As part of my residency at Gallery FOE 156 in Munich this July I arranged to meet Mr. Wegner, keeper of the Puppet Theater and Fairground Attractions section of the City of Munich Museum. I spent a very happy and fruitful day researching in their library and photographing the collection.
I had visited this museum during a previous trip in 2013 and found their curious collection of puppets, folk art and fairground items more than a little disturbing and therefore fascinating to me. They also have a very worthwhile exhibition ‘Typically Munich’ also full of beautiful items of art, craft and science that includes an original Kaiserpanorama.
My favourite section of the museum however was a small room full of curiosities that used to tour fairgrounds in the late 1800’s early 1900’s. This Panoptikum contains a collection of anatomical and anthropological waxes including the requisite seductively posed anatomical Venus, a horned woman, several wounded soldiers and a few example portraits of Asian and African people and several famous characters. All are presented in a small room swathed with fading red velvet and accompanied other curiosities such as items of torture, a a miniature shell landscape and original posters.