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Boris Kostadinov

BUREAU OF WONDERS #22, 2022, Installation        >>back

Photo 13.11.22, 12 19 21.jpg

A naive and pointless attempt for research and cataloging some relatively newly discovered parts of the European body


Bureau of Wonders #22 is another cabinet that arises from the absurd and impossible ambition to separate anatomical parts from the body and place them on the display shelf. Just a few small objects that are historically new and therefore light enough to float to the surface of the ocean and be caught in the nets of a collector of European genetic material.


We do not have another choice - European (Western) consciousness is based on the visualization of materialism. Only through it (from Thales of Miletus, through Thomas Hobbes to Karl Marx) this consciousness could explain the phenomenology of the world we exist in. If eventually, the form and the object do not exist, then they will necessarily be invented by the European man.


In ancient Greece, Minotaurs, Cyclops and Medusas were visually represented to outline the image of the 'unknown', the 'other', the 'pre-human'. But the discovery of dinosaurs at the beginning of the 19th century gave the European civilization an incredible chance to visualize and put in a museum context the biological age of the environment where this same civilization was self-created.

Why do we love dinosaurs so much in our modern culture? From the paintings of Charles R. Knight through The Flintstones and Jurassic Park to the mass production of dinosaurs as children's toys, household products or souvenirs. The dinosaur has become something like an unofficial symbol of Western civilization. In fact, an extremely convenient emblem to personify the enigmatic essence of the “European” in the process of searching for its own identity. The dinosaur, on the one hand, is a creature that is so ancient that it corresponds perfectly with the idea of the "old world" ("the old civilization"). On the other hand, this creature has long since ceased to exist and has become a museum object.

Today's Europe loves museums. Often all kinds of "Wunderkammer" are the universal means to explain the antiquity of the continent, the vicissitudes of history, the social and political concepts and the ambition to not forget all of this.

However, the schizophrenic structure of the European body is in a permanent struggle with memory and forgetting. Europe is still a child who, in a moment of play, creates terrible monsters. Then it kills them, and then tries not to forget them, so as not to repeat its own mistakes. But imperceptibly, lulled into its game, it creates its next monster...

This kind of childish schizophrenia is expressed very clearly in the act of being ashamed of your own gesture. The European shame is very expressive. Our modern history, it seems, can only be explained by shameless gestures followed by deep shame, which is followed by oblivion… The concept of today's political correctness is the flower that grew on the soil of yesterday's colonial, discriminatory or intolerant game of denying everything that is different from the "perfect" European body.

The small collection of advertisements taken from mainstream magazines shows these games. Some of them were even published in the late 80s and early 90s of the 20th century, but today they are undiscoverable - even in the archives of editorial offices or libraries and of course, these ads have been completely removed from the Internet.


But the schizophrenic essence of the idea of European is expressed not only in the burning of witches or memories. We can also see it in the incessant ambitions to export European cultural production to the rest of the world and, at the same time, in the assimilation of non-European cultural and material products, which are boldly placed in a European context, as if they had always existed there.

The industrialization of cultural production / politics, its commercialization and expansion, as well as the incessant hunger of the European body to assimilate into its stomach exotic, non-European food is represented in this cabinet through: 1. "Chinese vase" - Made in the Netherlands. 2. "Traditional ceramics from the Balkans" - Made in India. 3. "Baroque Porcelain Clock " with battery - Made in China.


Boris Kostadinov - HOME | Boris Kostadinov , curator, Berlin, November, 2022

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