March 25, 2015
With winter drawing to an end, we will be opening a new space on the first day of spring: at Wandhaff/Windhof, in Koerich in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. In the heart of the Greater Region. The "wind farm" is no more and has given way to a shopping and activities centre arranged around a roundabout distributing traffic between Belgium, France, Germany and the Grand Duchy itself. This important crossing point has attracted not only shopping centres but also offices and businesses. Arlon is 19 km away, Luxembourg and its TGV railway station 16 km away, Metz is 77 km away, Sarrebruck 116 km. Brussels too is close: just two hours' journey, as are cities like Frankfurt, Cologne and Düsseldorf.
This new space has been carved from an industrial building similar to those to be found in most industrial and commercial areas, and rather like those in Brooklyn, in like manner to the garages of Chelsea. that have been transformed into art galleries. Wandhaff is a more "urbanised" Brooklyn chic. Within, however, this new space offers the size and "look" of Chelsea garages: 1400 square metres, of which more than 800 square metres dedicated to exhibitions. It includes space for stock and storage, a workshop, offices and conference rooms. And a shop located before the flexible exhibition spaces.
It seemed necessary to us that this space include a bookshop. This offers a place in which to rest and to consult books. Books and catalogues documenting the exhibition will be available, and it will also be possible to buy a range of publications, catalogues, essays, monographs on art generally, but focusing especially on modern and contemporary art and the so-called primitive arts. Visitors may also purchase objects of a carefully selected design created and made for leading international museums.
This large space - which will provide an effective complement to our gallery in rue Wiltheim - will be inaugurated with an impressive presentation of works by Bernar Venet. Rue Wiltheim will display some rare and important paintings, while Wandhaff will present recent drawings and sculptures, "Gribs", collapses, undetermined arcs and lines; in other words, the monumental pieces the artist favours. Their display demands spaces like this one. This is one of the missions and functions of a gallery of a size that we might define as being à la "Chelsea". But this is just one of the reasons for our ambitious plans for growth. The size of this space and the amplitude of its volume, the possibilities of partitioning the space it enables, strengthen our conviction that a shift in the model and modes of functioning of galleries is inevitable. This is a shift already anticipated by major international galleries, American above all. We owed it to ourselves to participate in this. We owe it to the artists we promote, to the artists who accompany us in their career. We owe it to our collectors, who have for the most part become friends. They will note that to defend the artists we love and in whom we believe with the passion I believe we demonstrate, we are ready to accept the risks that such a large, spectacular space entails, and to do so with a certain jubilation, albeit with a little anxiousness too, of course. Ours is an ambition which we demonstrate "here" - and I am looking at the drawing of the famous sculpture entitled "Here" by Barnett Newman that celebrates and exalts (in every sense of the word) New York! "Here" is thus Luxembourg! We believe that here we can develop the activities of our galleries and participate in the economic, cultural and social development of an active and energetic country that is open to innovations that we feel are already determining our future.
The size of this space enables us to envisage real exhibitions, Exhibitions that will no longer be just gallery exhibitions. This is necessary where museum exhibitions are often nothing more than enlarged gallery exhibitions. This is obvious, inevitable. The announced end of the history of art, like that of history itself in the past, the evident splintering of chronology, the triumph of a happenstance "atemporality" affecting every field of human science - especially that of art and of an approximative philosophy aiming to replace the history of art and sociology - with internet taking the place of erudition, means we are confronted with a situation as though we had suddenly been been stripped of the dangerous ponderousness of history and of determinism that this last sometimes generates. Submitted to this belief, the interpretation of works of art tends to limit itself more and more to a sort of textual packaging squeezing them into contents wrongly assigned to them. They are read and no longer seen, and their very form vanishes. Folic and Kubler are forgotten. And moreover, the mercenary value of the works henceforth obliterates their reality. As for the "connoisseur's" approach of former times, this is now considered to be anachronistic. But since chronology no longer has reason to existâ€¦
This space will thus enable us to organise exhibitions that will happily aspire to be more than just gallery presentations. We will be able to imagine real retrospectives of the work of a given one of our artists, and organise thematic comparisons that are developed and arranged in space and time. In other words, these works will not be laid out in accordance with that "atemporality" that encourages the curse of anachronisms.
These presentations will not be limited just to works by artists our gallery represents, but will be open to all artists' works whose presence appears necessary to us, as is the case in museums. And this is what major galleries do. We will do so too, with the means at our disposal. This is why we propose, once a year, to show the works that informed and determined collectors have succeeding in acquiring. It goes without saying that in some of the exhibitions we are dreaming of, there will be no works for sale. Because we believe that, since we have been able to set up such a space here, we must participate more pro-actively in the cultural life of Luxembourg.
Having said that, this opening does, of course, obey some professional imperatives and reveals stakes that the topicality of artistic life recalls and reiterates. This is witnessed by numerous essays and articles written by talented university individuals or insightful and well-informed journalists. This is not the place to sketch out an analysis of this; I shall limit myself to stressing a few points. Anyone wishing to defend his artists must, frequently and well, facilitate their being recognised. Fairs are not sufficient. Galleries are still indispensable, therefore. But the auctioneers are re-inventing themselves as gallery owners too, organising exhibitions close to their salesrooms. Galleries need to be aware of this and re-affirm their own specificity and the missions that are still theirs. In order to show the works of artists they are promoting and impose their presence in a manner that is effective, galleries need spaces in important commercial areas. Whence the large physical size of the entrepreneurial galleries which is becoming the rule. And so we too must bend to these new rules, but in declaring that our ambition aims to breathe new life into what used to be called (and which was once the name of a periodical) the love of art: a passion for works of art. In other words, to give people something to look at. To think about!
The decision to arrange this large space as a gallery was not taken lightly. Nor was it taken without some concerns. But our decision was made easier and stimulated, by the optimistic enthusiasm of the building's owners, whose attention, support and generosity have been fundamental.
This new space will open to the public on March 21, 2015, with an impressive, spectacular exhibition of sculptures, drawings and paintings by Bernar Venet.