On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, in 2020, the congress and cultural center of the Principality of Monaco has broadcast a video series focused on the great summer exhibitions that have marked its history. A serie of 20 episodes, to be discovered every week on the social networks and website of the Grimaldi Forum Monaco. It will make you live or relive 20 years of demanding and varied programme, for all audiences, that contributes to the cultural richness of Monaco and its international influence.
As an introduction to this series, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco invites you to watch an interview of Catherine Alestchenkoff, Cultural events’Director of the Grimaldi Forum Monaco:
On July 20th 2000, the Grimaldi Forum, new cultural and congress center of the Principality of Monaco, inaugurates, on the occasion of its opening to the public, an international exhibition dedicated to inflatables : « Air-Air ». This first-hand encounter with the public is the starting point of the cultural policy of the Grimaldi Forum Monaco : « surprising without shocking », according to the words pronounced by Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
To watch the video (2mn 20s.), click on the player hereunder
High point of the cultural exchanges set up by Monaco and China further to the trip of H.S.H Prince Hereditary Albert in this country in 1999, « China, the First Emperor’s Century » is the first museum exhibition of the Grimaldi Forum. It was conceived by the scenographer Massimo Quendolo. The selection of nearly 120 pieces, some of them displayed for the very first time such as the loan of more than 20 life-size terra-cotta warriors from the tomb of the first emperor, bears witness to the sumptuous reign of Qin Shihuangdi, who made China compete with the Roman Empire in terms of size, population and influence. The exhibition catalogue, led by Jean-Paul Desroches, National Museum of Asian Arts - Guimet’ s Chief curator and curator of the exhibition, is the starting point of an editorial line dedicated to the great summer exhibitions of the Grimaldi Forum Monaco.
To watch the video (2mn 20s.), click on the player hereunder
“Days of circus” is an exhibition dedicated to the epic of the most famous big tops, to the buckles of these big vessels of entertainment, to the daily exploits of the persons born in the profession and to the trail of dream and light left by the convoy of the stars of the track, when spotlights went out. “Days of Circus” proposes through posters, tanks of parades, French, German and American circuses, caravans, costumes of the most famous artists, the accessories, a twelve meter model livened up by hundred characters, built by Georges Berger from 1917 till 1937, to rediscover and often to discover this grand and moving universe of the circus, since its creation in the 18th century in England, by Philip Astley, until our days. Journey where the child become adult will find his memories and will have access back to front of the set, caravans, wings, in this incredible flight mechanics that is the circus. Through also works of art of Picasso, Toulouse Lautrec, Seurat, Cocteau, Léger, Pregreen, Rouault, Zadkine, Chagall, Manet, Calder and others else, until modest sisters Vesque who transmitted us their fascination for this universe. Universe becomes an art, a major subject just like the landscape, like the portrait and like the still life. Through the photos of Izis, Bovis, Poldge, Tuefferd finally, are fixed these moments of exception which our memory sometimes forgot.
To watch the video (3mn 10s.), click on the player hereunder
The exhibition aims to spotlight the chronological development of Andy Warhol's imaginative process, with a special focus on the monumental aspect of his artistic output and his largest works. Celant's aim is to show an ensemble of spectacular pictures through which Warhol turned huge surfaces and spaces into a material on which he could project or spread out the world of popular icons he had treated and highlighted individually during the 60s. In his creative universe of a few years later, these icons have turned into huge wallpapers, totally superficial, polished entities devoid of any spiritual or dramatic content, now purely decorative. The exhibition therefore focuses on a totally new synthesis of Warhol's approach, first looking at traditional oil painting techniques, then at the mechanised silkscreen process that produced the consumer images of Coca-Cola and Campbell's soup as well as the faces of Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy, before continuing through the proliferation of industrial flowers and the car crashes to the abstract qualities of images such as Eggs and Diamond Shoes, the ubiquitous presence of Dollar Signs and the new cultural myths of Ladies and Gentlemen and Kings and Queens. All this was expressed with spectacular, worldly elation in the most varied languages – Interview magazine, cinema, advertising, television (Andy Warhol's TV) –, a rich multiplicity that centred on Warhol, the originator of The Factory myth.
