word ‘exhibition’ entails;
- the contemporary debate on the contradictory and problematic nature inherent in museum and anthropological representations; a debate that current ethnological museums both encourage and have become victims of.

By Massimo Chiappetta

  • Cannoniere
  • Wind Tower
  • Exhibition