Skip to navigation Skip to main content

Michel Paysant

Michel Paysant (b. 1955, Bouzonville, France) creates projects that straddle art and science, building bridges to craftsmanship, the history of techniques, and the development of cutting-edge technology. In the mid-1980s, he started taking an interest in bituminous asphalt as an artistic material. He was attracted to its ‘magical, strong and secretive’ qualities, ‘its powers of suggestion, of evocation, its history and its memory’ and was intrigued by it to the point of wanting ‘to totally exhaust its substance’. Asphalt, this ‘poor’, hydrocarbon-based material which has been used since ancient times to caulk ships or embalm the dead, came to be used in the invention of photography and was eventually used to pave roads in modern times. It is a nearly unlimited source of symbolism, which Paysant draws on for many of his works.

With his installation Nusquam (lat.: nowhere), Michel Paysant tackles the themes of the hospitality, of the other and emigration, through a free and poetic vision of the notion of “country of asylum”. Inspired by Utopia by Thomas More (1516), Nusquam should be considered as “an active waiting room”, an intermediary space where one can relax, in which one submerges oneself and where one can listen. Thus, Nusquam represents a fictional threshold of a different world, the foundations of which are anchored in an open conception of Europe. This assembly of various elements, which is the fruit of a close collaboration with different partners, combines numerous literary, historical and symbolic references and is reminiscent of baroque curiosity cabinets.

Peradam was originally made in 2007 as part of Nusquam. Its title refers to the unfinished utopian novel Mount Analogue (1939–44) by René Daumal (b. 1908, Boulzicourt, France – d. 1944, Paris), in which a mysterious precious stone is visible only to those who seek it. Paysant’s video animation is made of fifty-five slowly morphing asphalt fragments from great European roadways. This sequence of bitumen fragments – including Frankfurt’s Börsenplatz, the Mitrovica bridge in Kosovo, the European institutions of Luxembourg, etc. – takes us along an endless imaginary road across the continent.


  1. Michel Paysant Inventarium 02, 2002

    Tables, néons, sables, plantes, maquettes, bande son, banc, dessins muraux
    Dimensions variables
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Acquisition 2002
    Vue de l’installation galerie Fréderic Giroux
    © Photo : Denis Bouchard

  1. Michel Paysant Attracteurs, 2002

    Reconstruits à partir d’électroencéphalogrammes enregistrés pendant certaines étapes du sommeil : yeux ouverts, yeux fermés, sommeil 2, sommeil 4 et sommeil REM
    Encre sur papier millimétré
    50 cm x 65 cm
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Donation 2004 - Michel Paysant
    © Photo : Rémi Villaggi

  1. Michel Paysant, "Oiseaux fluos (ombres de lumiere) 1-2-3-4", 2002. Collection Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Mudam Luxembourg. Donation 2004 – Michel Paysant
    Michel Paysant Oiseaux fluos (ombres de lumiere) 1-2-3-4, 2002 (détail)

    4 dessins préparatoires pour un wall drawing d’Inventarium 02
    Peinture fluorescente et crayon sur papier
    50 cm x 65 cm chacun
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Donation 2004 – Michel Paysant
    © Photo : Rémi Villaggi

  1. Michel Paysant Nusquam, 2007

    Installation technique mixte
    Dimensions variables
    Plante : Campanule de Brava (Contra bruxas branca)
    Commande et Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Avec le concours de Musée national d’Histoire Naturelle de Luxembourg, Jardin Botanique de Bonn, Centre International d’Art Verrier de Meisenthal, Objectile, Atelier Stéphane Dwernicki, 3D Prod, Olivier Esmein, Muadhib.
    © Photo : Andrés Lejona | Mudam Luxembourg

  1. Michel Paysant Portraits de Leurs Altesses Royales le Grand-Duc Henri et la Grande-Duchesse Maria Teresa, 2014–2015

    Nano-fabrication par lithographie électronique
    Dépôt d’or sur silicium
    Vue au microscope optique
    Diamètre du silicium : 100 mm
    Dimensions des portraits : 180 et 200 µm (hauteur)
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Commande 2013
    Vue de l’exposition Eppur si muove. Art et technique, un espace partagé, 09.07.2015 – 17.01.2016, Mudam Luxembourg
    © Photo : Rémi Villaggi | Mudam Luxembourg

The most important collection of contemporary art in Luxembourg Explore the Mudam Collection