Theatre of the World engages, and rejects, the widely held notion that ancient and contemporary works of art are inherently different, and that we must burden the past with the weight of history.

Theatre of the World is a kaleidoscope: here the viewer sees the object, and that is enough. This notion harkens back to the Renaissance view that art and knowledge are inextricably intertwined. This art is visual poetry.

The exhibition has, as its backbone, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery’s never-before-seen collection of Pacific barkcloths, as well as stellar works from Mona’s own collection. Other sources are tapped when required to enhance the perceptual interplay, or on whim.

In the Theatre of the World, art is a conveyor of dreams, a mobiliser of imagination, and a conduit for emotion. When we find beauty, sometimes we need look no further.

A collaboration between Mona and TMAG, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Curated by Jean-Hubert Martin with Olivier Varenne, Mattijs Visser, Jane Clark and Nicole Durling

Theatre of the World, exhibition installation view
Theatre of the World, exhibition installation view with barkcloths and coffin of Iret-Heru-ru

Header image: Caligo eurilochus brasiliensis (owl butterfly), South America
Kantharos, Panticapaeum, Greek, c. 320–250 BCE
Skull, 2001, Jan Fabre