MUDAM’s 10th

By | Category: Travel destinations
part of ine of the stained glass windows in "The Chapel" showing skeletal hands

part of one of the stained glass windows in “The Chapel” showing skeletal hands and other bones

If you were asked to list the major art galleries of the world where would Mudam appear?

Mudam, the Musee D’Art Moderne Grand Duc Jean to give its full name, and is in Luxembourg City. It is an unusual museum being built at the back of one of the city’s remaining fortresses, Fort Thungen. As such, seeing a glass and white structure emerging from a two tone, stone centuries old fortress is a little unusual yet fairly typical of some of the work of the Chinese-American architect, I. M. Pei, who was also responsible for the glass pyramid that is emerging from the ground next to the Louvre in Paris.

The "lacework" Cement Truck

The “lacework” Cement Truck

This year it celebrates its tenth birthday so clearly, the reputation it has, has come about quite quickly.

Known for its regular exhibitions rather than its permanent collection, there was little modern art available to the duchy so it concentrated on contemporary art instead. When it opened there was a creation by the Belgian artist Wim Delvoye called Chapel. It is still there and still causes people to scratch the heads. The Gothic style building within a building has stained glass windows which include x-rays of body parts.

 a "lacework" truck tyre

a “lacework” truck tyre

For the tenth birthday, Delvoye has returned with an exhibition that runs until the very early days of next year. This brings together some of his other works such as the Concrete Mixer from 2012 or the Cement Truck both of which are is constructed in metal but designed as lace work. In keeping with much of his work, Delvoye might have created the idea but the shaping and construction of the “lace work” was outsourced to China.

Inside the museum gets plety of light from the glass ceilings which is boosted by the whitish walls

Inside the museum gets plenty of light from the glass ceilings which is boosted by the whitish walls

From 2014 comes his Maserati which is a car chassis but with intricate scroll work covering the entire vehicle. The same detailed work is to be seen in a truck tyre wheel from 2013.

But perhaps the thing that Delvoye is widely known for were his tattooed pigs, part of his Art Farm sequence. The piglets were tattooed whilst young and then, as they grew, a video system enabled people world-wide to watch them. Today the pigs are dead but they remain on show at MUDAM

Delvoye is an almost ideal subject at Mudam since he reflects, better than many modern artists might, the niche that this museum has carved out for itself and why it, like the pyramid at the Louvre, has become a tourist attraction in its own right.  And maybe that’s better than being in  any list of major art galleries.

For more about Luxembourg, click here.

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