Mark Dion: The Bureau of the Centre for the Study of Surrealism and Its Legacy
Book Works, 2018
Recalling the short-lived Bureau de Recherches Surréalistes of 1924−1925 − part information centre and ‘public relations’ office, and part surrealist archive − Mark Dion has trawled the Manchester Museum’s own collections and found the raw material for this book and a new installation in the museum.
Museums’ attempts to classify and present the world in miniature inevitably mean that much of their collections are forgotten and marginalized. Renowned for his work exploring taxonomy, archaeology and ecology, Mark Dion, in his Bureau documents his opportunistic encounters with the Museum of Manchester’s neglected drawers and overlooked recesses that are home to redundant labels, orphaned mounts, defunct teaching models, botanical freaks, Egyptian fakes and the minutiae that have fallen through the cracks of museum practice and lain abandoned. Dion’s Bureau of the Centre for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacy is both a repository for the detritus of museum life and a working process, classifying the museum’s un-classifiable whilst exploring the bureaucratic workings of the institution.