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Migration – the Journey of Objects

Just as ideas, material and products migrate, so too do objects. The exhibition Migration reveals the multiple paths travelled by items before ending up in the museum collection.

A global historical perspective on the collection highlights the various ways in which design migrates. What journeys have objects undertaken before ending up in the museum collection? How can we understand why similar motifs and patterns appear in different cultures and periods? In what ways do local resources affect the shape of, and trade in, design?

This exhibition, co-curated with international design magazine MacGuffin, presents over 200 objects of various cultural, geographical and historical origins. They are arranged in series according to material and typology. Some displays feature two or three items, others contain hundreds.

One of the environments in which this is a pertinent question is the museum, traditionally a place where objects are regarded as products of a specific, clearly demarcated culture. Until recently, collections were usually categorized according to ‘origin’ rather than ‘interchange’, more often valued as a canon of historical certainties than as bearers or witnesses of conflict and migration.” – MacGuffin Magazine’s Ernst van der Hoeven and Kirsten Algera.

The exhibition features everything from Coptic textile fragments and Skåne tapestries to Sami spoons of reindeer horn and Swedish tobacco caddies. Exhibition highlights include: the sixteenth-century tapestry Astronomie; a selection of antique Greek vases; Hannah Ryggen’s feminist tapestry Unmarried Mother (1937); and a new, site-specific installation by Olof Marsja.

Credits: Carl Ander, the Röhsska museum.

Olof Marsja, Tänk om björnen är solen och solen är björnen (2021). Credits: Carl Ander, the Röhsska Museum.

Tapestry, 17th century & Märta Måås-Fjetterström, Henrik Krogh, Granskogen, (ca 1911). Credits: Carl Ander, the Röhsska Museum.