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Fred Wilson - 'In Course of Arrangement', 1997.

Installation at the British Museum curated by James Putnam as part of a multi-site exhibition 'Collected', conceived and curated by Neil Cummings for The Photographers Gallery.

Wilson created a two part installation in the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery which he titled in 'In Course of Arrangement', in response to the official wording used by British Museum curators while a display is in progress. He arranged various artifacts from the British Museum's Department of Egyptian Antiquities using plinths and accompanying label texts, to address issues of acquisition history. He displayed an ancient stone head, a photograph of a mummy head mounted like a taxidermied specimen, and a bronze bust of Giovanni Belzoni, who in the 19th century was responsible for acquiring major sculptures which now form part of the Museum's permanent collection. He also exhibited the original display case for the Rosetta Stone with a caption asking 'What are you looking at?', challenging the museum visitor to think beyond the conventional museum interpretation of the artifacts. For the other part of the work, he arranged a collection of redundant museum display mounts and labels, dating from the 19th century to the present day in vitrine. This choice of material was intended to illustrate how the museum's perceived need to appear both impartial and impersonal is reflected in its use of less visible materials for mounts and in the transition from handwritten to printed labels.

Fred Wilson, In Course of Arrangement , 1997:

1st picture from top:
Installation at the British Museum, Egyptian Sculpture Gallery - general view.

2nd picture from top:
detail showing ancient granite head, bronze bust of Giovanni Belzoni, mounted photo of mummified head in glass dome, original case for the Rosetta Stone.

3rd picture from top:
Vitrine containing an assortment of discarded historical and modern display mounts and labels.

For an interview with Fred Wilson go to 'Conversations'

Fred Wilson, In Course of Arrangement , 1997.
Fred Wilson, In Course of Arrangement , 1997.
Fred Wilson, In Course of Arrangement, 1997.

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