Subtle distinctions and connections

The Musée Barbier-Mueller & Jacques Kaufmann, ceramic artist

30 March 2022 02 October 2022

An exhibition

This project is built around comparisons between select pieces from the Barbier-Mueller collections and works that Jacques Kaufmann has produced in his studio and around the world, over a long stretch of time, the aim being to identify similarities – as well as differences – between them.

The exhibition juxtaposes works of different origins, time periods and materials, suggesting resonances but also inviting viewers to create their own connections. Ultimately, it is the viewer who “makes the picture”.

A Punuk figure and Cycladic statuettes rub shoulders with “Nombril”, 2021, by Jacques Kaufmann. Musée Barbier-Mueller, photo Luis Lourenço.

An encounter

A sanctuary of objects of varying origins, each one more remarkable than the last, the Musée Barbier-Mueller houses a collection that is recognized internationally as a leading centre for the so-called “primitive” – or “distant”– arts, depending on the terminology in use at different times.

Ceramics, which comes under the umbrella of contemporary art and its contextual practices, also looks for encounters with whatever produces continuities and disjunctions within human expression, across time and space. In the field of the arts, the past does not really pass. Forms are reactivated, re-emerge, reappropriate one other, come together again.

The disparities, connections, conjunctions, analogies, intervals between works allow us to perceive those things that might contribute to bringing about our long-term collective effort as humans to meet our fundamental spiritual needs. The endurance and movement of forms contradict the notion of progress in art.

Origine/L’ombre d’un doute by Jacques Kaufmann rubs shoulder with a Neolithic statue from Anatolia in the Barbier-Mueller collection. Musée Barbier-Mueller, photo Luis Lourenço.

This exhibition features in the program of the 50th Congress of the International Academy of Ceramics (IAC), organized by swissceramics, which will be held at the Geneva International Congress Centre from 12th to 16th September 2022 on the theme “Melting Pot. From the Alchemical Crucible to the Cultural Crucible”. This event is accompanied by 35 major exhibitions organized by partner museums and galleries in Romandie.

Exhibition catalogue>