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A cornucopia of remarkable objects on display at Powerhouse

The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney is showcasing an eye-opening array of artefacts in its newly launched exhibition, 1001 Remarkable Objects. Open now, this collection serves up history on a platter with objects both rare and renowned.

A cornucopia of remarkable objects on display at Powerhouse

Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum has just launched 1001 Remarkable Objects, running 26 August until the end of December. Curated by a group of experts led by Leo Schofield AM, namely Ronan Sulich, Mark Sutcliffe and Eva Czernis-Ryl, the exhibition features objects chosen from a pool of 500,000 items. Ranging from decorative arts and textiles to industrial design and aspects of social history, this is a comprehensive collection, to say the least.

Design specialists Pip Runciman, Julie Lynch and Ross Wallace are the names behind the exhibition’s spatial layout. The design comprises 25 distinct rooms, each with its narrative formed by the objects within.

Leo Schofield AM commented on the curatorial approach: “Our vision for 1001 Remarkable Objects was a seemingly simple one: to create an exhibition celebrating the sheer scale, breadth and relevance of the Powerhouse Collection. But how to choose? We rejected the nomenclature of ‘treasures’ or ‘masterpieces’ and instead determined all choices must be in some way ‘remarkable’ – whether by virtue of rarity, visual appeal, social history or an ability to invoke wonder. The result is a cornucopia of eras, styles, form, function, size and colour, to stoke memories that so many have of this iconic institution and signal the beginning of a new phase in its marvellous existence.”

Related: Sydney Design Week 2023

The exhibition showcases diverse objects such as a Sydney-designed mousetrap-making machine, an Edo period Samurai warrior’s suit of armour, a 1.5-metre-tall Mintons ceramic peacock from the 1870s and a 1917-manufactured Detroit Electric car.

Fashion elements are strongly represented, with pieces like the ‘Showgirl’ costume worn by Kylie Minogue at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and Nicole Kidman’s ‘Pink Diamonds’ dress from Moulin Rouge. The designs of Catherine Martin are also highlighted, showcasing the ‘Fruity Mambo’ costumes from Strictly Ballroom the Musical.

Jewellery plays a significant role, with over 100 unique pieces on display. Highlights include Egyptian revival designs from the late 1800s and mourning jewellery made from human hair. These pieces, part of a donation by Anne Schofield AM, add depth to the exhibition’s range.

Blending past with present, the exhibition also displays objects including French and Venetian glassworks from the 19th century, alongside contemporary pieces by international and local artists such as Dale Chihuly, Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello and Brian Hirst.

Powerhouse Museum

Zan Wimberley (Powerhouse installation), Marinco Kojdanovski/ORDRE (Objects)

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