Museum of Chance was a book that had 88 images (spanning 30 years of my work). Somehow I was able to convince Gerhard Steidl to make me 88 different covers. Meaning each image that was inside the book was also a cover image) and this allowed me to exhibit the book on the wall (this had been a long standing dream, to have my books on the walls of an art museum). Steidl agreed to this crazy idea because it seemed a democratic form of exhibition to him. Later the book was inserted into a wooden structure, and this became the Book-object that I then displayed on various walls. The image above is from the Sydney Bienale of 2016.
Occasionally I took a set of 44 and sold them at a venue, where I individualised each book for its recipient. Since I was the only one I had the sets, it meant if you wanted to choose your cover, you had to come to one of my events in Dhaka or Venice or Tokyo.As well as to have it as the Book object that you could then display on your wall.
But even this was not enough, I think I have found the perfect solution and soon after I make it a new thought arises. I wondered about travelling with the entire set of 44 book objects, to have exhibitions in likely and unlikely places. So the idea of a suitcase presented itself, with 4 wheels.They were beautifully made in leather. It take 2 suitcases to cart the 44 book objects. There is an A4 size catalogue inside.This then became the Suitcase Museum and is currently on display at Frith street gallery, Museum Moderne Kunst Frankfurt and the Bhau Daji Ladd Museum Bombay. Infact the exhibition at Bhau Daji Ladd museum is called SUITCASE MUSEUM
To me, the museum of the future is small and portable. It’s organic and allows for change and growth continuously. An Ongoing Museum. Perhaps, it is a Suitcase Museum, on wheels. It has ambassadors who transport it on flights and trains. The suitcases are the display as well as the storage units, and must include a reserve collection. They may be affiliated to larger institutions ,and take facsimiles from their collections, or they can be stand-alone. They could be like pop-up museums that may be on show for an evening or an entire year. They have a PDF as a catalogue which can be printed on demand. The ambassadors seek new venues for them in the places they travel to and patrons to make an event for their opening. This allows the suitcase museums to reach a wider cross section of people and not depend on those visiting them.