Mask II by Ron Mueck @ British Museum

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今日、近くまで行く用事があったので、大英博物館にお茶をしに行った。ノーマン・フォスターという建築家が設計し、2000年12月に完成した、屋根付きの中庭「グレート・コート」にあるカフェは、広々としていて気持ちがいい。木、金曜日は、午後8時半まで開館しているので、お茶の後、少々館内を見学。あまりに広いので数部屋だけ見ただけだが、大英帝国時代に世界中から集めたコレクションに圧倒される。エジプトコレクション等は有名だが、タダ同然か戦利品として持ってきたものも多いだろう。パルテノン神殿の彫刻を巡って、ギリシャとの確執は有名だが、博物館側はギリシャに返還すれば、他の国からの返還要求も殺到すると恐れて、首を縦に振らないらしい。私自身は、その国の遺跡や美術品はその国にあるべきだと思う。でも、世界中の偉大なコレクションが一同に見れる大英博物館の存在意義もわかなくはないので、難しいところですね。

大英博物館は古いものだけでなく、現代美術も展示されている。現在、5人の現代彫刻家の作品を紹介するStatuephiliaを開催中。写真は、オーストラリア人彫刻家ロン・ミュエクによる、毛穴まで再現した超リアルな作品「MaskII」。

Today, we went to a cafe in the British Museum. The cafe in the Great Court, designed by architect Norman Foster and completed in December 2000, is very airy and relaxing. The museum opens till 8:30pm on Thursday and Friday, so we strolled around the museum after having an apple cake and cappuccino. We just saw few rooms, since it’s huge, and were overwhelmed by the vast collection from all over the world. Many of the artifacts might be brought back to UK as a trophy from their former colonies (?). The dispute with Greece about sculptures from the Pantheon is widely known, but one of the reason why the British Museum don’t agree to return is probably they are scared of the similar request from other countries. I believe that the artifacts should belong to where it came from, but at the same time I understand the meaning of the museum where we can see the great artifacts from all over the world in one place – it is a very difficult issue and need to be debated.

The British Museum exhibits not only old things but also modern arts as well. Currently  they host the exhibition Statuephilia, introducing the work of 5 contemporary sculptors. The picture above is ‘Mask II’ by Australian artist Ron Mueck – ultra realistic work that you can even see pores and tiny wrinkles.

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