To watch the video (3mn 54s.), click on the player hereunder
The exhibition "Imperial Saint Petersburg, from Peter the Great to Catherine II" evokes the first century of the city's existence, from the decision of Peter the Great to build a port on the banks of the Neva in 1703, until on the death of Catherine II in 1796. More than 600 works are brought together - religious art, paintings, tapestries, coaches, furniture, ceremonial clothes, goldsmith's work, crockery - mainly from the collections of the Hermitage Museum and the Academy of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg. Spectacularly-sized 18th-century scale models reproducing the Smolny Monastery by Rastrelli and St. Isaac's Church by Italian architect Rinaldi are also on display. A real alchemy operates between the curator, Brigitte de Montclos, chief heritage curator, specialist in Russia, and François Payet, scenographer, who recreates a magical and grandiose universe. The staging makes it possible to realize the spectacular dimension of the city of Saint Petersburg, which appeared out of nowhere according to the will of the tsar, and to recreate the atmosphere and the splendor of court life under the reign of Catherine II, great collector and enlightened art lover.
To watch the video (3mn 47s.), click on the player hereunder
For the first time, an exhibition retraces, through masterpieces, 6,000 years of Art History in Africa, from Antiquity to the present day, from Traditional Arts to Contemporary Art. It also discusses the relationship of this art with the great masters of the twentieth century such as Picasso, Derain, Léger ...This artistic and historical fresco showcases the talent and creativity of artists from this continent, and in particular from Nigeria, Benin, Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Sudan. A single skill would not have been enough to cover such a broad topic. This is why the choice of the Grimaldi Forum Monaco fell on two commissioners who are benchmarks on the world level when it comes to African art:
For the “Traditional Arts” part, Ezio Bassani in collaboration with Artificio Skira who produced in 2004, the great Turin exhibition entitled “Africa, masterpieces of a continent” that the international press considered as one of the most extensive and in-depth globally.
For the “Contemporary Art” part, André Magnin, deputy curator of the reference exhibition of the Center Pompidou and the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris “Magiciens de la Terre” (1987-1989) and - artistic director and curator - of the Contemporary African Art Collection, better known as the Pigozzi Collection, the richest artistic endowment in the world entirely dedicated to artists of all generations who live and work in Black Africa.
The knowledge of these two curators therefore combined to assert, within the framework of the Grimaldi Forum Monaco, the creative omnipotence of Art in black Africa, in all its forms: drawing, painting, sculpture, installations, photography.
To watch the video (3mn 12s.), Click on the player below
From Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art, from Minimalism to Conceptual Art and Post-Modernism, the exhibition pays homage to New York’s artistic creativity from 1945 to the 2000s, examining the major artistic movements through the works of the most representative artists. This exhibition has been the first in Europe to explore this topic, and brought together 500 works from 200 artists on more than 4000m2. Iconic works of art from painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, video, cinema, performances and installations illustrate the dynamism of the American artistic landscape. Thanks to its spectacular visual layout, the scenography of this exhibition manages to bring together large-format paintings, monumental sculptures…This ambitious project has benefited from the scientific backup of experts in the various fields. Only the duo of experts Lisa Dennison and Germano Celant (who recently passed away) is capable of contributing to a subject of this magnitude.
To watch the video (4mn 07.), click on the player hereunder
In the summer of 2007, excitement reached a new peak. For the first time in Monaco, an exhibit of international dimensions paid tribute to Princess Grace. In close collaboration with the Prince's Palace, which unveiled items never seen before –dresses, jewellery, accessories, files–, this exhibit retraced every aspect of Grace Kelly's life, from Hollywood actress to Princess of Monaco, constantly involved in the international outreach of a Principality that adopted and loved her from her first appearance on the Rock in 1956. With this exhibition, the Grimaldi Forum reached its all-time attendance record of more than 135,000 visitors for any exhibition held there. The narrative, written with Frédéric Mitterrand's talent and modesty, as well as the remarkable scenography by Nathalie Crinière, give meaning to a moving journey of personal items dotted with films and photographs covering the life of the princely family, the education of children and trips, as no illustrated story could have presented it. In 2008, at the request of HSH Prince Albert II, the “Grace Kelly” travelling exhibit visited 14 cities around the world where, at each step, it experienced unparalleled success, since the iconic image of the Princess remains fervent and intact.
To watch the video (5mn39), click on the player hereunder
In the Summer of 2008, the Grimaldi Forum commissioned Christiane Ziegler, honorary general curator of the Egyptian antiquities department of the Louvre Museum, to curate the “Queens of Egypt, from Hetepheres to Cleopatra” exhibit, and François Payet, scenographer. Who are these queens? Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Hatshepsut are not only myths but actually exercised, along with other queens less known among the general public, their role as sovereigns of ancient Egypt, embodying the religious and political power of the kingdom. Their multiple status, defined by the men to whom they were mothers, wives or daughters, is represented through over 250 works of great variety (bas-reliefs, statues, jewellery, etc.) from collections around the world: the Cairo Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the British Museum in London, the Ägyptisches Museum in Berlin, etc., not to mention the generous loans from the Louvre Museum. In 2015, this Monegasque edition gave rise to the exhibit “Cleopatra and the queens of Egypt”, coproduced with the Japanese group NHK and presented in the National Museum of Tokyo and then the Museum of Modern Art of Osaka.
