Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Oopsatoreum

The Oopsatoreum is perhaps Shaun Tan's quirkiest book yet. Which is saying something. Shaun Tan is something special. So creative. Each book is quite different. And this one is more different than any other I've read so far. It seems I've only managed to blog about two before. The Lost Thing and The Arrival. But I have read quite a few more.

I'd read the reviews for The Oopsatoreum eagerly a few months ago, as it's always exciting to find a new Shaun Tan on the shelves. In the intervening months I'd forgotten the premise of this book, and so initially found it quite perplexing. It's a rather unusual concept. The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney approached Shaun to make up stuff about some of the objects in their collections. The Oopsatoreum is the result of this collaboration.

Shaun Tan has imagined the world of radical Australian inventor Henry A. Mintox from Burrumbuttock, NSW.

What does it mean to be truly original? Should creativity be measured only by success? Or is it the thought that counts… no matter how impractical?

Thus a hand from a resuscitation mannequin becomes a handshake gauge.

And two ceramic medical jars become a literacy test.

There is a story and a postcard written for every object. They're hysterical.

You can see more of a preview from the clever designers at
Symple Creative

The Oopsatoreum is more delightful, more intriguing, more beguiling each and every time you pick it up. And more funny. I think this is the most overtly humorous work that we've seen from Shaun Tan. The Powerhouse is now showing an exhibition of The Oopsatoreum. It looks fantastic. I can feel a field trip coming on.

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