“Le Musée imaginaire” by André Malraux
Over the last forty years of his life, Malraux would assemble, disassemble, and reassemble montages of photographic reproductions to create Le Musée imaginaire, which ranks as one the twentieth century’s seminal manifestations of the archive along with Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas, Hanne Darboven’s Cultural History 1980–1983, and Gerhard Richter’s ongoingAtlas project. Malraux’s idea of an imaginary museum, a “museum without walls” (which he first announced in 1947), is a prescient manifesto of the digital age that enacts the displacement of the physical art object and the museum by photographic reproduction. And Malraux’s privileging of curatorial over artistic production is a first instance of explicitly locating the creative act in the process of assembling, grouping, and displaying works of work.
Dennis Adams dedicated his last video to the French writer, adventurer, Resistance fighter, cultural provocateur, art theorist, orator, statesman, and passionate archivist of the world history of art. The set of Malraux’s Shoes is a reconstruction of the iconic photograph of Malraux standing in his study with the plates of his book The Imaginary Museum of World Sculpture laid out on the floor before him.
Malraux’s Shoes, 2012(preview)
Single-channel video, 42 minutes
No. 1 from an edition of 3
Written and performed by Dennis Adams. Directed by Dennis Adams and Paul Colin.