To watch the video (4mn06), click on the player hereunder
It is precisely the city of Moscow, often neglected in favour of Saint Petersburg, capital of the North, that Brigitte de Montclos, exhibit curator, allows visitors to discover or rediscover. From the coronation in the Dormition cathedral to the intimate moments of the last Romanovs, Nicolas II and Alexandra Feodorovna, immortalised through the emerging techniques of photography and cinematography, visitors are invited to explore life in the imperial court.
“Moscow: Splendour of the Romanovs” brings together over 500 exceptional pieces, in terms of both their rarity and artistic value: an iconostasis made up of four rows of icons illustrating the history of the Old and New Testaments, richly embroidered chasubles, crowns and religious textiles, as well as furniture and tableware, including a Guriev ceremonial porcelain service signed by the Imperial manufacturer. A selection dedicated to goldsmithing presents the famous eggs by jeweller Karl Fabergé as well as numerous jewels made by Boucheron, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Chaumet, whose know-how was highly prized by the Russian aristocracy.
Scenographer François Payet, author of several notable set designs in the Grimaldi Forum (“Imperial Saint Petersburg” in 2004 and “Queens of Egypt” in 2008), succeeded once again in revealing the beauty and soul of the objects presented, by recreating an authentic Russian atmosphere. At every turn,
The route evokes the ceremonies of orthodox liturgy, town planning, architecture, the splendours of court life and the magnificence of the interiors of the palace where the imperial family lived.
To watch the video (3mn39), click on the player hereunder
Inaugurated the 13 july 2010, by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, and the brother of Prince Hitachi of Japan, the exhibition ‘’KYOTO-TOKYO, from samurai to manga’’ looked into the cultural history of Japan, with the aim of unveiling the image of a country that has managed to combine history, tradition, ancient culture and modern culture into everyday life. This mixture of vivid ancestral customs and a society dominated by a trailblazing spirit baffles and fascinates the Western World. For the curators of the “Kyoto-Tokyo, from samurai to manga” exhibit, Jean-Paul Desroches and his Japanese counterpart, Hiromu Ozawa, the idea was to provide a new journey through Japanese culture, relying on avant-garde museography to provide the right balance for this country, which has become one of the major players of modernity. This historical fresco begins in the 8th century on the historic Tokaido road, linking the ancient capital, Kyoto, to the new Japanese capital, Tokyo. The journey is illustrated through nearly six hundred pieces, including works classified as “cultural assets” from the collections of the Tokyo and Kyoto National Museums, the Seikado Bunko Art Museum of Tokyo, the Edo-Tokyo Museum, as well as additional loans from Western institutions, such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Royal Art and History Museums of Brussels, the Stibbert Museum in Florence, the Oriental Art Museums of Venice and Turin, the Asian Art Museums of Berlin and San Francisco and the Guimet Museum in Paris. The presentation of the exhibit, intended to be “cross-generational”, simultaneously evokes the defenders of traditional culture, symbolised by the omnipotence of samurai warriors, and modern-day consumers flourishing in the expression of manga and anime fils “made in Japan”.
To watch the video (3mn 45), click on the player hereunder
Reflecting the marriage of HSH Prince Albert II to Ms Charlène Wittstock, the summer 2011 exhibit invited the public on a veritable journey through time, from the 17th to the 20th century, at the heart of twenty European Courts, to encounter great imperial, royal and princely figures. The general concept of the exhibit, developed jointly by Catherine Arminjon, curator general of heritage, Patricia Bouchenot-Déchin, historian and associate researcher of the research centre of Versailles Castle, and Wilfried Zeisler, art historian in charge of Russia, is based on the choice of the historical figures that, through their personalities or actions, have marked these Courts over the centuries. The scenographic journey follows European geography, from the 17th to the 20th century, starting from Portugal and Spain, towards France and Great Britain, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands, then following the route towards Northern Europe, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, then towards the East, with Russia, Poland and Germany, ending its grand tour with Austria, Italy and, of course, Monaco. Over seven hundred works –portraits, sculptures, works of art, furniture, porcelain, silverware, clothing, jewellery– plunge visitors towards the heart of the lives of these personalities or couples who marked the history of their dynasties and their countries. Their actions in the fields of art, history and science are also brought to light, painting the portrait of an era for each Court. The choice of works, which has been a challenge for curators, ranges from the prestigious to the surprising, from the official to the more intimate, thus “telling” a story. Lenders –castles, palaces, museums and foundations– played this game of bias with remarkable generosity, reconnecting ties to the future through the past.
