In the heart of the Powerhouse Collection lies a vision as unique as the objects it encompasses. The newly crafted exhibition, “1001 Remarkable Objects,” celebrates an eclectic and wondrous array of pieces, transcending typical notions of ‘treasures’ or ‘masterpieces.’ Instead, it finds beauty in the ‘remarkable’ — those artifacts that invoke awe, rarity, visual charm, historical significance, or simply the ability to stir a profound sense of wonder.
Curating the Remarkable
Under the stewardship of Curatorium Chair Leo Schofield AM, a long-standing supporter and significant contributor to Powerhouse, a careful selection was made in collaboration with advisors Ronan Sulich, Mark Sutcliffe, and Powerhouse curator Eva Czernis-Ryl. From a vast collection of over half a million objects, 1001 pieces were chosen. The selections span eras, styles, sizes, functions, and colors, breathing fresh life into memories associated with this iconic institution.
The objects to be exhibited cover a broad range, including some that have never seen public display, alongside treasured collection icons.
A Tapestry of Art and Science
The Powerhouse Collection celebrates both the applied arts and applied sciences, weaving together the decorative arts, jewelry, costumes, textiles, furniture, clocks, musical instruments, industrial designs, and social history. Exhibition designers Pip Runciman, Julie Lynch, and Ross Wallace responded to themes of nature, power, movement, and joy, constructing over 25 rooms. The exhibition space is filled with unexpected juxtapositions, leading visitors on a nostalgic and time-traveling journey.
The Objects of Awe
Among the extraordinary items, visitors will encounter a rare Meissen porcelain satirical portrait bust from 1739, the only surviving fragment of the Lockheed Altair aircraft flown by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith in 1935, a Detroit Electric car from 1917, and a mesmerizing Edo period samurai warrior’s suit of armor.
Musical enthusiasts will be fascinated by a Double bass from 1856, a hand-painted acoustic guitar, and an upright bookcase grand piano from 1809.
Fashion aficionados will revel in a 1700s court dress, creations by Coco Chanel and Vivienne Westwood, and the iconic ‘Iced VoVo’ dress by Romance Was Born.
The cinematic world is represented through costumes from memorable performances by Kylie Minogue, Nicole Kidman, and pieces from Strictly Ballroom the Musical.
Jewelry pieces, French and Venetian glass, and stained-glass windows add to the exhibition’s richness, highlighting elements from various cultures and time periods.
A Commitment to Culture
Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah applauds Leo Schofield and his collaborators for breathing new life into the collection. The exhibition reflects an ongoing commitment to sharing the Powerhouse Collection, connecting past, present, and future in a tapestry of insight and creativity.
Special programs, including Powerhouse Late events, will further enhance the experience. These events will explore unusual sonics, artistic inspirations, and will be accompanied by the launch of a companion publication.
Conclusion: An Invitation to the Uncommon
“1001 Remarkable Objects” is not merely an exhibition; it’s a tribute to the uncommon and the awe-inspiring. It’s a glimpse into the human creative spirit, manifesting in forms as diverse as the cultures and eras they represent. It’s an invitation to explore the unknown and rediscover the familiar.
By celebrating the ‘remarkable,’ Powerhouse embarks on a new phase of its existence, reminding us that wonder and beauty lie not only in masterpieces but in the unique stories that objects can tell. The exhibition is a cornucopia of experiences, a testament to human ingenuity, and an enduring symbol of our shared cultural heritage.