SNP’s word of the day: Wunderkammer

Illustration by Lewis Mirrett

Illustration by Lewis Mirrett

Word: Wunderkammer

Meaning: A cabinet of wonders, of marvels, of curiosities; synonym: my bathroom. Origin: Germany.

Usage: “A collection of bookshelves, Kunstkammer, Wunderkammer, salon-style hangings, advertising, litter, clutter, chaos, and any other example of our desire to fill space.” —  Among the Mess

You should know it because: Wunderkammers have been popping up in the form of art exhibits and store “curations” this winter more than ever, and I like it. From the MOCCA’s Cabinet (NGC Canada) in Toronto to Browns’ Cabinet de Curiosités in posh London, these cluttered chambers of delights are a much-lovable, post-2010s antidote to all that sleek, careful, ‘spensive minimalism. Of course, like sex hair and the deshabille look, most contemporary wunderkammers only seem like they happened by happy accident. In truth, the making of a wunderkammer is an art form in its right, one practiced by 16th-century German museums and Surrealist salons alike. Today, it’s also practiced by Etsy makers, Instagrammers, and Lego architects.

How to explain this curious resurgence, so widespread now there’s a jewellery store in Halifax called Wunderkammer? I’mma blame it on the MoMa, who put on a whole century of curiosities back in ’08 .