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Five exhibitions

Musee d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean - Mudam, Luxembourg

Attila Csorgo. Archimedean Point / Daniel Buren. Architecture, Contre-Architecture : Tranposition. Travail in situ / Nina Beier and Marie Lund. The Object Lessons / Illogical Thoughts... Within the framework of diagonales: son, vibration et musique dans la collection du Centre National des Arts Plastiques / Just Love Me. Regard sur une collection privee.

comunicato stampa

Attila Csorgo. Archimedean Point
Curated by Kati Simon

The work of Attila Csörgő explores the adjoining territories of art and science. He makes experiments with carefully engineered and meticulously adjusted devices of his own design. His works attest to a mindset that is playful and humorous, as well as philosophical.

“Hard” scientific research clearly has its moments of ecstasy. When a scientist conceptualises the solution to a problem, the demonstration of a theory or the confirmation of a hypothesis, the pleasure can be comparable to that of a musician overcome by sublime harmonies or an artist investigating unexplored forms.

What is more, there have been major scientific discoveries made with the aid of systems that are rather rudimentary, but which nevertheless reveal and demonstrate complex or abstract ideas, or ideas that appear elusive, without needing to resort to sophisticated procedures. The apparatus dreamt up by Hippolyte Fizeau, for example, consisted of nothing more than a light source, a toothed wheel and a revolving mirror; simple equipment with which he was able in 1849 to determine the speed of light with surprising precision. Similarly Michael Faraday carried out fundamental experiments on electromagnetism using equipment that any handyman grandfather would have little trouble in constructing.

The work of Attila Csörgő leads us into a universe of scientific exploration that is passionate while also expressing the joy, humor, and detachment proper to artistic creation. He often immerses himself for months into intricate problems of mathematics, physics or projective geometry, creating works that demonstrate possible solutions to these problems. At other times, he constructs special cameras to capture reality on pictures never seen before. He is engaged in optical illusions generated by the interaction of light and movement - surprising and unexpected physical phenomena that shatter the viewer's belief in apparently obvious physical laws.

Through simulacra of objects or forms - the virtual products of his unusual devices - he offers a look into an underlying reality that normally goes unnoticed, hidden to the routine ways of our everyday perception.

The realm of mathematics and geometry, together with the phenomena of everyday physics, offers a depository of subjects and ideas for Csörgő. His scientific approach provides an effective means essential for him to keep an open mind on reality without a hint of subjectivity. In their outward appearance, Csörgő's mechanical constructions, his mobile structures that create illusions of physical phenomena defying everyday experience, do not convey an esthetic quality. He does not attempt to estheticize his mechanical constructions. The technical element of his works is consciously and deliberately incidental.

Attila Csörgő stages complex relations between Platonic solids in a kind of puppet theatre: the transformation of a cube, a tetrahedron, an octahedron or a dodecahedron, all made up of little wooden stems held together by a system of fine cords and pulleys using a disconcertingly simple mechanism, fascinates all audiences, great and small.

He also designs photographic equipment that rotates through both vertical and horizontal axes, which allows him to capture a panoramic landscape on a Moebius strip and to let it travel to infinity without resolving the continuity between interior and exterior. Another fixed appliance starts from a central point, and gives a 360° image of a room in all directions: one could observe the interior of this room on a spherical photograph, but from the outside!

Empirical folding of great mathematical complexity, hypnotic plays of light resting on indecipherable mechanical movements, and other inventions that combine fantasy with curiosity about extremely varied physical and mathematical phenomena - all bear the stamp of Attila Csörgő, the great do-it-yourselfer who introduces - always with a smile - science into the world of art. Or the other way round.

Three institutions - Ludwig Múzeum Budapest, Hamburger Kunsthalle and Mudam Luxembourg - are partners in realizing the first large-scale retrospective exhibition of this outstanding artist.


Daniel Buren. Architecture, Contre-Architecture : Tranposition. Travail in situ
Curated by Enrico Lunghi

The exhibition by Daniel Buren in the Grand Hall of the museum is the fruit of a joint invitation to the artist from Mudam and Centre Pompidou-Metz to create a specific installation in relation to their respective spaces. As is often the case with his work, the installation the artist has conceived for Mudam is concerned with “frames” – be they aesthetic, architectural or institutional – which condition any exhibited art by rendering certain aspects visible.

The work that Daniel Buren has developed over the last forty years is particularly familiar to Luxembourgers thanks to a series of outdoor pieces titled D’un cercle à l’autre – Le Paysage emprunté (From One Circle to Another – Borrowed Landscape) installed since 2001 in different locations around the old city. Taking the form of square panels, striped with orange and white bands and pierced with large round openings, it directs our attention towards different picturesque views of the city, by presenting a framed “image”. The stripes were long considered by the artist to be a “visual tool”: without any particular meaning, but emblematic of his work, they act as a sign, basically serving to attract attention and direct the gaze. With time, they have also become the signature of the artist.

