Altar documents the widespread human urge to elevate secular things to the status of ritual objects and combine them to form private altars. Whether they are dust catchers, knickknacks, souvenirs, found objects, meaningful artworks or earnestly and deeply revered objects, they all tell a peculiar storynot in words, but in thingsabout whoever built the altar. Swiss designer Rosa Schamal (b. 1962) has been pursuing her fascination with insignificant things that, when displayed, exert both a banal and stirring effect through the lens of a camera. The smartly designed book is filled with more than sixty found altars along with statements from their owners that capture the very personal homages to their history and past. As 82-year-old B.Z. from H. states, My loved ones. I wish I could have had them all around me. But then came strife, divorce, illness, death. Here on the dresser theyre all united, regardless of where they ended up. An essay by Peter Schneider outlines various ways of understanding the implicit order in these little things.
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