Personal Imaginary Museum

Antoni Muntadas
Alessandra Messali
26 Sep / 30 Sep, 2016
Cittadellarte, Biella
TOPICS/TAGS: Research, museum, absolute value, personal value, institution, individual, history, collection, archive, memory, alteration, conservation, imaginary, architecture, education, participation, enjoyment, anti-museum, gift

The book Le Musée Imaginaire (1947) by André Malraux is the starting point to investigate the nature of traditional museums in relation with the idea of a personal imaginary museum. According to the ICOM* statutes a museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment. On the contrary, a personal imaginary museum doesn’t necessarily follow the same rules. It may have exclusive values, can be secret, intimate or even unreal.
The workshop explores the notion of ‘Personal Imaginary Museum’ in art, architecture, history, literature and cinema. It investigates the distinctions between collection, archive and museum. It raises questions such as: could a flea market be perceived as a museum?
During the module participants will investigate different modes of thinking of Museums in relation to their personal interests through lectures, screenings, class discussions and brainstorming.
Meanwhile, participants will be introduced to the ‘Project Methodology’, a method conceived by Muntadas as a temporal structure of development of his projects. The Project Methodology has an appropriable nature, of which anyone can make use. The methodology can vary in relation to the individual and the context; it is not absolute, singular or rigid. It is part of a process that answers to the questions: who? what? why? how? where? when? and for whom?

(*) The International Council of Museums.


September 26th
Guided tour to Cittadellarte (Curated by Elena Rosina), including the Pistoletto, Arte Povera collections and temporary exhibitions.
Introduction to the Theorem of Trinamics, the symbol of the Third Paradise and the concept of Demopraxy.  
Participants and mentor’s presentation.
Introduction to the workshop and the ‘Personal Imaginary Museum’.
Participants share their interests about the topics of the module.

September 27th
‘Personal Imaginary Museum’: analysis of case studies.
Introduction to the ‘Project Methodology’.
Video screenings and discussion.

September 28th
Architecture, permanent VS temporary: the concept of effimera.
The mobile museum.
The artist Alessandra Messali will introduce her artistic project-based practice in relation with artists and works of reference in the area of art, film, literature and live arts. She will speaks about When the wind is still no one leaf moves, a project realized in 2011 which finds its roots on the idea of the ‘Personal Imaginary Museum’.

September 29th
‘Personal Imaginary Museum’: analysis of case studies.
Investigation, research and brainstorming.
Video screenings and discussion.

September 30th
Closing remarks and possible proposals for a ‘Personal Imaginary Museum’.


The mentor will prepare a reader for participants with key texts, some of which will be discussed during the week.  

Museums and artworks
• Herbert Distel, Museum of
The Museum of Innocence, Istanbul;
Tragedy in US History Museum, Florida
The Museum of Jurassic Technology, Los Angeles;
Museu do Crime, São Paulo
Museum of sex, New York
• Claes Oldenburg, Mouse Museum, 2013
• Marcel Broodthaers, Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles, 1968
• Joseph Cornell, Romantic Museum, 1949-50

Film and video
Malraux's Shoes, Dennis Adams, 2012
Le Louvre sous l’Occupation, Aleksandr Sokurov, 2015
Russki Kovcheg - Russian Ark, Aleksandr Sokurov, 2002

• AA.VV, The end(s) of the Museum, Fundacio ́Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, 1996
• T. Bennett, The Birth of the Museum: History, Theory, Politics, Routledge, London, 1995
• D. Crimp, On The Museum's Ruins, The MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 1995
• I. Kabakov, Incident at the museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, 1993
• A. Malraux, “The museum without walls” (translation of Le Musée Imaginaire, 1947), in The voices of silence, Princeton University Press, 1978
• O. Pamuk, The Innocence of Objects, Harry N. Abrams; First Edition, 2012
• J. Putnam, Art and Artifact: The Museum as Medium, Thames and Hudson, London, 2009



Antoni Muntadas was born in Barcelona in 1942 and has lived in New York since 1971. His work addresses social, political and communications issues, the relationship between public and private space within social frameworks, as well as channels of information and the ways they may be used to censor central information or promulgate ideas. He works on projects in different media such as photography, video, publications, Internet and multi-media installations.
Since 1995, Muntadas has grouped together a set of works and projects titled On Translation. Their content, dimensions and materials are highly diverse, and they all focus on the author’s personal experience and artistic activity in numerous countries over a period of thirty years. By grouping such works together under this epigraph, Muntadas places them within a body of experience and concrete concerns regarding communication, the culture of our times and the role of the artist and art in contemporary society.

Alessandra Messali (1985). After graduating at the Fine Arts Academy in Venice, she received her MA in Visual Arts from IUAV University in Venice where since 2012 has been teaching assistant to artist Antoni Muntadas. At the moment, after two experiences in Assam (India), she is working on the relationship between one of the most translated Italian authors in the history of Italian literature, Emilio Salgari, and the city of Guwahati, which he wrote about in his series of novels The Sandokan Series. The project is an ironic experiment that reflects on our ideas of representing, and being represented as ‘the other’.
Her works have been shown at museums and festivals such as Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Lissone, Galleria Comunale d’Arte Contemporanea Monfalcone, Fondazione Bevilacqua la Masa (Venezia) and FILMAKER DOC 14 (Spazio Oberdan, Milano).

The residency fee includes accomodation and half-board.

Participation fee
570.00 €