BASEL, Switzerland, July 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Bigness remains a fascinating phenomenon, even in today's age of superlatives. The exhibition "BIG" in the Museum der Kulturen Basel presents literally huge things. It applies new standards and explores the fascinating cultural expressions and dimensions of size.
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160630/385373 )
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160630/385371 )
Enter the room, put back your head and behold the museum's largest object on display: the famous Abelam ceremonial house. It opens the new permanent exhibition BIG - Things Interpretations Dimensions in a big way, so to speak. From time immemorial, humans have been fascinated by size. House posts from Papua New Guinea are not only visually impressive, they also evidence what "great" things people are capable of achieving together.
Huge things exceed common standards of size. But big doesn't mean the same thing across the world. For this purpose we show a Basel cubit next to a wooden board with a hole in it from Bali which was used to gauge the size of sacrificial chicken: if the animal got stuck in the hole, it was ready for sacrifice! Likewise, we humans are measured from the instant we enter the world. Throughout life, size and the "right" body proportions are a constant concern, often with dubious consequences, as today's beauty industry and racial anthropometry in the past go to show.
The exhibition is not just about physical size. Across fourteen exhibition spaces we gauge the cultural dimensions of bigness. Status and power are two examples in this respect. High rank is often betokened by correspondingly powerful and valuable objects, such as the elaborate ceremonial shield of a Naga warrior.
Normally, big things evoke admiration, but occasionally they are viewed as terrifying. The exhibition brings to life demons. They take us straight to our final exhibition space, which deals with the biggest of all forms of bigness: infinity.
Museum der Kulturen Basel