An essential feature of Renaissance and Baroque culture, an instrument of knowledge as well as of aesthetic pleasure, at a meeting point of art and science, the cabinet of curiosities disappears before rationalism in the Age of Enlightenment, mainly surviving in the secret museums of some nostalgic collectors.
At the beginning of the 20th century, it only aroused the interest of historians, amateurs of the bizarre and the surrealists who appreciated its strangeness and poetic aspects. We needed to wait till the following century to witness the cabinet of curiosity achieve a paradoxical resurgence and take on a new lease of life. After having gained acceptance thanks to La Licorne et Le Bézoard, an exhibition in Poitiers, France, in 2013, which proposed to retrace its history, the cabinet of curiosities benefits from a very different approach in the project at Fonds Hélène & Édouard Leclerc
Duly noting that having become a source of inspiration for numerous artists, a theme for international exhibitions, and also a trend in general taste and interior design, and that the cabinet of curiosities is now part of todays imaginary, the present exhibition proposes to follow its various expressions, echoes and interpretations. Opening on a historical perspective, it mainly focuses on the viewers who have renewed, in recent decades, the concept of cabinet of curiosities: established bodies like the Muséum national dHistoire naturelle, the Musée de la chasse et de la nature in Paris, the Musée danatomie in Montpellier and the Musée Le Secq de Tournelles in Rouen, and individuals like Antoine de Galbert, the founder of Maison rouge, and artists like Miquel Barceló, Jean-Jacques Lebel and Théo Mercier. Over more than 1,000 square metres, in a astonishing scenography what could be a cabinet of curiosities of our times is currently taking shape.
This summer, at the FHEL, we will give you a completely original rendezvous... at least, out of the ordinary. Let yourself be surprised! Enter into this curious fantasy with us and lets set out together with Laurent Le Bon, curator of the exhibition, and Patrick Mauriès, to discover these universes, these incredible collections, these Cabinets of curiosities. These bizarre and motley worlds, from the most mysterious to the most strangely familiar, are filled with objects and histories that cross time, places, societies, at the junction of arts, cultures, sciences and literature. Landerneau has not finished amazing you! --Michel-Édouard Leclerc
Exhibition curator: Laurent Le Bon Associated/Co-curator Patrick Mauriès