TENT – The Museum of Unconditional Surrender

Text by Mirthe van Popering

“A pink cigarette lighter, four ice-lolly sticks (wooden), a metal brooch in the form of a poodle, a beer-bottle opener, a woman’s bracelet (probably silver), a hair grip, a wooden pencil, a child’s plastic water pistol, …”

The prologue to The Museum of Unconditional Surrender, a novel by Dubravka Ugrešić, tells the story of objects found in the stomach of Roland the walrus, put on display in the Berlin zoo. These objects, bearing no vital relation to each other, have obtained an almost mythical status now that they have been neatly assembled in a glass case.

Departing from Roland the Walrus and moving into the realms of institutional hierarchy, TENT Rotterdam hosts a group exhibition that is very much unlike your average art exhibition. Named after Ugrešić’s novel, The Museum of Unconditional Surrender is shaped as a temporary fictional museum, devoid of objects on display. It’s not empty though, as The MoUS foregrounds those objects and structures that are usually withheld from sight and thought to the audience.

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The MoUS is all about the practice of exhibiting and the unseen objects that are the indispensable shadow of any exhibited object. It’s not art, but the mise en scène, the support structures, and the displays that offer food for thought here, highlighting an institutional hierarchy we normally go about without thinking.

With The MoUS, curator Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk aims to reinstate the relationships between subject and object, “the divisions between I and it, what and who” and to “slice through the implied hierarchies, taxonomies, and attitudes in approaching other and external objects.”

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On view are temporary walls, press releases, plants, work descriptions, plinths, projectors, sockets and other obscured objects. In addition, The MoUS hosts a series of lectures and a museum night.

CURATOR: Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk // ARTISTS: Haris Epaminonda, Yoeri Guépin, Tim Hollander, Hannah James, Simon Kentgens, Una Knox, Wesley Meuris, Ieva Misevičiūtė, Mandla Reuter, Wouter Sibum.

The Museum of Unconditional Surrender
01.05.2015 – 05.07.2015 // TENT Rotterdam
Entry to TENT is always free for Subbacultcha members