Thursday, 25 January 2018
Oceania, travels through the immensity
Yeah I feel the name is kind of pompous too, but it's the Cinquantenaire museum, so I can forgive them that.
Generally, I absolutely love exhibitions at the Cinquantenaire. It's hands down my fave museum, and whilst they are very much an underdog (completely unjustified), they generally put up expos of the same level of those you see at the British Museum. I've seen big international museums (looking at you Centre Pompidou) do a worse job than I've ever seen the Cinquantenaire do, 'nuff said.
That said, Oceania was my least favourite exhibit by them. I've written an entire review as to what my issues are with it on The Gatehouse, so if you're curious, click here.
Bert and I (him more than me) were originally very enthusiastic about Oceania. Because it seemed like a really cool topic for an exhibit, and it was at the Cinquantenaire.
That press doesn't go free anymore (sad but true, I blame the NVA and OpenVLD's refusal to fund the museum, and of course we don't have to count on left to stand up against them, especially not for a museum funded under Leopold II, but that's another story entirely), is one thing, but they are also woefully understaffed (meaning a bunch of miscreants are touching everything and using flash photography all over the place) and even though it's winter, heating is off pretty much everywhere.
And you can argue that it is for conservation purposes, but I've been there last January, too (for Ukiyo-e, which was AMAZING) and I can assure you that it was not that cold in the permanent collection areas. The state needs to give them money, stat!
(of course, not everything can be blamed on underfunding, but it is a big part of the issues the museum clearly has).
I've gone off on a tangent, and I'll get back to the exhibit now. But I still feel the beans must be spilled. Or the tea. Whichever is a hip spillage thing these days
(it's tea isn't it?),
They had a few really cool pieces on display. Some parts of the exhibit were really well thought out and presented, as is a Cinquantenaire tradition. But overall, it just wasn't on point for them. It was a really good expo, don't get me wrong, but it just sub-par for the Cinquantenaire.
I've seen every exhibition by them since Lascaux, and so this smaller, barer expo just paled in comparison.
And that was unfortunate (especially as you know, we actually paid for this one).
It was like they really wanted to put their shoulders under it, but simply lacked the pieces (even though this is a collab with the Africa museum) and the money to go all out as usual. Which is not only regrettable, but it also makes me a little worried for their next exhibition INCA dress code (which I'm REALLY looking forward to). Would it have maybe been a better idea to not put up Oceania and focus entirely on INCA dress code? Time will tell I suppose...
For more photos, click here!