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Five Exhibitions

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

Pascale Marthine Tayou: Home Sweet Home, an installation taking the form of a city perched 16 feet up. John Stezaker's works may be part of the continuity of the collage activities that marked 20th-century art, but he broachs the construction of meaning. Since the beginning of his career Mac Adams has been producing installations in which photography has a central place. Melvin Moti's project 'The inner self in outer space' is about seeing, observing and overlooking. Out of storage III: Replay is thus concerned with the porousness between documentary, fiction and screenplay, as well as the shifts and confusions.

comunicato stampa

Pascale Marthine Tayou
Black forest

Curator Enrico Lunghi

The Ghent-based Cameroon-born artist Pascale Marthine Tayou is part of a generation of African artists who tackle post-colonial issues by mixing the experiences they have of their countries of origin with those they have of the western world.

His multi-facetted work is imbued with the many shifts between these different geographical contexts: “Pascale Marthine Tayou is a nomad in his life, in the materials he uses, in his artistic sources, and in the way he thinks”, observed the art critic Roberta Smith in a recent article in the New York Times.

His native land is always present in his praxis. “This relationship”, the artist explains, “has to do with the question of origins. Cameroon is my ‘trademark’, where everything started. I was born and raised there, by my parents, my friends, and the street. I want to include all that in my work.” His works explore the permeable nature of the boundaries between personal history and collective history. They also raise especially significant issues concerning Africa, such as the construction of cultural and national identity, relations between rulers and ruled, and exchanges between North and South.

Assuming forms as varied as installation, sculpture, video, photography and drawing, his works reveal a world whose vitality and inventive spirit may call to mind the atmosphere of African metropolises. They are, in particular, hallmarked by the use of recycled materials, like coloured plastic objects and bags, rags, old clothes, reject objects and wrecked cars: all of which are symptomatic of contemporary society. These heterogeneous items are linked together through narratives, drawings and notes which highlight different passages, juxtapositions, short circuits and readings.

Pascale Marthine Tayou has been invited to come up with a work for the Grand Hall of Mudam. His answer is Home Sweet Home, an installation taking the form of a city perched 16 feet up, set on a wooden structure. Made of tree trunks, African statuettes, a whole host of bird cages and a whole network of wires, headphones and loudspeakers broadcasting sounds of birds, this construction, conceived as an organic forest, constructs an ever-expanding imaginary landscape. For the artist the installation represents a “question about the imagination of a consumerist world where everything is mixed together.”

In the garden level Foyer, Jpegafrica/Africagift (2006) presents the flags of the 54 African states in a pile: with this sculptural metaphor, the artist broaches the different cultural identities of the black continent. He regards the flag of his native land as nothing less than a “self-portrait”.


John Stezaker

Curators: Daniel Herrmann (Whitechapel Gallery, London) and Christophe Gallois

The works that the British artist John Stezaker has been creating since the mid-1970s make use of film stills and portraits of actors found in secondhand bookshops, pictures taken from vintage books and old postcards. At their root lies the fascination that the found image can wield, thus reversing the usual hierarchy between artist and artwork.

“Images find me rather than the other way round”, as John Stezaker is fond of repeating. Like his Mask series, in which postcards depicting landscapes, grottoes and waterfalls cover, mask-like, the faces of film actors, his collages and image fragments are hallmarked by minimal modes of intervention: cropping, inversion, superposition, juxtaposition...

Because the images used by John Stezaker refer to a recent but nonetheless bygone period, they apply the poetic and revelatory powers that the Surrealists saw in “outmoded” objects. “I’m interested by the obsolescence of images, the point where they become illegible and mysterious, when they touch another world”, John Stezaker explains. His works propose an arrest of, or a delay in, the flow of images that characterises the contemporary world, making images that were obscured behind their uses and functions suddenly visible.

John Stezaker’s works may, in several respects, be part of the continuity of the collage activities that marked 20th-century art, but they stand out in particular by the way they broach the construction of meaning: this latter is not understood in terms of composition, but is rather the object of a certain “suspension”. For John Stezaker, the line created by the meeting between two heterogeneous images becomes a “deeply attractive” space per se, where the eye can become swallowed up, and from where other meanings can come forth. Collage, for John Stezaker, thus simply consists of “lingering on the flotsam revealed in this edge”. His works explore the potential of what is left unsaid, disquieting our viewer’s habits at the same time as underscoring the power of the gaze.

John Stezaker is organised by the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and Mudam Luxembourg.


Mac Adams

Curator Christophe Gallois

In a recent text, Mac Adams referred to the bet that the American author Ernest Hemingway made one day with some writer friends, wagering that he could make up a story with just six words. He wrote: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.” And he won the bet. Mac Adams’ whole œuvre seems to be an extension of that bet.
Mac Adams’ photographs and installations broach the issue of narration with similarly sparse means as Hemingway, exploring the fictional potential that can emerge from the juxtaposition of a few images or objects: “How can you tell a story by not using more than two or three images, or describe a situation using as few objects as possible?”, the artist asks.

