The new presentation is a project by artist Pae White titled OTHERS. White has selected works-on-paper and three-dimensional objects from the MAK Permanent Collection whose authors are principally unknown. White is intrigued by objects within the museums collections that are un-attributable, without clear authorship, yet remain part of the collection. The significance of the objects is clear, but, to me, their place in a historical narrative is not. Equally, White is interested in the role of critics and curators in the formation of narratives, which exclude objects of ambiguous value in order to create clearer histories. A major focus of Whites exhibition is the MAKs extensive holding of Japanese stencils (katagami), largely unauthored works on paper that have inspired several generations of European artists and artisans in their designs for textiles, coverings, and book illuminations. Pae White affirms that OTHERS is an attempt to rescue some of these objects, from relative obscurity, and to let them bask in the light of day.
In the end, OTHERS is less about the redemption of objects and more about offering the viewer (and the objects) the space to breathe, proposing the poetic silence of the unknown, and opening up a space, freed from the tyranny of history, in which these lovely, mostly anonymous creations can be viewed on their own terms. Pae White, Vienna, November 2012
The MAK Library and Works on Paper Collection is one of the largest and oldest museum libraries with a focus on applied art. Alongside classic library functions, the collection is also devoted to artistic aspects of the pictorial in all possible variants as well as to the initiation of a reappraisal of art production manifested in paper form.
The MAK Romanesque Gothic Renaissance Collection on permanent display reflects the often long-term survival of stylistic characteristics in the decorative arts. A special highlight here is the most ancient set of medieval liturgical vestments to have been preserved in its entirety.