MUSEUM CLAUSUM: NOW AND THEN
103b Dalston Lane
London E8 1NH
Private View: Friday 28th September, 6.00pm – 8.30pm
Exhibition runs: 28th September – 21st October
Opening times: daily 8am – 5pm (weekends 10am – 5pm)
“Museum Clausum: Now and Then” is a series of photographs taken at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London. Largely preserved as Soane left the house at his death in
1837, a house, a home, a teaching collection, a museum, a time capsule… This unique historic space is now also a lively contemporary space.
“Now and Then” juxtaposes two photographically distinct approaches, each in their own way corresponding to and complementing the unique Soane ‘interiors’. The
sumptuous all-sharp, crisp colour images allow for studying intricate details of the historic spaces yet, many images also feature more or less faint, ghost-like traces of
visitors as a distinct vestige of the moment of the 'taking' of the photograph. The grainy black and white images show partial views of visitors on a par with the displayed
As a direct echo of Soane’s collection, often aided by views that are additionally broken up through the architect’s theatrical use of real and illusory
spaces, the photographs repeat fragmentation. The added focus on the fleeting presence of visitor’s bodies emphasises the contemporary photographic moment in
tensions to the stillness of the preserved historic spaces.
Soane died just before the advent of photographic image technologies. He spent great efforts to preserve detailed views of the rooms in his house through
commissioned watercolours. Always distinctly open to new technology, we can be certain that he would have been fast to embrace photography as a new medium to
mechanically record his house and museum. The fact that these remain largely unchanged means that contemporary photographs could actually be historic
photographs, yet the Museum Clausum image titles ‘stamp’ a recent date on each image.
As a collection in itself, this presents ‘a museum of a museum’ which
consciously extends the hall of mirrors effect that is inherent in all photographic re-presentation of museum spaces: a self-reflective mediation of what is already
another mediation. Yet “Now and Then” is far from an emphasis on ‘institutional critique’. Instead, the images are clearly to be seen as homage not only to the uniquely
idiosyncratic Gesamtkunstwerk created by a passionate individual but also to fact that successive generations have preserved and visited these spaces for some 180
Some images where shown at Riflemaker Gallery, London (2011). “Now and Then’ also featured in the three WUNDERCAMERA exhibitions curated by Klaus for
Pitzhanger Manor, London (2013), Holden Gallery, Manchester (2014) and Telfair Museums, Savannah, Georgia (2017).
See www.museumclausum.org for further details.
Klaus Wehner was born in Koblenz, Germany and lives and works in London, where he also studied at the London College of Printing and Goldsmiths University. As a
main part of his work focuses on museum culture, he often uses the artist’s pseudonym ‘Museum Clausum’. Klaus works mainly with photography, video and
installation. He also curated three WUNDERCAMERA exhibitions with the theme of photography and the museum.
Visit www.museumclausum.org for a full exhibition history.