M.O.M.O The Museum of Mythical Objects
The heart of M.O.M.O. lies in the cellar of a Victorian house in Islington, London N1. Because of the miniature proportions of the museum and its contents it has the appearance and feeling of a domestic shrine. It is dense and compact, layered and encyclopaedic! It also gives the impression of being an organised storage room. The intention is for it to both grow and implode, and becoming a source of knowledge, in a similar way to a private library or an archive. It will also host future temporary exhibitions throughout the house as a whole with a soft focus on the idea of travel.
The cellar is intimate! It is a cross between Lilliput, an enlarged room of a Dolls House and a Cabinet of Curiosities. It is an inhabited piece of furniture, a large wardrobe or part of a storage deck in a galleon. The objects on display have been collected from various parts of the world over a period of twenty years, beginning with small painted clay skeletons made for ‘Day of the Dead’ festival in Mexico. Initiated by John Andrews and Patricia Pringle in 1984, the collection is also credited to Dermot Curley (The Chronicler) in 1988.
From the tiny Mexican skeletons to the African colonial figures the collection is a reflection and a fusion of Surrealism (and the exotic), and Outsider Art. Most of the objects were produced by anonymous craftsmen and were bought on market stalls or from shops. They are intended for ornamental/decorative use, gifts or semi-functional items such as drinking vessels, candle holders, toys etc, yet they have transcended there intended function. The dichotomy was explained by Patricia Pringle during an interview with ‘The Australian’ newspaper 04/08/92 “ The imagery is strong, ranging from the humorous to the grotesque to the awe-inspiring, their intimate and alluring charms touching a nerve of delight and in some instances revulsion. They are not an imitation of another time to which they are no longer part, but symbols of a living culture.
M.O.M.O. has been formed to be a home base for the objects which have crossed the oceans to the far end of the earth and back in ten tea chests. The chests have remained sealed, and the objects bubble wrapped for eleven years whilst stored in the cellar. In addition to the Mexican objects, of which there are 170 in total, some recent objects have been included in the exhibition stemming from the South Pacific, Japan, Indonesia, Africa, Australia, Thailand and India.