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New Lucerne museum lets art speak for itself

Lucerne's new art museum provides a neutral setting to better display the art itself


Lucerne's new Museum of Art has opened to the public. The architect said his intention was to give absolute priority to the works of art, so the exhibition rooms are completely neutral, with grey floors, white walls and a translucent ceiling.

The exhibition space of the new Museum of Art Lucerne covers 2,100 square metres and is situated in the city's Culture and Convention Centre. Located just on the top floor, the translucent ceiling enables visitors to view almost all the exhibits by natural light.

The architect, Jean Nouvel, speaks of a "nudity of space" in his design of the gallery. He has purposely kept architectural elements to a minimum - the galleries consist only of grey concrete floors, white plaster walls and a translucent ceiling, creating a completely neutral setting for the art.

The opening exhibition "Mixing Memory and Desire - Wunsch und Erinnerung" puts the work of about 25 international contemporary artists on show alongside pieces from the historical permanent art collection of the Museum of Art Lucerne.

More than half of the artists are showing new works and installations developed especially for the rooms of the new museum.

The title of the exhibition is taken from TS Eliot's poem "The Wasteland", written in 1922. It was a hybrid composition of images and idioms that interpreted past, present and future.

The museum is divided into two parts, linked by bridges encased in glass. These provide spectacular views into the interior of the building itself, as well as lovely vistas of the lake and city.

by Tom O'Brien


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