Wunderkammer: The strange and the curious is inspired by those eclectic collections of objects that first emerged in the late sixteenth century known as ‘Cabinets of curiosity’, which included natural marvels, religious relics, works of art, and antiquities, among other things. These objects were often gathered on expeditions and trading voyages, and reveal the fascinations and preoccupations of the Age of Discovery. Wunderkammern were intended to be a microcosm of the broader world and are acknowledged as Early Modern precursors to the contemporary museum.
An exhibition in two parts, the first comprises objects that embody a Medieval or Early Modern (c. 600–1800) aesthetic. It includes scientific and medical instruments, religious paraphernalia, coins, illuminated manuscripts and contemporary artworks drawn from across The University of Queensland’s collections. Represented are objects from Fryer Library, Marks-Hirschfeld Museum of Medical History, Physics Museum, RD Milns Antiquities Museum, UQ Archives, UQ Art Collection, and the Vertebrate Palaeontology & Biomechanics Lab.
Complementing this is a Wunderkammer conceived by Her Divine Holiness Pope Alice, AKA Luke Roberts. Pope Alice, who has proclaimed herself ‘The World’s Greatest Living Curiosity’, overturns cultural hierarchies and celebrates the weird and the wonderful in all its abundance. This Wunderkammer collection is held in the UQ Art Collection.
Wunderkammer: The strange and the curious is organised to coincide with the Australian and New Zealand Association of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (ANZAMEMS) 10th Biennial Conference to be held at The University of Queensland (14–18 and 20 July 2015).
Wunderkammer: The strange and the curious
11 July – 13 September 2015