Two exhibitions starting on 18 June, an artist residency and a wide range of projects: Konschthal is moving up a gear. Artistic director Christian Mosar provides an overview.
Christian Mosar, in the context of the Esch2022 cultural year, 18 June is an important date with the opening of two new exhibitions and a new artists' residence in Esch-sur-Alzette. Can you tell us a bit about them?
“The exhibition ‘Distance’ by Jeppe Hein consists of a monumental marble track. The marbles are 20 cm in diameter and the track runs like a labyrinth through three floors of Konschthal, where it occupies the entire architecture. When entering, visitors trigger the movement of one of these giant marbles and the game consists of following it through the tangle of the track. You find yourself in a real iron jungle.
Another work by Jeppe Hein is on display in front of Konschthal. It is part of the sculpture trail ‘Nothing is permanent’ of the city of Esch and is inspired by a quotation on a painting by Luxembourg artist Michel Majerus, whose death we are commemorating this year for the 20th time.
The other exhibition, ‘metalworks - designing & making’, proposed by curator Georges Zigrand and co-curator Charlotte Masse, brings together some twenty international designers illustrating techniques for transforming and using metal in contemporary design. It includes prestigious names such as the Bouroullec brothers, Tom Dixon and Thomas Heatherwick. These range from classic techniques such as wrought iron to more contemporary techniques such as aluminium foam. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication on the influence of metal technologies and techniques on today's design.
This subject obviously also refers to the industrial past of the city of Esch. In fact, part of Konschthal is built entirely of steel beams, which echoes this exhibition.
18 June will also be the date of the inauguration of the Bridderhaus, a new artists' residence in the former ARBED hospital located in Rue Léo Metz in Esch-sur-Alzette. It offers 7 residential flats, including one for people with reduced mobility, 5 independent studios, exhibition spaces, a large modular room and common spaces. It will welcome national and international artists for residencies of 3 to 6 months. The first occupants will exhibit their work on this occasion.”
Beyond the cultural year 2022, what other projects are planned at Konschthal?
“The programme for 2023 is already well advanced. We will host the Luxembourg pavilion of the current Venice Biennale with the works of Tina Gillen. It will be slightly transformed and enriched with additional works.
And then we will occupy the entire space of the Konschthal with a group exhibition called ‘Eigenheim’, which is a very specific German term that could be translated as ‘Your own home’. It will bring together some thirty international artists around the theme of living: Where do we live? How do we organise our living space? In what type of architecture? In a communal or solitary model? A cardboard box in the street or an ecological house? There will be plenty of food for thought in this exhibition.
Of course, these are only some of the main events of 2023, but I can guarantee that there will be other surprises.”
The Konschthal was recently created with the intention of playing a key role in a very particular socio-cultural and local context, for the dialogue between the generations. How do you put this into practice?
"This is done in several ways. We have, for example, a mediation and public service. And then we are going to plan a closing for children at the end of the current exhibition, on 4 September. We are going to organise a special weekend with dedicated workshops for, for example, making marble tracks!
This intergenerational approach is essential for us and is also reflected in the exhibition 'Distance' as such: it is a large-scale game with which adults and children can meet at the same time and immediately. We really wanted to offer an exhibition that is made by a very big name in contemporary art, but is for the general public and very accessible.
Moreover, this aspect of accessibility is essential for us: this is why our exhibitions are free, to avoid any apprehension on the part of people who are not used to going to such museums or who are afraid of contemporary art.”
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