Through his installation at Mudam, Daniel Buren addresses the most symbolic “frame” of the museum, namely the architecture of Ieoh Ming Pei, while sub­ erting, not without a certain irony, the invitation to exhibit in the central space of the Grand Hall, which itself sums up Pei’s architectural discourse. In response to these “constraints”, Daniel Buren is shifting an entire architectural fragment into the Grand Hall: his installation taking the life-size form of the museum pavilion, which shares with the Grand Hall numerous similarities, including the same type of glass roof. By exhibiting the architecture within the architecture through this installation of rare proportions, Daniel Buren is not only emphasizing certain architectural characteristics of the museum, he is also highlighting the function of the building as the “envelope” of art. It is not the first time Daniel Buren has subverted museum architecture. As in some of his previous inter­ en­ ions, here he is exhibiting the museum within the museum, thus drawing attention to the limits between the interior and exterior, not just of the building, but of art itself.

Beyond this critical reading of artistic “frames”, Daniel Buren’s recent pieces are also distinguished by essentially pictorial considerations, which may evoke his early work of the 1960s when he adopted the most immediate possible approach to painting, signifying nothing other than itself. By using colour and light, two basic materials of pictorial art, Buren creates, with this coloured atrium, a sort of three-dimensional painting which is only completed by the attentive gaze of viewers wandering through the space. In this instance, it is the visual experience of the viewer that is of central interest to the artist.

Daniel Buren’s installation at Centre Pompidou-Metz will be presented in the spring of 2011.

In collaboration with Centre Pompidou-Metz

With the support of Culturesfrance and Prefalux


Nina Beier and Marie Lund. The Object Lessons
Curated by Christophe Gallois

Nina Beier and Marie Lund’s exhibition takes as a starting point a fictional text written by London-based curator Francesco Pedraglio, following the artists’ invitation to write a subjective text on their 2009 show at De Vleeshal in Middelburg. This text features two artists who, in the story, produce new works. The exhibition at Mudam will be based on a new series of works taking their inspiration from the sculptures described in the story.

The exhibition which Nina Beier and Marie Lund have devised for Mudam, draws its inspiration from a fictional text written by the art critic Francesco Pedraglio, following the artists’ invitation to make a subjective reading of their previous show, held in autumn 2009 at De Vleeshal in Middelburg, The Netherlands.

Brought together under the shared title The Object Lessons, the two exhibitions and the narrative that links them together are less the result of the implementation of a pre-ordained plan than the development of something akin to a sequence of echoes: an exhibition giving rise to a fictional text, itself engendering an exhibition. This development is emblematic of the pivotal place occupied by the interpretative process in the works of Nina Beier and Marie Lund, the production or activation of which regularly involve the intervention of other people. It is also representative of the way the two artists work together, especially gravitating around specific exhibition formats enabling them to combine individual and joint works.

Like Francesco Pedraglio’s text, which describes the encounter between two sculptors driven by the same concerns for the transitory nature of materials, albeit stone, the works in the show emphasise the different temporalities which overlap in the art work, from its conception to its possible destruction, by way of the time-frames of its display and its reading.

The series The Very White Marbles (2010) by Marie Lund thus takes the form of some ten found sculptures whose surfaces have been systematically reworked, altering their initial shapes to the point of a certain abstraction and laying bare their material quality. A similar process of erasure is at work in Nina Beier’s series Frosted Posters (2010), made up of posters, whose frames and glass have been sanded, in such a way that the information they contain is reduced to blurred and abstract forms. At work in these pieces is a confusion between their material manifestation, their point of origin, and their possible destinations, shedding light on the density of their temporality.

Other works are activated in each new presentation or throughout the exhibition, such as Nina Beier’s wall piece Wet Paint (2010), for which a patch of paint is growing every day, as it is painted over with a different coloured paint from the stock of the museum.

Through these different operations of alteration and activation, it is the art object itself which Nina Beier and Marie Lund are inviting us to reconsider. Their works veer away from traditional considerations of form and content in order to grasp the object in terms of potentiality: far from lending substance to a determined sense, it condenses the different times which overlap in it, but also the varied interpretations and narratives it may give rise to.

The most disturbing illustration of this approach occurs perhaps in the work History Makes a Young Man Old (2008), by the two artists, taking the form of a crystal ball rolled from the place where it was purchased to its final destination, to wit, the place of its exhibition, or the collection it has found its way into. If the object, marked by the many impacts undergone during its itinerary, has lost its limpid quality, it now crystallises both its own history and the histories it may prompt.

