In its Selected series, the Cologne Museum of Applied Arts (MAKK) implements varying exhibition concepts to provide unusual and surprising insights into its historical collections.
The current exhibition Perfect Match is dedicated to the phenomenon of the Kunstkammer (chamber of arts and curiosities) by juxtaposing selected objects from the MAKK and from the private Thomas Olbricht Collection. The Kunstkammer objects from both collections involve a special approach, as they do not correspond to the historically developed Kunstkammer, which, featuring 'exotic' objects, rare natural objects, precious works of art and technical and scientific achievements, was intended to reflect the diversity of creation in miniature. Instead, the MAKK's Kunstkammer pieces were consciously collected as testaments of outstanding artistic work and originate from bourgeois collecting tradition. In contrast, Thomas Olbricht's private collection, one of the most significant specialised collections in the world, is indeed inspired by the universal collection idea of the historical Kunstkammer, but still corresponds entirely to the individual interests and passions of a 21st century collector.
Despite their different thematic foci, both collections impressively reflect the central purpose of the historical Kunstkammer, namelyto understand, unite and dominate the comprehensive fields of art and nature by mankind. In seven theme-rooms, the exhibition highlights the exciting network of relationships between art, humankind and nature, while focussing on the 16th and 17th centuries, the period when the Kunstkammer emerged and experienced its heyday. The chambers of arts and curiosities of this time were places of representation, entertainment and in-depth contemplation. They combined curiosity and amazement with a new thirst for knowledge and an interest in scientific, technical and artistic developments. From today's perspective, some Kunstkammer objects also reflect Eurocentric and colonial thought patterns.