Hope Chest: Traditionally in the form of a wooden trunk or box, contained the dowry of a young woman. The box and its content played an important part not only in the business transaction between two families, but served as a survival kit for the new life a girl was about to enter. The Hope Chest didn’t just contain the objects that would secure a young women’s future but comprised her heritage, her sense of belonging. With this in mind we will produce a Hope Chest that will travel from the Old World to the New World and then back again. At each station a group of artist will participate in shaping the content of the Box and therefore the exhibition. With this gesture of sharing and hands-on participation we want to highlight the highly international intellectual exchange within the European - North American Art community, and therefore this exhibition series allows maximum visibility of this inspirational exchange.


Project description

What comes to mind when one thinks about the content of the dowry box is the manual labor of a family or community over a long period of time that ensures one of their youngest members an easier transition from the family home to the new in-laws estate. The contents of Hope Chests weren’t only pretty decorations; they were essential to transforming a foreign environment into a familiar space, allowing one to think, work and make sure that the traditions of the heritage community continue to be passed on. In the spirit of this, we want to create a multilayered traveling exhibition that reveals as much about its origin, as the networks that shape and transform our work practices. In each city the box will reveal its content surrounded by a new community of artist that will leave their traces and send it then further to not only support a group of artists but to incorporate themselves in this exchange.

A Hope Chest will specifically be designed and produced for this exhibition project to function as an animated, explorable Art-Archive. The shipping box contains not only artworks of the show but also serves as exhibition display. With the aid of folding, extractable, pluggable parts, the cubic structures transform into an all-in-one mobile exhibition. The exterior of the crate will follow the international transport standard of shipping crates (120x80x80cm/47.4x31.5x31.5”). This transformable box will then open itself up in the middle of a group exhibition in the context of a community of artists from each city. Each community will leave its traces on the box and transform the exhibition permanently. At each station the exhibition will look different than the one before, making each time an individual experience. This website is created to track the steps and transformations of the crate and acts as a logbook for the “road trip”.

Through traveling, the box and its contents will organically transform, resulting in a different exhibition in each city. Our aim is to show that art cannot exist in a vacuum, but is dependent on intellectual exchange and its communities. We see here solidarity over generations and continents as well as an awareness of origin and progress under the lid of this hopeful chest.

created by Johanna Braun