Accepted Paper:

Orient Museum Collections. Polysemy reduction and metonymic overuse  


Sofia Campos Lopes (Fundação Oriente)

Paper short abstract:

The Orient Museum collections, Portuguese Presence in Asia and Kwok On, have different modes of incorporation and display. The museum promotes transdisciplinary historical and anthropological views and identity diversity but individual and collective expectations lead to objects's transfiguration.

Paper long abstract:

The Orient Museum, in Lisbon, was created in 2008 by the Orient Foundation (FO), a private organisation born in 1988. In its manifesto we read that both the museum's collections, Portuguese Presence in Asia (PPA) and Kwok On (KO), were gathered with the ultimate intention to build peaceful links between West and East civilizations, by disclosing art testimonies of ancient and prolific contacts in colonial contexts, from the 16th century until today (PPA), and by promoting the richness of contemporary asian cultural diversity both in portuguese and in larger european contexts, through the exhibition of traditional performing arts and narratives' testimonies (from KO). The PPA collection was acquired by FO in national and international markets and it's part of the permanent exhibition. The KO collection was donated to FO, in 1999, by the Association des Arts et Traditions Populaires de l'Asie and it is presented in the form of temporary exhibitions. The museum promotes a transdisciplinary profile, intercrossing historical and anthropological points of view that define its programming. Yet, under this positivism lies a complex reality, a myriad of questions pumping out on a daily basis to the museum staff, raised by individual and collective outside expectations and the inner needs for pratical solutions, aiming to produce legitimate data on the other. This presentation addresses two main ideas. The objects' transfiguration through the reduction of their polysemy and metonymic overuse. And the idea of embodying this complex reality by bringing it and its canons into exhibitions, playing and performing it.

Panel P006
Museums of Asian Arts outside Asia: Questioning Artefacts, Cultures and Identities