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Paintings of the 1980s and 1990s

Collection presentation

Mudam Luxembourg is unveiling an important selection of paintings from its collection, made during the 1980s and 1990s. This presentation, of which the majority was acquired by FOCUNA (Fonds Culturel National) in the mid-1990s, provides the public with a new perspective on the constitution and development of the Mudam Collection.

Bringing together the works of a dozen major artists from different generations in the East Gallery on the ground floor (more than 400 m2), the exhibition highlights a period which is strongly represented in the museum’s collection. Some paintings aquired later are also included in the presentation, linking to a more recent period.

The artists on view share an open exploration of the pictorial practice itself at a time when painting was largely contested after years of conceptual art. While the traditional issue of storytelling was not central to their concerns, they instead conducted research into the possibilities offered by the medium, with regard to a history of painting. Formal experimentation is an important part of this, while some artists focus on a language of appropriation of different ways of painting – gestural abstraction or formalism – at the dawn of the era of digital reproduction.

Thus, this panorama – not claiming to be exhaustive – will nevertheless offer the visitor the opportunity to discover a variety of artistic positions, all of which question painting in terms of its material components: as seen in the research by German artist Gunther Förg (*1952), the relationship to the real as explored by Spanish artist Juan Uslé (*1954) and the appropriation of formal vocabularies established by American artist Jonathan Lasker (*1948).

By presenting major paintings that constitute the beginnings of the Mudam Collection, this hanging highlights the approach to collecting prevalent at that time. The artists whose work was acquired in the mid-1990s were recognized figures at the time. They are predominantly male, European and American, except for Luxembourgish artist Tina Gillen (*1972), whose conceptual approach to painting contrasts with her European colleagues, including Albert Oehlen (*1954) and Luxembourg’s Michel Majerus (*1967–2002), who expressively explore the language of gesture as quotation. Subsequent acquisitions reflected a regard for the works of artists from other parts of the world.