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Six exhibitions

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

Go East / Wolfgang Trager / Olivier Foulon / Didier Marcel / Claire Barclay / Tomas Saraceno

comunicato stampa

Mudam Luxembourg is presenting from 10 October 2009 to 3 January 2010 six new exhibitions, one group and five solo exhibitions.

Mudam Collection supported by KBL European Private Bankers

Curators: Marie-Noëlle Farcy, Clément Minighetti (Mudam)

Supported by KBL European Private Bankers, Mudam launched Go East in 2007, a programme lasting several years, aimed at building up a collection of works by artists originating from eastern Europe. Far from being limited to "new" member countries of the European Union, this project was intended to cover large geographic areas, from the Baltic countries to the Caucasus, and from Russia to Central Asia. After the first cycle, Go East I, presented in 2008, Go East II will show all the works acquired over three years through the intermediary of this collection, accompanied by works which already formed a part of the Mudam collection.

Marina Abramovic
Video Portrait Gallery (1975-1998)
The artist Marina Abramovic is recognised for her exacting performances which are often political, and always moral and ethical. For almost 35 years, through her work she has explored her own physical and psychic limits, while pondering over existential themes such as life and death, suffering, happiness and bereavement, that she presents with a great physical presence. In Video Portrait Gallery (1975-1998), she gives, through an autobiographical choice of 14 of her performances recorded on video, an insight into her work. Art must be Beautiful, Artist must be Beautiful (1975), Cleaning the Mirror I (Head) (1995) or even The Onion (1996) are an intense display of the radicalism of her pursuits.

Erik Boulatov
Tam tam po dogoram – a tam i dom (2002, There there down the road – and there is home)
The artistic work of Erik Boulatov gained visibility and renown with the Soviet perestroika. In his paintings, often reflections of his distant and ironic standpoint, he combines writing with pictorial elements. The diptych, Tam tam po dogoram – a tam i dom (2002, There there down the road – and there is home), is part of a series of 12 paintings entitled VOT (Here), in which Boulatov associates the verses of a poem by Vsevolod Nekrasov with what he calls an essay on a pictorial liaison between the works of Russian realists from the 19th century and the constructivism of the 20th. Furthermore, the technique of pencil and dry pastel as well as the different uses of light confer to the paintings a dreamlike depth characteristic of the artist’s works.

Mircea Cantor
Shadow for a While, 2007
The radical economy of means used in the protoform work of Romanian artist Mircea Cantor contrasts with the visual saturation of our over-mediatised environment. Although it evokes social, political and economic realities, the work of Cantor is wary of expressing clear-cut opinions. The intention is more to “talk about poetics through politics”. The 16 mm film, Shadow for a While (2007), is a laconic, shadowy production, usually out of focus, of a burning flag whose disappearance progressively lets the light shine through. This anonymous and timeless representation of the ritual of the destruction of a symbol of an enemy regime can be perceived as a complex metaphor for change.

Attila Csörgö
Untitled (1 tetrahedron + 1 cube + 1 octahedron = 1 dodecahedron), 2000
The installations and photographic work of the Hungarian artist, Attila Csörgö, evolve somewhere between scientific tinkering and applied mathematics. Making light of the barriers between science and art, they often provoke dynamic visual experiences. The exhibited piece, an experimentation platform which resembles a workbench belonging to the series, Platonic Love, “demonstrates” the equation mentioned in the title by slowly transforming three of the five “Platonic solids”, the tetrahedron, the cube and the octahedron, also symbolising the physical elements fire, earth and air, into a dodecahedron, symbol of the cosmos. Csörgö thus succeeds in bringing to life, with the help of a minutely detailed and delicate mechanism, the metamorphosis of timeless geometric shapes in the style of fragile puppets.

