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Bert Theis. KB Project, 2004. Collection Mariette Schiltz

Bert Theis

At once poetic and engaged, conceptual and sensitive, personal and collective, the work of Luxembourg artist Bert Theis (1952-2016) grew out of a reflection on the role art can play in society. Most notably it led to the creation of “platforms” and “pavilions” in various cities across Europe and Asia that were intended to be taken over by visitors, passers-by and locals; these were spaces for rest, contemplation, exchange or action, spaces where the idea of a “concrete utopia” takes shape.

On the occasion of the retrospective exhibition dedicated to his work running from 30 March to 25 August, 2019, Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean joins forces with various cultural partners to showcase an ensemble of works, both existing or recreated, and create a “Bert Theis Archipelago” in Luxembourg and beyond. Thanks to their diversity, these projects bring to life the many facets of Bert Theis’ oeuvre and testify to the significance of his legacy.



Bert Theis. Building Philosophy – Cultivating Utopia
Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean
30.03 – 25.08.2019
Opening: Friday 29.03.2019, 18h00 – 20h30
Curator: Enrico Lunghi
In collaboration with: Christophe Gallois
Assisted by: Marion Vergin

Mudam Luxembourg presents the first retrospective exhibition dedicated to Bert Theis. Through models, documents, photographs and videos, Building Philosophy – Cultivating Utopia offers a broad overview of the projects in the public realm that brought him to fame. The exhibition also sheds light on some of the lesser-known aspects of his work, the collages, the conceptual works that question history of art, painting and the status of images, as well as his text works.

Book Launch

Bert Theis, Building Philosophy – Cultivating Utopia
29.03.2019 | 17h00
Mudam Auditorium | EN

Conversation between Enrico Lunghi, Mariette Schiltz and the authors of the publication, Gerald Raunig, Marco Scotini and Elvira Vannini.

Moderation: Christophe Gallois
In English
Free admission
No booking required


Mark Uncle Band (vintage rock, Milan)
29.03.2019 | 20h00
European Pentagon, Safe & Sorry Pavilion, Place de l’Europe – Kirchberg
Free admission
No booking required


Isola Reunion
21.06.2019 | 18h00
European Pentagon, Safe & Sorry Pavilion, Place de l’Europe – Kirchberg

Musical performance by Steve Piccolo and Gak Sato, inspired by John Cage’s and Marcel Duchamp’s sonorous chess game Reunion (1968).

Within the framework of the Fête de la musique
Free admission
No booking required


The Everyday of Earthly Delights
10.07 – 25.08.2019
A project by the 2001 architecture bureau

Participatory activities related to the question of public space and the transformation of urban space.

Detailed programme soon on:

Guided tour

Art at noon
A personal view of the Bert Theis exhibition
17.06 – 23.08.2019 | 12h30 – 13h00

Throughout the summer, Nora Blaise, the artist’s niece and a student of cultural guidance, offers a special guided tour of the exhibition.

Mondays: DE | Wednesdays: FR | Thursdays: LU | Fridays: EN
Additional tour on Wednesdays from 19h00 to 19h30 in Luxembourgish.
For individual visitors and small groups (up to 5 people)
Free visit, museum admission excluded
No booking required

Vue de l'installation "Skulptur Projekte Münster", 1997
© Photo : Roman Mensig

Philosophical Platform

Place des Hauts Fourneaux, Avenue du Rock’n’Roll, Belval
Outdoor work visible at any time
From 22.04.2019
In collaboration with: Le Fonds Belval (

Installation recreated in 2019 by the Fund, with the participation of Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d'art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean

Freely inspired by the staircase found in the famous School of Athens (1509–1510) fresco by Raphael, the Philosophical Platform was created in 1997 for the Skulptur Projekte in Münster, an international event dedicated to public art, and met with great critical and popular success. A newly recreated version of this major work has been made possible by the Fonds Belval and its Public Art Experience program and has been installed at the heart of the Belval site.

