Finders Keepers: The Life of Things

Exhibition, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, Netherlands.


From September 8, 2017 until February 11, 2018
For the exhibition Finders Keepers, MacGuffin magazine has brought together more than 5000 household objects from over 40 collections in a grande parade of everyday products: from razors to jeans and from ropes to staircases. Inspired by Modest Manifesto for a Museum, in which the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk pleads for a museum in which the story of ordinary people is central, Finders Keepers explores collectors’ stories and their relationship to a world of objects. To coincide with the exhibition, the British architect and design critic Sam Jacob has written an essay about collections and the life of objects: Life Amongst Things.
Finders Keepers features (private) collections of extraordinary size and specialization. Collections have been sourced from all over the world. There are collections assembled by artists and designers such as Seth Siegelaub, herman de vries, Peter Marigold, Louise Harpman, Scott Specht and Jason Denham. The British collector Charles Brooking has lent 30 complete staircases, salvaged from houses due for demolition. Brooking and several other collectors are interviewed in a series of video portraits, which show the collections in their usual habitat.
By inviting the editors of MacGuffin to curate Finders Keepers, Het Nieuwe Instituut has opted for an exhibition that is a three-dimensional manifestation of this unique design and crafts magazine. While much of the design world focuses on new trends, the editors of MacGuffin, Kirsten Algera and Ernst van der Hoeven, find wonder in the ordinariness of the everyday. Their fascination with a timeless aesthetic is also the key to innovative research, which has resulted in thematic issues devoted to the bed, the window, the rope and the sink. Through Finders Keepers they give form to the idea that design is more than the endless conception and making of new products. They believe that finding, ordering and preserving objects are all equally interesting aspects of design practice.
The exhibition is designed by Ira Koers and Roelof Mulder. Sandra Kassenaar, the designer of MacGuffin, is responsible for the exhibition graphics. The fifth issue of MacGuffin magazine will be published in November 2017. Entitled The Cabinet, it explores the relationship between collections and their containers.