Archives of wonder: Collecting the liminal in contemporary art

Edited book (chapter)

Shafran, Tiffany. 2017. "Archives of wonder: Collecting the liminal in contemporary art." Mieves, Christian and Brown, Irene (ed.) Wonder in Contemporary Artistic Practice. United States. Routledge. pp. 19-35
Chapter Title

Archives of wonder: Collecting the liminal in contemporary art

Book Chapter CategoryEdited book (chapter)
ERA Publisher ID3137
Book TitleWonder in Contemporary Artistic Practice
AuthorsShafran, Tiffany
EditorsMieves, Christian and Brown, Irene
Page Range19-35
SeriesRoutledge Advances in Art and Visual Studies
Chapter Number1
Number of Pages17
Place of PublicationUnited States
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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In his essay for the 2002 Biennale of Sydney catalogue, curator Richard Grayson asserts, “Our idea of an objective world is a shared hypothesis”.1 This statement encapsulates the underlying tension that lies at the heart of this chapter: the collective desire for a given order that governs and explains the world in which we live (which is knowable, factual and consistent) and the reality that such a structure is an imposed proposition and is therefore subjective, contingent and constructed. It is in essence a fiction.2 However, the fact that this structure is a fiction is not to be lamented. Instead it opens up a discursive space in which a personal and collective relationship to the world can be explored. The collection is one such platform3 in which the discursive relationships between things, ideas, images and objects (natural and man-made, found and constructed) are examined. As a modality of knowledge-making shared by institutions and individuals, science and art, the collection represents a world in miniature. In this microcosm, taxonomy is applied and narrative is constructed, in part to satisfy the desire for order and control, and ultimately as a mirror that defines the subject who is collecting.

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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Creative Arts
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