How did you narrow down the 20 works from the museum's permanant collection?
The idea is to curate a collector’s cabinet of sorts. Unlike most museums today where curators work with fixed classifications (and hence the exhibitions become too academic), we wanted to evoke a more intimate and spiritual feeling with the space, as if you are visiting the home of a private collector.
What about the placements of the artworks within the gallery space?
It is important that we create some sort of communication between the paintings. For example, I’ve placed a work by Andy Warhol depicting Marilyn Monroe from 1967 with a piece by Hendrick ter Brugghen depicting a singing lute player from 1624. Both works are about entertainers from different eras and I’d like them to speak to one another. And to convey the vast sense of time and space and how it traverses, I’ve placed a work by Max Ernst depicting a city circa 1936-1939 between two portraits—one by Antony Van Dyck from the 1600’s and the other Jacopo Robusti dit Le Tintoret from the 1500’s.
Tell us more about the overarching theme of the exhibition then, which is “Transversality”.
“Transversality” is a term that goes some way towards explaining how small, timeless, community of artists, from all periods, from all cultures and origins, are united by a similar way of thinking, of reflecting, and of behaving. By its encyclopedic approach, every museum tends to make us forget its main role: to ensure that the works stay alive. They all speak of beauty, have identical references, and the same historical narrative. But these works have to be placed together in order to set up a dialogue – beyond borders and periods – for they summon up what we all have in common.
The second part of the exhibition is more spiritual in nature…
Yes, there are works by 20th century masters like Mark Rothko and Chu the-Chun shown alongside the Botticelli’s work of the depiction of Christ. There is a feeling of deep spirituality in these works and they are very much in touch with God. For Rothko’s works, for example, you could even sense the inspiration of light seeping through the painting.