Dimitri’s Museum of Comedy
It’s true that the objects themselves are not in any way particularly comic. They may, however, awaken memories of particularly pleasant visits to the theatre or the circus – result of the bizarre combinations and unusual presentation of the objects in question. Kitsch and nonsense accentuate the precious pieces and form a type of counterbalance similar to that of the large and small objects which are also fearlessly displayed side by side. It thus comes as no surprise that exactly 666 objects are on display in the museum. Not 999, as Dimitri shows in one of his pieces on the inversion of numbers through a 180° rotation – evoking concepts such as equality, heterogeneity, and strength of character which form the essence of the comedian, his technique and thus his comedy.
The objects displayed come almost exclusively from Dimitri’s private collection which until the creation of the museum had been chaotically housed in his rehearsal room. Dimitri’s dream to have a museum as complement and testimony to his life as an artist has finally been realised. The museum’s nearness to the school, the theatre, and the restaurant/bar guarantees a lively coming and going, which gives further life to the inanimate objects exhibited. The museum’s opening hours have been adapted to those of the theatre and the performances, i.e. from 5pm till midnight. It is of course possible to make exceptions for friends, school groups, and other faithful pilgrims.
The setting up of the museum was entrusted to Harald Szeemann and the architect, Christoph Zurcher with the assistance of a team of experts formed by Cecilia Liveriero, Kees Hensen and Jerome Szeemann. Gunda and Dimitri naturally contributed and undertook the dating, definition of origin and technique of every one of the little elephants on display – a journey between the 17th, 20th (very well represented) and 21st centuries across the five continents. Henri Bergson said it well in his treatise on laughter:
"There is no comedy beyond that which is truly human."
... and Verscio is one attraction richer.
Harald Szeemann, August 2000