To watch the video (2mn43), click on the player hereunder
The exhibit “Extra Large, Monumental works from the collection of the Pompidou Centre in Monaco” offers a journey through the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art from an entirely new perspective: encouraging an expanded reading of 20th-century art, exploring largeness in its multiple dimensions to grasp its meaning and implications, for both the creator and the spectator. Bringing together about fifty works chosen from its largest items, the spectacular and sometimes “vertiginous” journey, punctuated by the great names of 20th- and 21st-century art, sheds light on the concept of monumentality. The exhibit presents very large paintings by Joan Miró, Jean Dubuffet, Matta, Pierre Soulages, Frank Stella, Sam Francis and Yan Pei-Ming, as well as sculptures, installations and environments by Joseph Beuys, Christian Boltanski, Daniel Buren, Sol LeWitt, Anish Kapoor and Bill Viola: masterpieces of modern and contemporary designs brought together in an exhibit deliberately “outside the norm”. This event has been made possible by the close cooperation between the Pompidou Centre, under the general curatorship of Alfred Pacquement and Ariane Coulondre, and the Grimaldi Forum Monaco, which used the occasion to highlight its setting: its 4000-sq.-m. Ravel space. A monumental approach to art in a country classified as “the second smallest State in the world”!
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In the summer of 2013, the Grimaldi Forum created this event by producing the “Monaco celebrates Picasso” exhibit, a tribute to the world-renowned artist on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his death. To offer the public a unique look at Picasso's artistic production, the journey ends around two themed ensembles that bring together over 150 works:
“Picasso Côte d'Azur, 1920-1946”
This first part, devoted to the artist's privileged ties with the French Riviera, includes works created during summers spent in Antibes, Juan-les-Pins and the surrounding area. Picasso stayed there from the 1920s, throughout the 1930s and then again in 1946, when, after the war, he returned to the South of France seeking sources of inspiration, the Mediterranean light, the sea and the coastline.
“Picasso in the Nahmad Collection”
This second section saw an opportunity to shed light on an exceptional collection of major works from a private collection, unique in the world in terms of both size and quantity, created by Ezra and David Nahmad over the last fifty years. 110 masterpieces by Picasso, brought together for the first time and presented chronologically, give visitors the opportunity to discover the uniqueness of this collection.
The exhibit was curated and jointly designed by Jean-Louis Andral, Director of the Picasso Museum in Antibes, Marilyn McCully, renowned Picasso specialist, and Michael Raeburn, an author who collaborated with her on numerous works devoted to Pablo Picasso.
To watch the video (2mn59), click on the player hereunder
To discover the interview bonus of Jean-Louis Andral, co-curator of the exhibition and Helly Nahmad, the Representative of Nahmad Collection, by Catherine Alestchenkoff, the cultural events Director of Grimaldi Forum, click here.
In 2014, thanks to an unprecedented collaboration with the Pinault Foundation and under the curatorship of Martin Bethenod, Director of the Palazzo Grassi-Pinta della Dogana, the Grimaldi Forum once again put contemporary art in the spotlight, offering the opportunity to discover one of the largest private contemporary art collections in the world: François Pinault's.
To watch the video (3mn33), click on the player hereunder
The exhibit “From Chagall to Malevich, the revolution of the avant-garde” is part of the 2015 celebration of the Year of Russia in the Principality of Monaco. Through a plethora of Russian artists –Larionov, Gontcharova, Bourliouk, Kandinsky, Rozanova, Tatline, Rodchenko, just to name a few–, this exhibit covers an aesthetic trend that took place between 1905 and 1930: the Russian avant-garde. Brought together by Jean-Louis Prat, curator of the exhibit, over 150 works (paintings, drawings, reliefs) illustrate the proliferation of these movements: cubo-futurism, rayonism, suprematism, constructivism, etc., testifying to the fervour and originality of the Russian artistic revolution. True masterpieces, some rarely shown and other better known, such as Malevich's Black Square or Chagall's Jewish Art Theatre, have been loaned by the great national Russian institutions: the Russian State Museum in Saint Petersburg, the Tretiakov National Gallery, and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, as well as provincial museums. This exhibition represented a new challenge for the Grimaldi Forum, the scenographic design being entirely created by its own Study and Design bureau and directed by William Chatelain. The subject is seductive –because of its relevance and the excellent choice of works– and the Mapfre Foundation in Madrid has commissioned the GFM to organise a new edition adapted to the 1300 sq. m. of their gallery for 2019.