Zilvinas Kempinas
Lemniscate, 2007
The Lithuanian artist Zilvias Kempinas investigates space with the help of magnetic tapes that appear to defy the laws of gravity. For Lemniscate (2007), the artist uses two industrial ventilators, positioned so that the magnetic tape draws a huge tracery, while remaining almost immobile and floating in space. The visual effectiveness of the tape in suspension, due to the discrepancy between the use of this technological recording means and its sparing implementation, confers upon the work a dimension that is as poetic as it is sculptural. By playing with the phenomena of perception, Kempinas’ installations disorientate the viewer, seeing the ribbon incessantly moving in and out of sight.

Roman Ondák
Dubbing, 2001
Roman Ondák, from Slovakia, constructs fictions that link the conceptual to the social. Based on his memory and narrative, each work engages in an experience lived by the artist and its “reconstruction” as interpreted by a third party. For Dubbing (2001), Ondák told those close to him of the events surrounding an exhibition he was involved in. Subsequently, these people, unfamiliar with the artistic environment and not having seen the exhibition, produced drawings based on Ondák’s account and descriptions, which eventually led to the making of this work. Thus, from the initial experience to its final “retranscription”, the works of Ondák become heavier and increasingly complex at each stage of their development and expression.

Tobias Putrih
Mudam’s Studio Design, 2006
Inspired by the work of utopian and idealist artists like Buckminster Fuller or Frederick Kiesler, Tobias Putrih (*1972, Slovenia) has developed work which lies somewhere between sculpture and architecture. The environment of modulable elements presented is not unknown to Mudam visitors. In fact, upon the museum’s opening, a request was made to the artist for a nomadic structure, with multiple configurations, which would become, according to requirements, an area for crea-tion, documentation, exhibitions or even friendly meetings with the artists. After having been used as a setting for experimental education, these structures, which are both functional and chaotic in the way they have been assembled, are now spread out over the exhibition space offering various areas to rest.

Bojan Šar?evi?
Only after Dark / Untitled (film 5), 2007
Bojan Šar?evi?, an artist of Bosnian origin, was born in Belgrade and is interested in the phenomena of reminiscence and cultural displacements which, in his work, take the shape of clues and allusions. The fifth film from the Only after Dark (2007) series, a real visual and acoustic still life, projected in a neo-constructivist structure which is an integral part of the piece, is similar in its simplicity to a Japanese haiku. Heterogeneous, organic and geometric elements are the actors in a no-action narration, creating a film miniature, in which the artist indirectly and elegantly ponders the modernist language.


Artists’ Portraits

Curators: Anna Loporcaro, Christophe Gallois (Mudam)

For about 20 years, German photographer Wolfgang Träger (*1957) has been producing reports on the international artistic scene, and especially on various important artistic events such as the Venice Biennale, the Documenta in Cassel or the moving biennial Manifesta, whose second edition took place in Luxembourg in 1998. His “photographic promenades” are regularly published in the German modern art magazine, Kunstforum. As well as views of exhibitions, the work of Wolfgang Träger includes, above all, portraits of artists, taken from life, notably during setting up exhibitions or event openings. To realise these portraits, Wolfgang Träger does not ask his subjects to pose. On the contrary, he is interested in what their work gestures, their spontaneous postures can tell us about their personalities and their work.
The exhibition at Mudam is structured around two groups of works. A first series was thought up as a meeting between two collections: the collection of portraits by Wolfgang Träger, which today consists of over a thousand portraits of artists, and the Mudam Collection. This series thus concentrates on portraits of artists in the museum’s collection who have been portrayed by the photographer. You find historic faces here, such as Marina Abramovic, Richard Long and Bruce Nauman, and artists having recently emerged on the international art scene, like Roman Ondák and Tobias Putrih, or Luxembourgers, Su-Mei Tse, Simone Decker and Bert Theis.
A second group of works are concentrated on the group of artists which, in the collection of portraits by Wolfgang Träger, have a special place: the Fluxus artists, a multidisciplinary artistic movement who have worked since the 1960s at pushing the boundaries of artistic practices and between art and life. Wolfgang Träger has regularly accompanied the group since 1989, and the privileged relationship that he has formed with these artists has enabled him to discover “the lightness and humour with which they always produce their performances, while laughing at themselves and remaining faithful to their works”. On the subject of Wolfgang Träger’s photographs, the Fluxus poet and artist, Emmett Williams, asserted in the following way that he found “sometimes worrying his manner of showing in our faces our exact thoughts on what we are doing or on what we have just done”. An acuteness of eye that is found in all his photographs.