Bert Theis, Philosophical Platform, 1997, reconstruction 2019 | Sound: in collaboration with Raphaël Rippinger | Technical conception: Rob Engel | Reproduction: Fonds Belval with the contribution of Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean | Le Fonds Belval | Courtesy Mariette Schiltz

Bert Theis, "OUT (Office for Urban Transformation)"
© Photo : Ilmari Kalkkinen Mamco

OUT (Office for Urban Transformation)

30.03 – 26.07.2019
LUCA Luxembourg Center for Architecture
1, rue de l’Aciérie L-1112 Luxembourg
Practical infos:
Opening: Saturday 30.03.2019, 17h30
16h00 : Roundtable Fight Specific
With: Gerald Raunig (philosopher and art theorist), Marco Scotini (curator, author and art critic), Angelo C astucci (architect and cura tor), Elvira Vannini (art historian and curator)
Moderation : Enrico Lunghi ((art historian and co-curator of the retrospective Bert Theis. Building Philosophy – Cultivating Utopia)
In English and Italian
Free entry

Travelling to different countries around the world between 2002 and 2014, from Italy to Mexico via Albania, Switzerland and Korea, the OUT project takes the form of an “office” dedicated to the question of urban transformation. A collection of documents, objects and visual materials, it is also conceived as a space that can accommodate “situations” of exchange, work and reflection. Several roundtables will take place during the exhibition at LUCA.

Tuesday 04.06.2019, 18h30
Building Utopia
With: Federica Gatta (architect, urban planner, doctor of space planning and author of the book (Contre)pouvoirs urbains ? Éléments pour une critique anthropologique de l’urbanisme participatif)), Doina Petrescu (Professor of architecture and design activism at the University of Sheffield) and Constantin Petcou (architect specializing in strategic design and semiotics, both founders of AAA (self-managed architecture workshop)), Eugenio Cosentino (architect and co-founder of the Parasite 2.0 collective)
Moderation: Philippe Nathan (architect and founder of the bureau 2001)
In English
Free admission
No booking required

Tuesday 02.07.2019, 18h30
Lieux infinis
With: Nicola Delon (architect and co-founder of the Encore Heureux collective and curator of the French Pavilion “Lieux infinis”, of the 16th Venice Biennale of architecture, 2018)
Introduction: Anna Loporcaro (in charge of the cultural programme at Mudam)
In French
Free admission
No booking required
In collaboration with: LUCA Luxembourg Center for Architecture
Curators: Angelo Castucci, Anna Loporcaro
Coproduction of the exhibition: Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean

© Angelo Castucci / Studioamatoriale

F(l)ight Sketches – For Bert Theis
30.03 – 05.05.2019
Cercle Cité
Place d’Armes, Entrée rue du Curé, L-2012 Luxembourg
Practical infos:
Opening: Saturday 30.03.2019, 11h30
13h00 – 13h30 : Musical performance by Steve Kaspar and Nataša Grujović
Guided Tours : Every Saturday at 15h00. Free entry. Free tours

This exhibition brings together artists who gravitate around the Isola Art Center in Milan, friends of Bert Theis and conceptual or political approaches close to the artist’s. Artists: Barbara Barberis, Common Wealth (curated by Claudia Passeri), Irene Coppola, Simone Decker, Paola di Bello, Edna Gee, Karolina Markiewicz & Pascal Piron, Edmond Oliveira, Edith Poirier, Jeff Weber, avec la contribution de Renk Ozer Sarp et de Serio Collective

Production: Cercle Cité
Curators: Angelo Castucci, Enrico Lunghi

Stirner Prothese, dessin préparatoire
© Collection Mariette Schiltz

Stirner Prothese
Parc municipal, Luxembourg
(Between the avenue Monterey and avenue Marie-Thérèse, near the lake)
From April 2019 – 25.08.2019
In collaboration with: Ville de Luxembourg
Practical infos:

Created in 2000 for the Tutzing Evangelical Academy in Germany, the Stirner Prothese was never installed. During the Bert Theis retrospective at Mudam, the City of Luxembourg presents this “foreign object derived from the functional world of navigation, railroads and industry” for the first time in the heart of the Municipal Park, allowing viewers to “enjoy a moment of solitude”.

Bert Theis, Stirner Prothese, 2000/2019 | Technical conception: Rob Engel | Co-produced by: Ville de Luxembourg | Collection Mariette Schiltz

Utopian City

Utopian City
30.03 – 25.08.2019
Outdoor work visible at any time
Place des Rotondes, L-2448 Luxembourg
Practical info:
Opening: Saturday 30.03.2019, 18h30
In collaboration with: Rotondes

Created for the façade of the Secession building in Vienna on the occasion of the group exhibition Utopian Pulse – Flares in the Darkroom (2014), this monumental collage features a 19th century painting by Jakob Alt depicting the Austrian capital as its backdrop. Relocated to the seaside by Theis, the urban space pictured becomes, in the words of the artist, the theater of “fragments and moments for new utopias”. Utopian City spreads over one of the walls of the Rotondes’ Black Box building.

