MAMCO’s fourth floor re-opened after a few weeks of renovation works, in a brand-new configuration gathering artists’ spaces. On one hand are artworks which have entered the museum’s collection, and on the other, new spaces dedicated to archives and curated in collaboration with artists.
Claude Rutault’s Inventaire (1989-1994) gathers the entirety of his definitions/methods, represented by raw canvases, canvases painted in white or painted over in gray, as a way to record their current state of realisation—respectively non-realised, realised, or cancelled. This ensemble, first presented at MAMCO in 1994 and integrated since within the museum’s collection, is a form of seismograph of Rutault’s practice. It is now re-installed following the artist’s wish, and an outside wall allows the update of any of the works.
Sarkis’ L’ Atelier depuis 19380, set up at the MAMCO since 1994, is the only environment which still bears witness to the wooden ”cabins” that characterized the museum when it first opened. The artist considers this space as a “travel studio” which, once or twice a year, he occupies to resume his work. What is on display in this space is however not the fabrication of a particular piece, but rather the sedimentation of his work. Some works are thus hung, displaced, sometimes removed, put in dialogue with one another, as if part of a maintenance ritual. Surrounding the studio the presentation of other projects from the artist of which the museum keeps an important number in its collection.
These two historical artists’ spaces adjoin rooms dedicated to the Ecart Archives and the Concrete Poetry Cabinet of Maurizio Nannucci and Gabriele Detterer.
The post-Fluxus activities of the Ecart group have found a location for their re-emergence in Geneva, thanks to the HEAD Geneva, the Print Room of the Musée d’art et d’histoire and the complicity of John Armleder. They are exhibited through a new operatory mode which allows at once to resume the archives’ inventory work and to update projects from the 1970s.
Finally, the Concrete Poetry Cabinet is dedicated to an international artistic and literary movement which widespreads from Europe to South America as well as in Asia. As early as the 1950s, artists such as Augusto and Haroldo De Campos, Bob Cobbing, Eugen Gomringer, Jiri Kolar, Ferdinand Kriwet, Robert Lax, Franz Mon, Seiichi Nii-kuni, Dieter Roth, Gerhard Rühm, Emmet Williams, or Henri Chopin, produced poems, books, and sound pieces by using information technologies available at the time (typewriter, Verifax copier, Letraset, offset, etc.). The Cabinet is made of 30’000 artworks and documents brought together by Zona Achives, which under the auspices of Maurizio Nannucci, is one of the biggest private collection on Europe.
This gathering of artists’ spaces on the fourth floor of the museum is intended both to offer a representation of the singularity of the MAMCO collections—through the emphasis on protocol, score and collaboration with the artist as nodal points of the collection’s politics—, and to allow ephemeral, performative and living forms to find a place in its midst. This articulation between archives, collections, and performative formats is also a proposition which is new for the museographic field and its codified practices.
Sophie Costes, Curator in charge of the MAMCO collections, worked on the re-deployment of Sarkis’ studio and, with artist Emilie Parendeau, of Rutault’s Inventory; Paul Bernard, Curator at the MAMCO, was in charge of the organization of the Concrete Poetry Cabinet; and the Ecart display was organized by Lionel Bovier
The Concrete Poetry Cabinet and the Ecart space are generously supported by Fondation Leenaards