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The event for the summer of 2016 was the exhibit devoted to Francis Bacon –who was already considered the greatest English painter of the 20th century during this lifetime–, an event that resulted from the meeting of two men: Majid Boustany, founder of the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation, inaugurated in Monaco in 2014 and whose mission is to promote a better understanding of Francis Bacon's work, life and working methods, and Martin Harrison, author of the artist's catalogue raisonné and curator of the exhibit. A selection of over 60 exceptional works, created between 1929 and 1991, was brought together for the occasion, sourced from internationally renowned institutions as well as private collections identified by the curator. Francis Bacon, born in 1909 in Dublin to English parents, immersed himself in French culture from his first period in Paris in the late 1920s, where discovering Picasso's paintings gave rise to his vocation as painter. Once settled in Monaco in 1946, he painted his first “pope”, inspired by Velázquez, and started to concentrate his work on the human form. Having lived in Paris intermittently between 1975 and 1987, he expressed deep admiration for France and French culture, stating, in particular: “Out of all the countries I know, France is definitely my favourite”. Although his close relationship to France has never been called into question, this theme had so far never been the subject of a major retrospective. Alongside major works by Bacon and paintings less known by the public, the influences of great masters, both French or connected to France –such as Soutine, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Léger or Picasso– provide a new perspective into the artist's universe. The exhibit, refocused on the relationships between the artist and Spain, is scheduled to travel to the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao, from 30 September 2016 to 08 January 2017.
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The exhibit “The Forbidden City in Monaco. Court life and emperors and empresses of China” has been entrusted to two curators: Jean-Paul Desroches, honorary curator general –in charge of the Chinese department of the Guimet Museum in Paris– and Wang Yuegong, director of the imperial life department of the Forbidden City. Sourced mainly from the former palace of the Chinese sovereigns, the selection of works, made up of nearly 200 exceptional pieces, was completed by loans from major European and American collections (the Cernuschi Museum, the Louvre Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Royal Art and History Museums of Brussels and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington). Conceived as a visit to the Palace of the Forbidden City –the cradle of imperial power for nearly three centuries–, the journey takes visitors through emblematic places (the Temple of Heaven, the throne room, the Buddhist temple, the Ancestral Temple and the tea pavilion, including its imperial gardens), allowing them to plunge into the heart of the history of a multi-millenary civilisation. The scenography of the exhibit chose to approach this heritage subject in a modern and educational way thanks, in particular, to the presence of two models of the monumental temples made in sandalwood (China Red Sandalwood Museum, Beijing), never-before-seen audiovisual archives and an immersive visit to the heart of the Palace of the Forbidden City.
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Ten years after the success of the “Queens of Egypt” exhibit (2008), the Grimaldi Forum sought to present, under the aegis of the same curator, Christiane Ziegler, a renowned specialist, another major exhibit devoted to this civilisation: “The Gold of the Pharaohs, 2,500 years of goldsmithing in ancient Egypt”. Thanks to the mutual relationship of trust with Egypt and, more in particular, the Cairo Museum, exceptional pieces could be brought together. “The Gold of the Pharaohs” seeks to retrace 2,500 years of the history of Egyptian goldsmithing, evoking the techniques and know-how of craftsmen-jewellers. This angle, rarely expressed in the past, also allows for addressing the issue of how these treasures, highly coveted by the Egyptian people themselves, were plundered and the reason there are so few untouched tombs today. The scenography, created by William Chatelain, is simple and elegant to magnify the works as best as possible: dark blue, echoing lapis-lazuli, and ochre, reminiscent of the deserts and burial sites, to bring out the brilliance of the gold. Emotions are given much emphasis to recreate, through photographs, animations and an animated film, the exaltation experienced by great archaeologists during their discoveries at the sites.
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As part of the 30th anniversary of Salvador Dalí's death, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco paid tribute to one of the most famous and popular artists of the 20th century. An emblematic figure of surrealism, hyperrealism and pop art, but also of classical artists celebrating great masters such as Vermeer, Velázquez, Raphael and even Leonardo da Vinci, Dalí never stopped questioning the modern world, up to the most unexpected scientific discoveries, in the light of tradition. The exhibit, made possible through the support of the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation and its renowned specialist, Montse Aguer, brings together a selection of paintings, drawings and photographs covering the period between 1910 and 1983, enabling visitors to discover the different stages of the artist's creation. Around the works on loan from the collection of the Dalí Theatre-Museum of Figueres, remarkable loans were obtained from the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid and the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. This new approach and this retrospective vision of Dalí's work revealed to the public how the artist became part of the history of painting in the 20th century.