Prisma Pavillion

Start reacting to things you love. Start with one object - for me it happened to be lace - and from there let your imagination go. For one can almost define collage as the relatedness of unrelated things.
Gloria Vanderbilt, citée par Bruce Hainley

Don’t start from the good old things but the bad new ones.
Bertolt Brecht

Curators: Anna Loporcaro, Christophe Gallois (Mudam)

Olivier Foulon’s practice consists of installations in which art history is employed and put into play. To do this, he appropriates artworks, documents, and theoretical and literary references. The techniques he uses include slide projection, photography, collage, drawing, painting and publishing. His exhibitions joyfully promote, question and displace issues concerning the ambiguity of relationships between the original, the copy and the reproduction, the spatial positioning of art and the function of the artist today.
For his exhibition at Mudam, Olivier Foulon presents a new series of artworks – paintings. These touch on obvious notions of figure and field, form and format, object and wall, light and location, material and reference. By introducing one or more elements which are external to painting, Olivier Foulon interrupts the production of the artwork and renders the issue more complex, as if he needed to exhibit an action as well as an object. The object is, he says, not only on the wall but has a certain relationship to it.
Like the exhibition, the title Prisma Pavillion, from the name of an Imbiss restaurant in Berlin, attempts, through a visual and linguistic montage, tackling different aspects of the same subject – transparency and opacity of painting – to bring together taste and speed of execution.
Olivier Foulon *1976 in Brussels, lives and works in Berlin and Brussels. He is currently in residence at the Villa Romana in Florence.



It’s a question of admitting that art is not life and that art is always a difference produced between a real thing and its translation.
Didier Marcel

Curator: Clément Minighetti (Mudam)

A profound artistic curiosity for sculptural questions concerning shape, size, texture and presentation is combined in the work of Didier Marcel with the know-how of an artist capable of orchestrating craftsmen specialised in contemporary materials to conceive sophisticated results.
The often mundane motifs of the works of Didier Marcel draw from the lands of his immediate environment. The tree trunk moulds in polyester resin adopt the position of supporting columns whose fibrous surfaces perfectly reflect the ornamental character of the bark. The presentations in relief of ploughed pieces of earth, objects pulled out of their context through their artificial reproduction or through their presentation on strange devices lend his work an enigmatic distance which the miniature, dilapidated buildings, reduced to sculptures also give. Extracts of imaginary landscapes or elements of images in space, his works represent the details of a reality whose alienation underlines how the ideas that one has about nature are a cultural production. Didier Marcel is as much interested in plays of scale as he is in the sophisticated framing of his works. The very particular plinth structures, or the production in a sales showroom style, underlines the artificial character of the situation. It is with a certain elegance that the artist refers to art history without, however, citing it too explicitly. Thus, the rangy trunks of Didier Marcel have something of the works of Giacometti, and in his installation, Sans titre (Champ de blé aux corbeaux) (2008), he combines allusions to one of the last paintings of Van Gogh with a wink to Marcel Duchamp. Didier Marcel responds to the sometimes nostalgic tones of his works with an impeccable technical perfection and surprising coloured accents.



