You might never have noticed them; you might have walked past ten times, twenty times, on your way through the vast collections of the V&A, or the Met, or the Louvre, and not have seen them. Small signs, sometimes glassily translucent, sometimes tagged with a brightly coloured dot, declaring ‘object removed for photography’, or otherwise for restoration, or maybe research. Temporary interruptions in the logic and flow of the museological display, they make a double promise; that an object was there and that it will be returned.
Anna Blessmann began noticing and photographing these placeholders in museums and galleries across the world more than a decade ago. The series of photographs that she produced of these discreet and tucked-away missives provides a loose taxonomy of their varying forms and tones, but their interest lies less in the differences between individual examples and more in what, as a genre, these stand- ins stand for.