"All men have a secret attraction for ruins", Chateaubriand
For the first time, the Fondation Etrillard is collaborating with an institution in Lyon, supporting the exhibition Formes de la ruine (Forms of Ruin) at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, which runs from 1 December 2023 to 3 March 2024.
From the Roman Empire to the imaginary worlds of video games, via Egypt, the Americas and the most distant civilisations, this thematic exhibition establishes a dialogue between all types of ruins. The aim is to question societies throughout history and, at the same time, to discover the work carried out by contemporary artists in their desire to document and interpret the ruins of our industrial societies and to imagine our future.
Johann Oswald Harms, Landscape with Ruins (Chercheurs de trésor), 1673, Hamburger Kunsthalle, © BPK, Berlin, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Christoph Irrgang
The exhibition looks at all the different ways in which ruins have been used, from the collection of fragments of human activity in and on the ground, to the development of natural areas for memorial or religious purposes, and the construction of buildings such as megaliths, pyramids, and the engineering structures of great empires. Its aim is to organise a kind of journey through the ruins, an ongoing dialogue between civilisations around four themes: memory and oblivion, the balance between nature and culture, the link between the tangible and the intangible, and the tension between present and future.
Syrie, Palmyre, Bas-relief funéraire au nom de Malikou, IIe siècle après J.-C., Époque romaine. Legs Dupont-Sommer. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon. Image © Lyon MBA - Photo Alain Basset
Based on the work of archaeologist and historian Alain Schnapp, author of the landmark Une histoire universelle des ruines, published in 2020, Formes de la ruine aims to offer visitors a visual translation of his thinking, with over 300 works on display, ranging from primitive to contemporary art. Sylvie Ramond, Director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and Chief Curator of Heritage, is also curating the exhibition.
These bridges created between past heritage and the contemporary world naturally echo the credo of the Fondation Etrillard.
Randa Maddah, Majdal Shams, 1983, Light Horizon, 2012, Collection de l’artiste © Randa Maddah