imaginary museum

…As the chief curator and guide of the Imaginary Museum, Andre Malraux recalled Toynbee and Spengler. For one thing, he shares their infatuation with the past, their conviction that it can speak to us, that stones have tongues. For another, he shares their mental habit of imosing patterns on the universe. He, too, was obsessed with the contemporaneity of everything.

—André Malraux, 1933 -by Germaine Krull
Although this portrait is taken 10 years after the facts, it is clearly an allusion to what happened in Cambodge in 1923: André and Clara Malraux with their friend Louis Chevasson went to the temple Banteay Srei and stole pieces of bas-relief. Caught, he was jailed and condemned to 3 years. His wife, Clara, was able (from France) to make pressure and obtain his freedom. The stolen pieces were returned to the Temple.
Some commentators want to believe (and make believe) that the future Ministre de la Culture acted by love of art. This is contredicted by the Malraux themselves: they were young, poor, adventurous and the intention was to steal and sale.—Read More:

As Toynbee might compare certain aspects of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom to the modern American Middle West, Malraux could glory in placing a Buddhist statue of 500 B.C. alongside a late medieval crucific. As he wrote in La Metamorphose: “The art world’s hitherto known to mankind were exclusive, like religions; our art world is an Olympus where all the gods, all the civilizations, address themselves to all men who understand the language of art.”

From the heights of that Olympus, Malraux observed the works of man and produced in La Metamorphose a personal confession of aesthetic faith, which, by virtue of its style and its poetic vision, comes close to being itself a work of art.

—In Museum Without Walls, art historian and novelist Andre Malraux describes the “museum effect”. This effect is that the very placement of the object within the museum creates its importance and validity. Larsson uses this museum not only to tell a good story, but to highlight how the framing of information actually changes not only the tone but the actual content of the information. So too these flowers, having been carefully placed in an exhibit become a haunting reminder of the nature, politics and presentation of information.  So too, this museum effect, the politics of display and exhibition will become a recurring theme in the films.
That Vanger makes a museum of these macabre gifts is no accident. In Foucauldian terms the museum is an institute of indoctrination.—Read More:


(see link at end)…André Malraux was a major figure in French intellectual life in the twentieth century. A key component of his thought is his theory of art which presents a series of fundamental challenges to traditional explanations of the nature and purpose of art developed by post-Enlightenment aesthetics. For Malraux, art – whether visual art, literature or music – is much more than a locus of beauty or a source of “aesthetic pleasure”; it is one of the ways humanity defends itself against its fundamental sense of meaninglessness – one of the ways the “human adventure” is affirmed. … The study reveals that an account of art which Gombrich once dismissed as “sophisticated double-talk” is in reality a thoroughly coherent and highly enlightening system of thought, with revolutionary implications for the way we think about art. Read More:

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