Information from the museum, 15 May 2012
The 15th century alabaster statues on the tomb of John the Fearless are temporarily on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts in Dijon. These 37 finely-carved figures all depict mourners of one kind or another: clerics, courtiers, Carthusian monks… They possess a remarkably high aesthetic quality. Following a tour of several highly respected American museums, Musea Brugge was given the unique opportunity to display ‘The Mourners’ in the Sint-Jans (St. John’s) Hospital. After Bruges, the figures can also be seen in Berlin and Paris, before their return to Dijon.
Using works by modern and contemporary artists such as Alberto Giacometti and Hans-Peter Feldmann, Curator Laurent Busine – the director of the Musée des Arts Contemporains MAC’s Grand-Hornu – establishes a contextual link with the themes of mourning, remembrance and life after death. Winston Spriet, the man behind the Magritte Museum in Brussels, was responsible for the scenography.
Giacometti’s fragile bronze statues are roughly the same size as ‘The Mourners’ and shows us man in all his desolation, painfully alone and endlessly vulnerable. In the museum attic, there are 101 photographs on display by the German artist Hans-Peter Feldmann: men, women and children, aged from just a few months to over 100 years old. In his sensitive video, Nicolas Gruppo shows how a face can instantly be lit up when you think of a loved one. David Claerbout has also contributed two strong pieces, while the Italian Arte Povera artist Giuseppe Penone rounds of the exhibition in impressive style.
The exhibition is organised by the Dallas Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Dijon, under the auspices of FRAME.*
After their stay in the St. John’s Hospital in Bruges, ‘The Mourners’ will be on show in the Bode Museum in Berlin and the Cluny Museum in Paris.
* French Regional and American Museum Exchange.