The noir genre imposed itself on Mac Adams in his earliest photographs as a favourite field of investigation because the complexity of the relations between narrative elements - characters, facts, places, objects... - forms, more than in any other fictional genre, its very node. His works are often organised in two- or three-image sequences and show us narrative snippets in which the main action is invariably absent, relegated to the space between images, into the temporal or off-screen ellipsis. Mac Adams defines this approach with the term “narrative void”. The image becomes a network of clues that the spectator is invited to go through in the manner of an inquiry, shedding light on the mechanisms and mainsprings of the plot itself at the same time as it proposes an open reading.

Mac Adams is known above all for his photographs, but since the beginning of his career he has also been producing installations in which, nevertheless, photography has a central place. The show at Mudam emphasises this aspect of his work by presenting three installations, in tandem with a selection of photographs ranging from the 1970s to the present day.

Conceived as fictitious environments developed around crime scenes, Passenger and The Bathroom are reconstructions of two installations initially created in 1978. A third installation, specially devised by Mac Adams for the museum’s Pavilion, is presented in the form of a cluster of images arranged on tables, associating archival imagery and photographs by the artist.

With the support of Harley-Davidson Luxembourg


Out of storage III

Guillaume Bresson
Claude Closky
Jon Mikel Euba
Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
Jonathan Horowitz
Marine Hugonnier

Curator: Clément Minighetti

We are forever reconstructing our reality by (re)interpreting our perceptions. (Hi)stories are written and myths are created from events whose marks become icons.
So we understand the world through its mediatisation, and at times, nay, often, its over-mediatisation. This supposed readability of reality is above all the result of a montage whose presentation is overlaid on our direct perceptions, and from this confusion we make our reference to the real. Greek tragedy, way back, re-enacted the events creating it; history painting remains an assertion; and film has the capacity to distort and retouch our memory.

Replay is thus concerned with the porousness between documentary, fiction and screenplay, as well as the shifts and confusions that they cause in the spectator.


Melvin Moti
The inner self in outer space

Curator: Marie-Noëlle Farcy

Melvin Moti’s exhibition project The inner self in outer space is about seeing, observing and overlooking. As on earlier occasions, Moti uses extremely economical means to engage with a complex theme.
A few photographs at first show decorative, handcrafted objects that seem to come from a variety of cultures. Using items from the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in London as models, Melvin Moti had some of them made specially, others found in antique dealer’s shops. A small book of texts giving the reader a comprehensive insight into Melvin Moti’s thorough and profound preparatory reflections is on display, while a specially produced film provides the centrepiece of the installation.

This film completely foregoes digital technology and emphasises the perfect, hand-crafted skill of the large-scale cinematographic productions of the 1970s. It shows painted moons and the decorative objects already seen in the photographs moving along various orbits and, in slow-paced images of hypnotic beauty, tells of detachment, of suspension in seemingly weightless disconnection from all points of reference.

This depiction of weightlessness is a poetic metaphor for Melvin Moti’s view of the famous London museum, which for him is the classic example of a “zero-gravity museum”. Containing a huge collection of art objects from all epochs and origins, this museum, founded in 1852, provides almost no background information on the items presented. In Melvin Moti’s eyes, this turns the museum’s exhibits into free-floating, disconnected objects that cater solely to an aesthetic gaze or a “geological” one interested exclusively in materials and techniques. The anti-historical and anti-social attitude evident in the V&A’s presentation of its overabundant exhibits, which those in charge of the museum have justified by saying that the institution is “a glorified warehouse” and not “a social history museum”, leads, in Melvin Moti’s opinion, to visual over-stimulation even today, because a new image is registered at every moment.

In his text, Melvin Moti compares this flood of individual impressions with the so-called “floaters” that everyone knows - the particles on the surface of the eyes that can only be perceived in the fleeting nature of their motion - or even with the optical phenomenon of “Eigengrau” or “intrinsic grey”, a kind of colour static that is produced on its own in the eye in complete darkness or when the eyelids are shut. It were these ephemeral images that appear on the fine membranes between the worlds of perception, the representations of the points of contact between different worlds, that interested Moti at first, in their wide variety of forms covering the entire spectrum “from inner self in outer space”, and that he illustrates in the accompanying text with philosophical ease in broadly meandering, contemplative observations using numerous examples. The idea of how the eye can make images on its own, in an ‘intrinsic’ way, without any influence of external information finally was Moti’s link to the V&A’s presentation of it’s collection, where objects are presented that produce meaning on their own term, devoid of their social and historical context.

Image: Pascale Marthine Tayou, Plastic Tree B, 2010. Arbre de poire sauvage (pyrus piraster), sacs en plastique, pot chinois, plantes, fleurs, terre, dimensions variables. Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Pékin / Le Moulin © photo: Oak Taylor-Smith

Press contact
Valerio D’Alimonte tel. +352 45 37 85-633 mob. +352 691 432 896

Opening Friday, June 17, 2011 | 6.00 pm – 8.30 pm

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 €
less than 26 years to more than 60 years, groups (min. 15 persons): 3 €
less than 18 years, Wednesday 6pm - 8pm: free entrance

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dal 7/7/2015 al 17/1/2016

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