Museion’s New Mission takes shape

Matt Mullican, 102 Signs for a Museum Fence, 2006, Museion Collezione Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano – Alto Adige. Photo: Luca Guadagnini

Museion has a new, ambitious mission and today it can already reveal a number of concrete actions it is embarking on to achieve its goals. Under the guidance of Director, Bart van der Heide, the museum has, since June 2020, begun striving to become much more than a sum of its exhibitions. A more expanded institutional profile has also started to emerge as the museum aims to operate as an agent for its Collection and its civic governance structure – unique within the Italian institutional landscape – as well as for the region’s active and interdisciplinary cultural eco-system.

This translates into a new format entitled Museion Passage that displays works from the Collection on the ground floor of the museum, independently of the exhibition program. This format will open with the installation 102 Signs for a Museion Fence (2006) by the artist Matt Mullican. Throughout the winter it will generate talks and activities that examine the role of Museion within its present-day cultural landscape.

Museion Passage follows another new format, already launched in September 2020, namely the Museion Bulletin, through which a changing and diverse institutional voice has materialized. Museion Bulletin is a trilingual, editorial on-line platform that engages the expertise and lived experiences of the region’s cultural community.

In March 2021, the exhibition Here to Stay will open. This will look at the identity of the Museion Collection, as well as further strengthening its focal points and renewing the social contract between the museum’s public and private sectors. It will do this through the acquisition of new donations, which will safeguard the sustainability and independency of Museion for the future. Core groups within the Collection have been identified, through which Museion will distinguish itself within the institutional field in Italy.

The solo show which follows, by artist Jimmy Robert, in collaboration with prestigious European partners (from April to August 2021), will also link the Museion Collection specifically to the Art and Language nucleus. The show confirms Museion’s established stance on launching international emerging artists in Bolzano.

Advocating civic engagement and collection research. Two exhibitions: “Here to Stay” and “Mirror Language.”

Museion is a unique example in Italy of a museum governed successfully by a public private partnership. This accomplishment reflects the fact that the museum has civic engagement at its core. In addition, past directors and collectors have built up a unique collection of international art that is unique in Italy. The large group exhibition, Here to Stay, curated by Director, Bart van der Heide (March to August 2021), aims to renew the social contract between the museum and its civic base by strengthening together the identity of Museion’s collection with new donations and long-term loans. As such, the exhibition positions the Museion Collection within the national museum landscape from an art-historical and collecting perspective.

Here to Stay aims to identify and strengthen two areas of the Museion Collection in particular: on the one hand, an international generation of artworks produced between 2000 and 2010 (the Noughties) and, on the other, a generation of concrete and visual poetry from conceptual artists of the 1960s, and ’70s. The exhibition aims to demonstrate a historical bridge between the conceptual ideologies of these two eras. Italian artists such as Berty Skuber (b. Völs am Schlern, 1941) and Franco Vaccari (b. Modena, 1936) are identified as key figures and are granted an in-depth focus within the show.

As with the works of many of the artists featured in Here to Stay, those of Jimmy Robert (b. 1975), are firmly based on the disciplinary intersection between language, poetry and visual art. Under the title Mirror Language, Museion is proud to host his Italian debut exhibition from April to August 2021.Robert successfully expands his art to other formats, such as performance and dance and, hence, opens the way to new politicized perspectives. Robert focuses on the muted voice, communicated through intimate acts of care, abstract gestures and appropriation. The exhibition is organized in close collaboration with Nottingham Contemporary (UK) and CRAC Occitanie in Sète (France) and is the first mid-career survey of the artist’s work in Europe. For his solo show on the fourth floor of Museion, the artist will develop a special site-specific exhibition display.

A museum is more then the sum of its exhibitions: “Museion Bulletin” and “Museion Passage”.

Museion Bulletin and the Museion Passage are two examples of a new voice for Museion. They aim to profile Museion’s civic role by embedding the museum more broadly in the community.

Each issue of the Museion Bulletin follows a specific theme and regularly generates content in the form of articles, extended captions, interviews and much more. Museion Bulletin #1 and Bulletin #2 can be consulted on the Museion website. The third edition will be published in early 2021. In the Bulletin, an array of lived experience and expertise from inside and outside the museum is profiled to diversify an exclusive institutional voice.

This stance continues in Museion Passage, the museum’s ground floor space. Originally conceived as a metaphorical passage between the historic and modern parts of the city, it now seeks to stimulate a conscious dialogue between generations as well as debates within different sectors of the region’s cultural community. It is, therefore, no coincidence that the first work chosen for this new format is 102 Signs for a Museion Fence (2006)by artist Matt Mullican (b. 1951, Santa Monica, CA). The installation, created for the fence of Museion’s building site, is inherently linked to the question and role of a museum for modern and contemporary art in Bolzano. The Museum Passage will use the installation as a starting point to re-evaluate the role of the museum today and will link local partners by involving them initially in the creation of a series of video interviews, including one with the artist himself, to be shown on-line on Thursday 17th December at 7 p.m.