1001 Remarkable Objects exhibition

1001 Remarkable Objects at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney is an unusual exhibition. It’s a remarkable curation of some of interesting, original and culturally significant objects.

While most exhibitions typically feature around 100 or so objects, this one is exponentially more ambitious, coming in at 1001 separate exhibits.

There are popular iconic Powerhouse Collection pieces alongside objects that have never been exhibited before. Rare, ancient pieces sit together with modern objects is a display that spans artistic creativity, cultural expression, artistic flair, imagination and originality.

Object No. 97/208/1
Pair of women’s ‘Super Elevated Gillie’ shoes by Vivienne Westwood

Singular objects that make a statement

It’s impossible to try and cover all of the varied objects in the collection. To name a few, there is the only surviving piece of the Lockheed Altair aircraft Lady Southern Cross that was flown by aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith for his final flight in 1935; a colourful 1.5-metre tall Mintons ceramic peacock from the 1870s; a mousetrap making machine that was designed in Sydney; and a Detroit Electric car manufactured in 1917.

Described as a feast for the curious mind, it’s deliberately organised with no beginning, no end and having no chronological start.

Led by Leo Schofield AM, and experts Ronan Sulich, Mark Sutcliffe and Eva Czernis-Ryl, the team undertook the meticulous work of selecting the 1001 objects, drawn from the full catalogue of half a million items in the Powerhouse’s collection.

Object No. 2001/85/1-1
Standard ‘Supreme’ mousetrap making machine by AW Standfield and Co.  Photo: Anthony Potter

Each chosen object is deemed ‘remarkable’ due to its rarity, visual appeal, social history, or an ability to invoke wonder. The one-of-a-kind exhibition celebrates the history and relevance of the iconic institution that is the Powerhouse Museum and the sheer scale and breadth of its collection.

Each room is an immersive experience

Across 25 rooms, the exhibition leads participants on a journey through different countries, time periods and contexts. Each room has a singular background colour that adds depth and context to the collection of objects in each space. They are linked through open arched passageways, allowing you to observe objects in connected rooms.

It’s presented and displayed by exhibition designers Pip Runciman, Julie Lynch, Ross Wallac, and Damien Cooper. The pieces are skillfully arranged, with each room expressing an underlying theme of nature, power, movement or joy.

Object No. 2001/84/133
‘Kylie Showgirl’ costume worn by Kylie Minogue in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony

Reflecting on the unique approach of this exhibition, Leo Schofield emphasises that every object deemed remarkable was carefully chosen to ignite a sense of wonder.

“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.”

More than an exploration of artefacts, the exhibition is intended as an exploration of human spirit, innovation and curiosity, where the blending of the old and the new, the familiar and the unexplored, is a true testament to the power of history to captivate our hearts.

Object No. 94/64/1
Aircraft undercarriage from Lockheed Altair monoplane ‘Lady Southern Cross’

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Rosalyn Page
Journalist, blogger and writer covering arts, culture, travel and digital lifestyle at www.rosalynpage.com and www.somenotesfromabroad.com.

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