The Museum of Enigmatic Objects: Cassandra Hard Lawrie

Cassandra Hard Lawrie: left: installation image, right: detail

The Museum of Enigmatic Objects: Cassandra Hard Lawrie

Dates: 3 - 11 February

Opening: Tuesday 1 February, 6pm

Artist: Cassandra Hard Lawrie

A month of postgraduate examination exhibitions at SCA.


The Museum of Enigmatic Objects is a sculptural installation that is intended to symbolise the space of ‘the invisible’. The invisible is that which is other-worldly and ‘other’ - that which contains multifarious and conflicting meanings as well as absurdity. The installation draws on the practices of Kunst- und Wunderkammer and esoteric doctrine to provide its sources of imagery. It is fancifully proposed that the installation is the result of activities performed by a fictional character (The Maker) who is based on the archetype of Trickster.

The Museum of Enigmatic Objects is a neo Wunderkammer. The unrestrained private collections of rare objects to their Renaissance collectors were a symbol of totality. The rare object symbolized the unique components of life that existed outside the typical and could provide a more complete picture of the universe. Totality was a symbol for diversity. I have used this Renaissance construct as a symbol for the invisible.

The museum contains 45 found objects that have been identified into components of a series; typical to the collections of The Enlightenment. By recreating these objects in a number of formats, The Museum of Enigmatic Objects absurdly redirects these objects into new collections, new historical locations and altogether new objects, creating hybrids of the old and the new. As totality was to combine the unique with the typical, this museum desires to combine the visible with the invisible. By commencing in The Enlightenment, the narrative of this museum travels historically backwards by taking its components back to a Renaissance environment. Like the Trickster, The Maker wants to take that which is predictable and ordered - and create confusion, disorder and absurdity.

The confusion and disorder is re-constructed into compositions, which are informed by diagrams of hermetic philosophic practice and esoteric doctrine. As obscure as Alchemy is known to be, it is understood that its theme was one of transformation, probably from ordinary mortal to man of divine nature. Alchemy, within The Museum of Enigmatic Objects, is to parallel the journey of the found object as it is accessioned into the collection as a mechanism transformed to semiophore. Secondly, Alchemy was surrounded by secret codes and deceptions. The sculptures of The Museum of Enigmatic Objects are constructed to be obscure and elusive art objects for the viewer to interpret. Their chaotic absurdity and the meanings that may be imposed by the viewer reflect the nature of the space of the invisible - where absurdity is reconciled with the quest for meaning.