Storeroom of the Children’s Museum I
An installation of children’s clothes on six rows of metal shelving in the former storeroom of the Children’s Museum located in the basement. It is lit by 28 desk lamps attached to the top of the shelves. Fabric, metal, lamps.
Storeroom of the Children’s Museum II
Installation of 55 framed photographs with lighting. Black and white photography, lights.
Storeroom of the Children’s Museum I and II were created for the exhibition Histoires de Musée in 1989.
On metal shelving in an area in the basement of the museum, children’s clothes are piled up lit only by little lamps fixed to the struts of the shelves. This display is complemented by a set black and white photographs of anonymous children taken from newspapers and magazines, and which are also dimly lit. As a reminder of absent bodies, mementos of a childhood lost forever, an allusion to great historical tragedies, relics of dead children – all these potential interpretations touch on one of the main themes of Boltanski’s work, namely the fragility of memory and human life.
The emotional power of evoking things via everyday objects and of trivial devices such as the Shadow Theatre – huge shadows of figurines projected onto walls – becomes increasingly evident in pared-down installations in which images are scarce. Sometimes people’s existence is merely indicated by lists of names, as is the case in Telephone subscribers, designed for the exhibition Voilà in 2000, where telephone directories from all over the world are displayed on shelves for reference and the human presence has been reduced to its simplest form: a surname.