PARIS – When Sotheby’s spoke to me about a sale inspired by Cabinets of Curiosity, I immediately sat up and listened. I was impressed that such a top firm should come up with such an unusual project. So I decided to follow my initial reaction and agreed to design the scenography for the pre-sale viewing. 

View of the Curiosité exhibition.

As one would expect with curiosities, the ensemble offers a variety of surprises and an offbeat combination of incongruous and rare items – some of them tinged with humour, others of museum quality. I wanted to recapture this feeling of surprise in my presentation, which is designed to arouse the curiosity of connoisseurs. Contrary to anything one might expect, the works are displayed majestically on simple wooden transport crates. These unlikely pedestals evoke, for me, the magical moment when an object is removed from its rough-and-ready packaging and examined in the light of day after returning home from an epic voyage… a fleeting instant of wonder, when time seems to stand still!

Patrick Hourcade is a photographer and designer.

Cabinets of Curiosity: A Modern Approach will take place at Sotheby’s Paris on 26 March.