By Marian Connor

I was thinking about memories and experiences. How important they are to our lives and how they become part of the fabric of who we are. This was triggered by reading an article about an exhibition “An Imagined Museum” presently taking place at Tate Liverpool, which was inspired by a novel by Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451.

The book is set in an imaginary future where literature is banished and the only way to keep it alive is verbally by groups of people who remember, they then recount to others their memories of that literature, perhaps verbatim or their own interpretation, how it made them feel and the impact that made on their lives.

The Tate Liverpool exhibition creates a similar scenario which this time befalls pieces of art. They ask the public to select and remember particular pieces of work which were previously on display, and then describe and interpret the piece, as well as how it made them feel and the impact that it had on them.

“For some life lasts a short while, but the memories it holds last forever.”

Lauren Swenson

Works to Know by Heart: An Imagined Museum by Tate Liverpool

 

 

This set me on a path of thinking about our lives. If we had to make choices, to create a “Museum of Things Remembered” concerning our life experiences, would they be tangible objects or memories and emotions, perhaps a mixture of both?

If you were to stand and recount the numerous elements of your life that were memorable and important enough to be framed and hung in your life exhibition, what would you choose?

I am certain many of the exhibits would be possessions, some beautiful and interesting items we enjoyed owning, and others we could only yearn for. Cherished possessions of our favourite childhood toy perhaps passed on to other children, the various favourite outfits we wore at different stages in our life that always made us feel handsome and invincible. The imagined perfect meal we have yet to experience, shoes we loved, cars, jewellery, homes. All so very different but all with one thing in common, how they made us feel. Some possessions are able to create more emotional reactions than others.

“Our memories are the only paradise from which we can never be expelled.”

 Jean Paul Richter

Our opinion and memories of artwork is obviously informed by what we see, but equally by our experience of and relationship to what we are engaged with. Remembering our life is our own exhibition of important pieces.

Our life is the product of moments, some vast and spectacular others simple and small but nevertheless memorable. They develop into the person you are today and contribute to who you will become. They all come from your experiences of living which makes it important to acquire experiences, to create memories as much, if not more, than possessions.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love possessions as much as the next person, one should never underestimate the pleasure derived from acquiring new shoes, we all know material things can bring great joy but equally charming are the memories created by experiencing beautiful landscapes, wonderful literature and the arts, time spent with the people we care for, listening to emotive music, losing yourself in starry skies and blissful moments of solitude, they are still there long after the shoes have shuffled off this mortal coil.

If you were to consider making your own “Museum of Things Remembered,” becoming your own curator of pieces from your life, you should think about what is available to you but also allow previous experience to inform what you could possibly develop in the future.

You would want to fill your exhibition with the richest variety of exhibits in storage. Not just the monumental sculptures and masterful paintings that represent major life events and have received a lot of press coverage. But also those little snapshots of happy chance encounters, small sometimes forgotten pieces made from acts of kindness and gratitude, whole albums of beautiful photographs of moments often considered unimportant but on mass contribute to the basis of our daily lives. They all represent opportunities and personal nourishment, don’t forget them, they may deserve to become delightful vignettes scattered about the galleries of us.

I wish you all good luck with the new exhibits in your lives.

“A mind stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimension.”

 Oliver Wendall Holmes

Buy Experiences, Not Things.

 

Image Tile/Header – Two gilded wooden decorative picture frames, one with a oval aperture.

Hyperlink – Works to Know by Heart: An Imagined Museum by Tate Liverpool

YouTube – The Imaginary Museum at Tate Liverpool – duration- 00:01:14

Hyperlink – Buy Experiences, Not Things by James Hamblin in The Atlantic

 

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Photo of Marian Connor and black text saying "Always looking over the horizon to discover treasures to share. Often times whilst partaking of a fine red."