Curator: Christophe Gallois, Clément Minighetti (Mudam)

Claire Barclay devises her installations in dialogue with the exhibition space: its architecture, its history, the different uses that it may have had. Rather than making specific references to this space, her installations are concerned with the atmosphere that it radiates and trigger open narratives. Her work combines familiar materials such as leather, earth, fabric, wool, straw and metals, many materials which usually “have been used to make the objects that shape our lives for a very long time”, generating intensely tactile environments.
Conceived specifically for Mudam, her installation Pale Heights is articulated around a structure of wood and metal which is laid out over different zones of the exhibition space. This structure compartmentalises the space without partitioning it, it complexes it. It also creates more intimate areas in which other elements of smaller dimensions can coexist. The installation invites the eye to wander, to move back and forth between different points of view and different scales, between overall pictures and meticulously worked details.
Claire Barclay often evokes a certain ambiguity when discussing her works, describing them as “objects in states of transition or chaos… objects which carry a certain confusion in their own identity”. This ambiguity is found again in the different methods of production that her works reflect – handmade, craftsmanship, industrial – ending up as objects “both recognisable and foreign, domestic and industrial, contemporary and ancient”. The artist works regularly in collaboration with craftsmen and specialists in various fields, and her work renegotiates the distinctions traditionally accepted between different artistic techniques and between art, design and craftsmanship.
The elements that her installations present often seem to be arranged intuitively. Barclay conceives these objects as uncompleted elements and compares her installations to combinations which could occur in her studio, during experimentations. She talks of her exhibitions as “pauses in an ongoing process”: “I like to install the work in ways which try to retain a sense of immediacy; to suggest that the object hasn’t yet found its place or meaning.”


In the framework of the cycle Habiter

Utopia exists until it is created.
Tomás Saraceno

Curator: Marie-Noëlle Farcy (Mudam)

Optimistic and enthusiastic, inspired by ecological philosophy and visionary developments of theorist architects like Peter Cook, Yona Friedman or Buckminster Fuller, Tomás Saraceno pursues the idea “of a creatable utopia” and invents luminous installations, kinetic sculptures, suspended gardens and even inflatable architecture. Conceived as “vehicles lighter than air”, these floating installations are supplied by solar energy and made with original materials such as aerogel, an extremely fine film, specially conceived and patented by the artist. A trained architect, Saraceno continuously reaches for the sky while keeping his feet firmly on the ground. Through his works, real syntheses of engineering, physics and art, he throws into question the static model of town development, as well as the individualist dimension of our modern communities. In Air-Port-City, for example, an experimental concept developed some years ago which has been evolving throughout the projects, he offers dwelling and living areas through a system of modules which are floating in the air. Spinning out the cloud metaphor, he questions the notions of territory and frontiers, as well as of sustainable urban and social development, through work which is as poetic as it is critical, and of a beauty which is sometimes quite dazzling.
For his exhibition for the third chapter of the Habiter cycle at Mudam, Tomás Saraceno presents the experimental project carried out in 2008 in the vast landscapes of his native Argentina, an experience which the photographs and films produced on the spot and co-produced by Mudam show. With a passion for flying, he has orchestrated, with his team, a dance of three large inflatable structures in the sky, to which is secured a tent in the guise of a rudimentary settlement. These monumental balloons cannot resist adventure, ever carried by the wind. In response to this project, suspended in the sky of the Grand Hall, one of the pieces of inflatable modular architecture, Air-Port-City, is spread out. Floating within interlaced rigging, it incarnates this pursuit of floating dwelling places of the future.

Mudam is the foremost museum dedicated to contemporary art in Luxembourg, and strives to be attentive to every discipline. The programme reflects current artistic trends and appreciates the emergence of new artistic practices.

Image: Tomás Saraceno, Space Elevator II (working title), 2009. Courtesy the artist, Pinksummer Contemporary Art, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery and Andersen’s Contemporary © Tomás Saraceno

Press Contact
Valerio D’Alimonte tel. +352 45 37 85-633

Mudam Luxembourg
Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean
3 Park Dräi Eechelen, L-1499 Luxembourg
Every day from 11am to 6pm.
Wednesday from 11am to 8.30pm.
Closed on Tuesday.
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less than 26 years, more than 60 years, groups (min. 15 people): 3€
less 18 years, Wednesday from 6pm to 8.30pm: free

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