It is also this narrative potential of objects that we are reminded of by the intermittent reading of Francesco Pedraglio’s text within the exhibition by the museum staff, thus extending the sequence of echoes between the works and the narrative that has given rise to them.


Illogical Thoughts...
Within the framework of diagonales: son, vibration et musique dans la collection du Centre National des Arts Plastiques
Curated by Sébastien Faucon (CNAP), Christophe Gallois

Presented in the context of Diagonales : son, vibration et musique dans la collection du Centre national des arts plastiques, an event initiated by the CNAP in France, in partnership with 20 art institutions in France, Belgium and Luxembourg, the exhibition Illogical thoughts... is presenting sound installations created for this occasion by three artists and articulated around speech and the illogical process of thinking it can generate.

Presented as part of the Diagonales project, initiated by the Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP) in collaboration with around twenty venues in France, Belgium and Luxembourg, the exhibition Illogical thoughts... is articulated around three sound installations commissioned by CNAP, in collaboration with Mudam, from three artists who, in their different domains - performance, visual arts and musical composition - are interested in speech and the illogical trains of thought that it can generate.

This interest covers the heterogeneous montage of vocal fragments, the construction of sinuous narratives, or the role played by certain “flagrant contradictions, which are flaunted, or hidden away in the erratic moves of a butterfly mind, or wild digressions” (Antoine Defoort). The title of the exhibition echoes one of the phrases taken from the famous Sentences on Conceptual Art (1969) by Sol LeWitt: “Irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically”, translating the game that positions itself in these works between logic and illogic.

Pierre-Yves Macé's musical practice is marked by the particular attention he pays to the spatializing of sound and to the fields of speech and writing. The sound installation he has created for the exhibition Illogical Thoughts... represents a continuance of his research. It is based on a diffusion device composed of five independent loudspeakers - functioning as “voices”, in the musical sense of the term -, arranged in the arc of a circle and directed towards a central listening point. The starting point for the work is a series of injunctions - imperative verbs, direct addresses - gathered from video tutorials aimed at acquiring certain technical gestures: assembling furniture, repairing a car... Detached from their initial context, these fragments of voices are combined in a composition which develops often paradoxical relationships between them, to such an extent that spectators find themselves addressed with “contradictory orders”, along the lines of the double bind, a term which designates, in the field of communication, the emission of two or more contradictory messages. These fragments of voices are also associated with more or less recognizable “sound actions” - the rubbing together of surfaces, flapping, percussion... As the artist points out, a complex dialogue is established between these two sound registers: “The spectator is both incited to act and relieved of this same action by the fact that it seems to action itself, with nevertheless a gap between the verb and the concrete sound which it is supposed to ‘perform’.”

Whether taking the form of sound pieces or installations combining image and sound, Marcelline Delbecq's works give pride of place to the question of narration. The artist develops devices associating images with stories broadcast in the exhibition space, arranged in the manner of a line of thought. For the exhibition Illogical Thoughts…, Marcelline Delbecq is presenting a fragment of a work in progress, titled West, in which twelve photographs taken across America serve as starting points for tales retracing the investigations of a writer visiting the United States to research the American author Nathanael West. The three stories included in the installation Trilogy (West IV, V, VI) thus follow the character through his wanderings, dreams and thoughts: “Faced with three images to plunge their gaze into”, explains Marcelline Delbecq, “spectators are invited to undergo the experience of literary miniatures read out loud, the legends and dreams of an America between reality and fiction. By echoing the images, of course, but also and above all by echoing the imagination of the listener.” Associated with musical and sound fragments produced in collaboration with Bureau de Son, bringing together the soundman Nicolas Becker and the musician Benoit Delbecq, the three stories combine two voice registers, a female narrator, and a man who, punctuating the first voice, seems to correspond to the character in search of elements for his own book.

Antoine Defoort usually works in the field of performance art, which he considers as a “box” that allows him to confront artistic forms (video, music, installation, interactive structures, writing...) and sensibilities. His grotesque universe combines craftsmanship, references to music, science, and cinema, and the misappropriation of objects, codes and expressions. The combinations sometimes give life to sinuous narratives, accidents “welcomed with open arms” that Antoine Defoort sets in place, carried by a harmony that confounds Cartesian logic and pataphysical poetry. Speech, music and writing are some of the determining modes of expression in his work. He places them at the service of his games of connection by making bridges and transpositions that may appear incongruous but possess a certain logic. “One could say that I make collections of connections, that’s to say, if you like, ‘collexions’.”

