For the past three years, the Musée d'art et d'histoire de Genève (MAH) has been organising XL "carte blanche" exhibitions, which allow internationally renowned artists to take over the MAH's collection and rooms, giving free rein to their creativity.
For the first six months of the year, the museum's spaces are transformed through the eyes of an external curator, who treats a variety of subjects in a way that is as sharp as it is accessible. This approach allows the MAH's collections to be apprehended in an original way, and allows visitors to rediscover works that have been taken out of storage.
After Jakob Lena Knebl (2021), Jean-Hubert Martin (2022) and Ugo Rondinone (2023), it is Wim Delvoye's turn to curate the XL 2024 exhibition.
Wim Delvoye © Studio Wim Delvoye
This exhibition “The Order of Things. Carte blanche to Wim Delvoye” takes place from January 26th to June 26th, 2024. The Belgian visual artist born in 1965 offers an original artistic and aesthetic experience, and a profound exploration of our relationship with art and the objects that surround us. As an artist with a passion for things and artefacts, whether recognized works of art or simple objects, Wim Delvoye invites us to question the seemingly watertight boundaries that separate art objects from everyday objects. Pieces from the museum's collection enter into a play of reflections and contrasts with those of Wim Delvoye.
On the left: Frank Christian, Nautile Cup and case, circa 1680 © Musée d’art et d’histoire de Genève, photo B. Jacot-Descombes; on the right: Wim Delvoye, Case for a Mobylette, 2004 © Claudine and Jean-Marc Salomon Collection
There's no set itinerary here. The audience is invited to immerse itself in a joyful and playful abundance of objects, references and interventions proposed by the Flemish designer in the name of what he himself calls “elegant vandalism”.
In this profusion, it is nevertheless possible to follow a few paths. First of all, there's the hijacking, which consists of taking an object from its original context and transplanting it into another realm. A Picasso, for example, becomes an obstacle that a giant set of marbles has fun smashing through, while cases converse with sarcophagi. Then there are the reversals, whether conceptual or physical. The noble becomes the trivial, and vice versa; for example, when Wim Delvoye gives the case an importance and splendour that we would expect from the content, questioning our aesthetic hierarchies. Finally, the various comparisons give rise to a reflection on the very notion of collecting, and on the limits and beauties of the accumulative gesture.
On the left: Wim Delvoye, Nautilus, 2017; on the right: Wim Delvoye, Rimowa Classic Flight Multiwheel © Studio Wim Delvoye
The Order of Things fits in perfectly with the mission of the Fondation Etrillard: this artist playfully builds bridges between the artefacts in the collections of the Musée d'art et d'histoire and his own contemporary creations. These dialogues are as much a surprise as they are an exploration of our relationship with our heritage, an approach that is dear to the Fondation Etrillard.
More information on : www.mahmah.ch
On the left: Antonio Canova, Venus “Italica” or Venus coming out of the bath, 1807-1810, © Musée d’art et d’histoire de Genève, photo B. Jacot-Descombes; on the right: Wim Delvoye, Ball Track Venus Italica, 2023 © Studio Wim Delvoye