The Madre museum presents the first of the projects that in 2015 will be specially commissioned from the French artist Daniel Buren (b. 1938,Boulogne-Villancourt) to celebrate the relationship between the museum and its public, between the institution and its community, on the occasion of the first ten years of activity of the Madre museum. One of the greatest contemporary artists, Daniel Buren’s oeuvre possesses a visual value that is always associated with the theoretical, and whose emblematic element could be summed up in his understanding and use of the term in situ: an expression by which the artist indicates the stringent interrelation between his interventions and the exhibition sites (or urban locations) in which they are set. Daniel Buren’s project for the Madre is structured as a number of interrelated chapters: from April to August 2015 the artist will intervene in the Re_PUBBLICA Madre gallery with the major in situ installation entitled Come un gioco da bambini, in collaboration with the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg.
With this first intervention Buren welcomes visitors to the large gallery on the ground floor of the museum, converted into a play area with a veritable game of life-size constructions, or a kindergarten on the scale of the environment, made by assembling some one hundred modules of geometric forms and colors inspired by the solids of the German pedagogue Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel (wooden spheres, cubes and cylinders originally conceived to heighten the cognitive potential of play in relation to language, encouraging children to engage in a participatory and community discovery of reality and their expressive capacities by stimulating faculties such perception, tactile exercises, construction and deconstruction). On entering the installation, visitors find themselves faced with a potential reality, which enables them to rebuild the world around them with a renewed sense of wonder and childlike amazement. The work, the fruit of a collaboration between the artist and the architect Patrick Bouchain, is thus presented as a subtle inner dialogue with architecture, which becomes almost living and performative: visitors are able to walk inside a city made up of hypnotic circles (on which appear the
8.7 cm stripes which are the recurrent and distinctive hallmark of Buren’s works), colored arches, cylindrical towers, square bases and triangular pediments arranged symmetrically as if they were part of the museum architecture, finally endowing it with its hypothetical and alternative reconstructive potential. What the observer sees is in fact a composite landscape, the reproduction of a true miniature city that relates the real city (which is as if embodied into its archetypal forms within the museum) with an imaginative city that arises before our eyes: an almost metaphysical city that is gradually articulated as a stroll through color leading from the initial pure white to the following chromatic kaleidoscope, and which one can traverse with the eye following a rhythmical and vertiginous perspective. Inscribing works in the context in which they are exhibited, relating to the social mission that motivates the museum institution, counterpointing a modernity that does not seek a contrast with the urban sphere or the historical dimension but enhances its matrix: this is the significance of the expression in situ from which this work arises, like all the artist’s works.