Monday, 6 August 2012

Mark Dion - The Schildbach Xylotheque 'Wood Library'

Mark Dion - Schildbach Xylotheque 'Wood Library'

The Schildbach Xylotheque is a 'wood library' located in the Natural History Museum in Kassel, Germany. Collected by Carl Schildbach from 1771 to 1799 it is a unique collection of 530 'books' made from tree samples taken from 441 local tree's and arranged encyclopedically.

For dOCUMENTA (13) American artist Mark Dion was commissioned to design a permanent new display for the Xylotheque in the Museum. The Oak hexagonal chamber catalogues the collection placing each sample in a panel relating to its continent of origin. Dion has added six new 'books' to the collection made during a series of international residencies, the first was made from one of Beuys 7000 Oaks (presented and planted in 1982 for dOCUMENTA 7) symbolically completing the encyclopedic endeavor to represent each continent. Inserted into the reverse of the panels are five images made from wood representing Africa, Asia, Oceania, North and South America

Dion's work often explores scientific methods of taxonomies, and classification systems of museums of biology, archeology and biochemistry. Often skeptical of dominant subjective understandings of the world his work looks at the range of possible histories now on offer to contemporary society.