Brussels europe 2007
 
Realizations of the Museum of Europe Print E-mail




1. The prefiguration exhibitions


While the symposiums served as opportunities to debate the purpose of the Museum of Europe, the prefiguration exhibitions offered an opportunity to connect the partners to the process of creating the Museum, to specify the aesthetic, scientific and museographic approaches and to sound out public expectations.
The prefiguration exhibitions enabled the Museum of Europe to create a style of writing, a way of producing innovative and original exhibitions, combining works by contemporary artists, the use of modern museum techniques – audiovisual, computer, etc. – and traditional formats – display cabinets, authentic objects, original documents, and genuine interactivity with visitors, who are placed at the heart of the spaces created through this process.


First exhibition, 2001 : The Belle Europe - The Age of the Universal Exhibitions, 1851-1913


The Belle Europe exhibition was the cultural event of the Belgian presidency of the European Union in 2001. The exhibition space was designed as a succession of themed pavilions – true fragments of an imaginary universal exhibition – intended to embody the spirit of the Belle Époque centering on three main themes : the religion of progress (a true secular religion) ; the messianic fervour for the universal (the European model imposed on the rest of the world) ; and beauty in action (tension in art between the heritage of the Ancients and the breakthrough of the Moderns). Without evading the dark side of Europe in the 19th century – colonialism, poor living conditions of the working classes, mass emigration, etc. – the exhibition showed everything we owe to that selfsame Europe : hundreds of technical innovations, discoveries on which modern science rests, the aesthetic sources of our century, the transport revolution, the first social laws, fundamental liberties, democracy, and attempts to move beyond state conflicts. For, between 1871 and 1914, Europe experienced the longest period of peace in its history. It was not until 1989 that this record was beaten.

Held at the Royal Museums of Art and History, the exhibition attracted some 60,000 visitors.


Second prefiguration exhibition, 2006 : "God(s), A User’s Guide." - The Contemporary Religious Experience.


While The Belle Europe looked at the multiple facets of cultural unity in Europe, the second prefiguration exhibition, God(s), A User’s Guide. The Contemporary Religious Experience, examined the religious diversity of European towns today.
The gaze cast over the phenomenon of religion is that of Westerners ‘ who have come out of religion ’, and who are not concerned with organising religions or beliefs into hierarchies, nor interested in their theological content, but instead who are examining the human experience of religion.
Through religious or everyday art objects, photos, films, personal accounts and art installations, the exhibition endeavoured to show what is universal about the religious experience in its questioning and anxieties, and particularly in its practices. The exhibition space was structured around various doors which showed the points of convergence between the religions (divinities, the beyond, passages, bodies, intercessors, etc) and, within these spaces, the abundance of diversity of expression.

The exhibition was presented in Brussels, at the Tour et Taxis building, between October 2006 and May 2007, where it drew over 80,000 visitors, and in Madrid, at the Centro Cultural de la Villa, from September 2007 to January 2008, where it drew over 45,000 visitors.
The exhibition is set to travel to Québec (2010), Ottawa (2011), Paris and Barcelona, Other cities are still in negociations.


2. "It's our History!" - The permanent exhibition of the Museum


On 27 October 2007, 10 years after the project was launched, the exhibition launching the Museum of Europe – It’s our History ! 50 Years of European Adventure – was inaugurated at Tour & Taxis, as part of the celebrations marking 50 years since the Treaties of Rome were signed.

The exhibition combines three areas : a historical area, whose linking thread is the history of European integration after the Second World War – unity by design ; an artistic area – works by contemporary artists placed throughout the exhibition which either question history, sum up the subject or point to the future ; and an area called ‘ small h ’ – the ‘ big ’ history is refracted in individual destinies, and the history of Europe can be read in the daily life of Europeans.
The aim of this is to make the history of European construction perceptible and intelligible to visitors, using all the opportunities provided by the language of museography to offer them a clear view (but without imposing our viewpoint on them), and to offer them a museum experience that no other experience – in terms of seeing, hearing and reading – is able to match or deliver.

This exhibition has enjoyed huge success, both with the media and the public at large (150,000 visitors). The guiding lines are as follows :

•    An exhibition for the general public, which articulates the ‘ big ’ and ‘ small ’ history of the citizens of Europe;
•    an exhibition which aims to bring the citizens of Brussels, Belgium and Europe closer to the European project ;
•    an exhibition that has to consolidate the reputation of the Museum of Europe;
•    a temporary exhibition, but one that closely prefigures the permanent space of the Museum.

 


3. Travelling exhibitions


God(s), a user’s guide.

The exhibition was presented in Brussels, at the Tour et Taxis building, between October 2006 and May 2007, where it drew over 80,000 visitors, and in Madrid, at the Centro Cultural de la Villa, from September 2007 to January 2008, where it drew over 45,000 visitors.
The exhibition is set to travel to Québec (2010), Ottawa (2011), Paris and Barcelona, Other cities are still in negociations.


It’s our History ! in Wroclaw - To Nasza Historia


The artistic and public success of the exhibition is giving rise to numerous requests in Europe and around the world for all or part of it to be circulated.
The exhibition has been shown in Wroclaw, Poland from May 1st to August 5th 2009 as part of the 20th anniversary of free elections in Poland. The exhibition was enriched with a polish sensibility and offered the polish and international visitor a rich and emotional exhibition in the prestigious Centenary Hall building, part of the Unesco's World Heritage list. This experience permitted to validate the scientific approach and confirmed the real european dimension of the project. The exhibition was a huge success and attracted 100.000 visitors in just three months.