The installation EYESCLOSEDEYESOPENEYESCLOSEDEYESOPENEYESCLOSEDEYESOPEN (2010) that he created for the exhibition Illogical Thoughts... thus associates, in the style of logorrhea, different levels of meaning - discursive visual and sound elements, graphic mural interventions... - which the viewer is invited to experience through the prism of a video mechanism made from video glasses and a webcam. By superimposing text information on live filmed images, this offers the viewer a “heightened reality, 1.0.1 style, which brings into contact the real and its representation... EYES CLOSED and EYES OPEN”.

In parallel with the exhibition Illogical thoughts..., three video works from the Mudam Collection and the CNAP Collection is presented in the museum auditorium. Each of these videos stages a certain confusion between music and noise. Percussions graphiques (2006), by Algerian artist Yazid Oulab (*1958) shows the hand of the artist progressively covering a sheet of paper with black strokes, with a carpenters pencil, to a syncopated rhythm. “Leï-la”, a monotonous Sufi chant usually sung during vigils, accompanies the meditative movement. La Courtisane (2003) by the Swiss artist Denis Savary (*1981) plays on the incongruity of the image and the telescoping of sounds, by featuring a hurdy-gurdy player installed on a motocross circuit with motorcyclists in action. La Marche Turque (2006) by the Lebanese artist Ziad Antar (*1978) shows two hands playing the famous march by Mozart on a piano without strings, thus reducing it to the mere rhythm of a military march.


Just Love Me. Regard sur une collection privee
Curated by Enrico Lunghi, Clément Minighetti

First edition of a series of exhibitions showing the diversity of approaches in collecting contemporary art, in and out of Luxembourg. Every exhibition is a subjective view, by one or several curators of Mudam, on a private collection.

A collection is not develop in the same way by a museum than it is by a private collector. Unlike the museum (which seeks, regardless of the nature of its collection, a certain objectivity according to criteria defined by specific knowledge and occurring within an institutional framework related to structures of the same type), the private collector sets his own ground rules, the first of which is to follow his whims.

A private collection is a grouping which reflects the lifestyle and wishes of its author who, in daily life, surrounds himself with artworks and objects that are pleasing and enriching. In a way, the collector carries out a personal quest made unique by his knowledge, judgement, flair and audacity.

Collecting is therefore not just some insignificant activity. It involves, first of all, personal commitment. The collector establishes a collection which in return establishes himself. This is even more true in the case of a collector interested in contemporary art: very often acquiring a contemporary work of art involves meeting the artist and, consequently, a dialogue and a special relationship is established.

Mudam therefore wanted to present some of these particularly unique private collections of international contemporary art that can be found in Luxembourg or in the Greater Region. For the first part of Regard sur une collection privée, Mudam chose a collectors couple who, already a number of years ago, started to modestly gather artworks they liked. In their house, from one room to another, sometimes in corners, one comes across famous, even historic, artists such as Donald Judd and Andy Warhol rubbing shoulders with emerging talents. This makes for a extraordinarily free and eclectic collection, the central thread of which is the intuition of the person who carefully selects the pieces, but also the intimate relationship maintained with the artworks, an attachment that Tracey Emin’s piece aptly sums up: “Just Love me” murmurs the neon hanging over the kitchen door.

Showing this collection to the public already lends it a new dimension. But can the selection presented at Mudam preserve the feeling of pleasure associated with living with the artworks on a daily basis? The challenge is not to stultify the collection when it is presented in the museum, as well as the will for the collectors, who know these pieces so well, to rediscover them and perhaps be surprised again by their daily presence, once the exhibition is closed.

Thus, the fifty chosen artworks are linked to this domestic dimension - people and their habitat - through a selection concerning forms and architecture (Carl Andre, Richard Artschwager, Dan Flavin, Imi Knoebel...) or the body and its presence (John Baldessari, Sarah Jones, Hermann Nitsch...). Other works reproduce the idea of private space. The visitor is invited to wander through and encounter artworks worthy of a contemporary cabinet of curiosities containing the horn of Mark Dion’s unicorn, the graphic work of Bruce Nauman or Wim Delvoye, a Luc Tuymans painting as well as a small canvas by Marlène Dumas...

Image: Robert Gligorov : Unknown Origin, 1997, Collection privée, Luxembourg, © Photo : D. R.

Press contact Valerio D’Alimonte 

tel. +352 45 37 85-633
 mob. +352 691 432 896

Opening 8 October 2010, 18h

Mudam Luxembourg
Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean
3, Park Dräi Eechelen, L-1499 Luxembourg
Opening hours
Wednesday to Friday: 11am - 8pm
Saturday to Monday: 11am - 6pm
Closed on Tuesday
Entrance fee
Adults: 5 €
< 26 years, >60 years, groups (min. 15 persons): 3 €
< 18 years, Wednesday 6pm - 8pm: free entrance

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