In spring of 2019, Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean presents the first retrospective exhibition of Luxembourg artist Bert Theis (1952-2016). The exhibition brings together more than 100 works, including models, preparatory drawings, photographs and videos documenting his projects executed in public spaces, for which he is best known, together with text works, collages and conceptual propositions that question the history of art, painting and the status of images.
From the beginning of his career in 1990 until his death in 2016, Bert Theis explored the relationship between art and the public sphere. His works, which he described as "philosophical" pieces, provide space for the active participation open to everyone and are seen as an invitation to pause, reflect and participate in shared experiences. The temporary "platforms" and "pavilions" that he set up in the heart of different cities in Europe and Asia, proposed a specific response to the social, urban, geographical or artistic issues raised by the contexts in which they were presented. Theis' research on the topic of "site-specific art" ended in "fight-specific art" with the 2001 launch in Milan – his adopted city from 1993 – of the Isola Art Center, a collective platform bringing together artists, art historians, philosophers, activists and citizens around the issue of transformation of the urban spaces.
For the duration of the exhibition at Mudam, a group of projects and satellite events, organised in collaboration with cultural institutions across Luxembourg, are intended to create a "Bert Theis moment". LUCA Luxembourg Center for Architecture will display the Out – Office for Urban Transformation
installation and host a cycle of conferences and workshops.
The exhibition is accompanied by the first major monograph on the work and ideas of Bert Theis, assembling together his writing and unpublished essays.
Arcipelago Bert Theis
The exhibition is extended with cultural propositions across Luxembourg and beyond, in partnership with: 2001 architecture, Cercle Cité, Communauté urbaine de Strasbourg, Fonds Belval, Fonds Kirchberg, Luxembourg Center for Architecture, Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art, Rotondes, Université de Luxembourg – Master in Architecture, Ville de Luxembourg
Bert Theis, who was born in 1952 and died in 2016, lived and worked in Luxembourg and Milan. His works were presented at the 46th Venice Biennale (1995), Skulptur Projekte Münster (1997), the 4th Gwangju Biennale (2002) and even the 10th Istanbul Biennial (2007). After receiving orders and project requests, he also designed several permanent installations in public spaces, such as the Spirale Warburg
in Strasbourg (2002), the European Pentagon
in Brussels (2005) and later in Luxembourg (2007), Le Troisième système
at the Chamarande parc (2006) and 2551913
at Butte du Chapeau-Rouge Parc in Paris (2013). His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the PAV – Parco d'Arte Vivente in Turin (2015), Centro Pecci in Prato (2009), the Federico Bianchi Contemporary Art Gallery in Lecco (2008) and Mamco in Geneva (2007). Theis was one of the founders and one of the main instigators of the Isola Art Center project, an international platform for contemporary art set up in the heart of Isola, a neighbourhood in Milan.