Bert Theis, Utopian City, 2014 | Impression digitale sur vinyle | 340 x 900 cm | Copie d’exposition produite par Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean | Courtesy Mariette Schiltz | Collection Mariette Schiltz

Bert Theis, "The true artist"
© Photo : MNHA Tom Lucas

The true artist…
Permanent installation
Musée national d’histoire et d’art Luxembourg
Marché-aux-Poissons, L-2345 Luxembourg
Practical info:
Formule Renc’Art
Bert Theis honored in May: In addition to traditional regular visits, Renc'Art offers the chance to explore a specific work every month. luxembourgeois. Entrée libre pour ces visites.
Thursday 02.05, 19h00 (FR) | Tuesday 07.05, 12h30 (FR) | Thursday 09.05, 19h00 (DE) | Tuesday 14.05, 12h30 (DE) | Thursday 16.05, 19h00 (EN) | Tuesday 21.05, 12h30 (EN) | Thursday 23.05, 19h00 (PT) | Tuesday 28.05, 12h30 (LU)
Guided tours
On request (for groups larger than 10 people)
Booking: +352 47 93 30 214,
In collaboration with: Musée national d’histoire et d’art Luxembourg

Installed since 2003 in the staircase of the historical building of the Musée national d’histoire et d’art, The true artist... takes the form of a stained glass window that combines a conceptual approach with Art Deco aesthetics. This is a pivotal work in Bert Theis’s oeuvre, through which a formal vocabulary was put in place that the artist would regularly return to. The true artist... installation is permanently on display in the museum and can be admired from one of the galleries (Old Masters) located on the third floor of the main building.

Bert Theis, The true artist…, 2003 | Vitrail | 226 x 213 cm | Installation permanente, Musée national d’histoire et d’art Luxembourg | Collection Musée national d’histoire et d’art Luxembourg

Bert Theis, "European Pentagon, Safe Sorry Pavilion"
© Photo : André Morin

European Pentagon, Safe & Sorry Pavilion
Permanent installation
Place de l’Europe, Luxembourg-Kirchberg
Outdoor work visible at any time
In collaboration with: Fonds Kirchberg
During the exhibition, the European Pentagon will host several events.
Detailed programme:

Produced on the occasion of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2005, the European Pentagon was first exhibited on the roof of the BOZAR – Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, before being permanently installed in Place de l’Europe in Luxembourg. The words safe and sorry – that can be read from within the pavilion – are derived from the expression “better safe than sorry”. “A European pentagon that is small in size, translucent, fragile and built out of the words safe and sorry invites us obviously to reflect on the international political situation,” commented Bert Theis.

Bert Theis, European Pentagon, Safe & Sorry Pavilion, 2005 | Acier, verre semi-transparent, bois, structure métallique | Pavillon : 564 x 1094 x 973 cm | Plateforme : 30 x 2715 x 1260 cm | Conception technique : en collaboration avec Rob Engel | Installation permanente, Place de l’Europe, Luxembourg (depuis 2007) | Produit en 2005 comme installation temporaire pour le toit du BOZAR – Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, dans le cadre de la Présidence luxembourgeoise du Conseil de l’Union Européenne, 2005 | Collection Ministère de la Culture, Luxembourg

Warburg Spirale. Un monument aux vivants
© Image : André Morin

Warburg Spirale. Un monument aux vivants
Completion of restoration: Summer 2019
Place de la République, Strasbourg
Outdoor work visible at any time from the summer 2019
In collaboration with: La Communauté Urbaine de Strasbourg, currently Eurométropole, and the Ministère de la Culture

Located in the Place de la République in the heart of Strasbourg, the Warburg Spirale pays tribute to Jewish intellectuals, notably the German art historian Aby Warburg. A sort of “bench” in the form of an ascending spiral this “monument to the living” invites passersby to idleness. “You don’t find spirals in urban centers because they waste time. Whoever enters one has to retrace their steps to get out again,” said Bert Theis. Inaugurated in 2002, the Warburg Spirale is the object of a restoration project in 2019, the completion of which coincides with the Bert Theis retrospective at Mudam.


In different locations in Luxembourg and Strasbourg