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 journey 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?

Image: wooden chests, 1500-1599, designer unknown. Photo: Carl Ander, the Röhsska Museum.

 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.

Image: Spoons carved from reindeer horn, nineteenth century, designer unknown. Photo: Carl Ander, the Röhsska Museum.

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.

Migration runs from 23 October 2021 until 28 August 2022.

Accompanying the exhibition is a catalogue in Swedish and English.

Curators: Kirsten Algera and Ernst van der Hoeven (MacGuffin Magazine); Johan Deurell (Röhsska Museum of Design and Craft). Graphic identity: Sandra Kassenaar.

The exhibition is supported by grants from Jacob Wallenberg Foundation, Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation and Friends of the Röhsska Museum, with materials provided by Forbo Flooring Systems.

Top image: Ceramic jug from 480 BC, Greece. Photo: Carl Ander, the Röhsska Museum. 

MacGuffin talks about objects in motion

We sat down with MacGuffin, co-curators of Migration – the Journey of Objects, and asked them five quick questions about their work on the exhibition.