The Nouveau Musée National de Monaco presents LAB#2, Hors Catégories with Berger&Berger, Patrick Corillon, Félix Dol Maillot and Damien MacDonald.
LAB is about turning the museum into a laboratory and rendering the experiences to be had there crystal clear. About encouraging the public to take notice of the museum at the same time as they wander through it and to no longer be simply visitors. We want to turn their transit through the museum into a shared experience.
Begun at Villa Sauber two years ago with a LAB that focused on the functions and professions inherent in a museum’s activities, the experience offered engaged visitors by showing them the hidden side of the surroundings they are accustomed to seeing during an exhibition.
With this second edition, LAB#2 wants to continue the redefinition of what a museum really is. Or, rather, it wants to do away with definitions, to leave behind conventional understanding by including works by unclassifiable creators that shake up the word “artist” through multiform practices. The museum wanted its guest-artists to question the place that their works occupy and to make their inquiry evident, thus the NMNM has invited four of them to consider what the museum of tomorrow will be like.
To their works are added those of Michel Blazy, an artist originally from Monaco who is recognised internationally for his practice that focuses on perishable materials. His works, living sculptures from the national collections, challenge museum conservation practices.
With Deconstruction, Félix Dol Maillot, another artist linked to the Principality, presents a set of photographs made on site in 2016 that takes Villa Sauber as its subject. By isolating details of the building to reveal both its beauty and fragility, he creates a paradoxical temporality in which the history and future of the site are fused.
Similar to their work on museum architecture, Berger&Berger suggest a reform of the principal conditions that a museum customarily controls: lighting, humidity levels and temperature. The two brothers have combined their fields of expertise – art, architecture and design – in installations that deconstruct each component to explore the technical aspects of an exhibition space.
Patrick Corillon reinvents History: the histories of Villa Sauber, Monaco, literature, art, performance and architecture, among others. Using legends, he produces myths. He has taken the collections of the NMNM to produce a catalogue déraisonné, chimerical and poetic. A wide-ranging creator, his favourite field of research is language, as is demonstrated by his seven-family game that visitors are invited to play.
For Damien MacDonald art is a means to lose himself, to let go and deconnect, so as to better defragment the hard disk of our overworked minds. Using drawings, film and a comic strip, he summons mythology, antiquity, the kabbalah, alchemy and up to Marcel Duchamp to create a highly contemporary reverie: a timeless tale.
All this is a reminder that a museum is first and foremost a place of production and of the experimentation of our collective memory.