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The Soap Museum

The Soap Museum’s itinerant module is a project within museumuseu. It is a collection of bar soaps for domestic use, not cosmetic. It is built as a set of displays that organizes itself into a pile on wheels. Laid on the floor as a street stall or on a table, the materials are well-preserved and ambulant.

The title suggests that a Soap Museum exists somewhere and it implies that what is being exhibited is selected from a larger collection. The construction considers an accumulation growth as the work transits, because there is a call for public participation in form of donations. As the collection grew it became more difficult to be transported; the accumulation of items affected the functioning of the module on wheels. The signaling of the museum is applied on Formica boards, fitted between the boxes for transport. The applied vinyl is easily replaced, keeping up with the changes of the collection. 

Soap is a pretext to explore a traditional museological structure, while dealing with sensitive problems of conservation around not valuable articles. It is organized under the sectors ‘archive’, ‘temporary exhibitions’, — with ‘contemporary show’ and ‘highlights of the collection’, ‘recent acquisitions’ and ‘Saponário’— possibly an area destined to research. The archive is organized into handmade soaps and industrialized bars: white, brown, blue, green, etc. The temporary exhibition brings works by young artist Emiliana Passos, who builds vases of soap. As ‘recent acquisitions’ we show two audio-documentaries by sound artist Jalver Bethônico. With Geralda and Bolhas he experiments recording a woman washing and singing the laundry, and the poetic sounds of bursting and blowing bubbles.

[2004] Nine articulated wooden boxes; soaps; Formica in wooden boards with signaling on vinyl; lamps; two discman with headphones; two “Audio-documentaries” [sound tracks recorded on CD]; soap sculptures. [Dimensions 37x47x140 cm, closed version]. Collection Museu de Arte da Pampulha. 

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