Andrea Büttner

Piano Destructions, 2015, Walker Art, Center, Minneapolis

6th November 2016- 19th February 2017

Guest curator: Céline Kopp

The Mrac is delighted to present the first solo exhibition in France of German artist Andrea Büttner. This exhibition features a large-scale video and sound installation, Piano Destructions, as well as Alle Bilder, a newly commissioned series of work conceived especially for the museum’s graphic arts cabinet. At Mrac, Andrea Büttner offers a retrospective journey, comprised of reflection, doubt, and convergence, inviting visitors to the core of what has been motivating her practice and her thoughts on art.

In Andrea Büttner’s work, emotions such as embarrassment or confusion are transformed into positive statements. She freely embraces traditional techniques requiring skills and physical commitment as well as a conceptual approach, using mediums as varied as woodcutting, glass painting, sculpture, performance, and video. Within this diversity of means, where the invisibility and simplicity of a gesture may flank the beauty of an engraving, modesty always emerges from the work and highlights the issue of ambivalent aesthetic judgment. An abiding interest in human fragility combined with the imperfection of the figure of the artist is a common thread within Andrea Büttner’s practice. Her radical work engages with social, political, and aesthetic subjects intertwined with the history of art and taste, often exploring religion, poverty, community, and sense of shame, considered by her as a creative force and an ethical way of viewing the world.

In Andrea Büttner’s work, emotions such as embarrassment or confusion are transformed into positive statements. She freely embraces traditional techniques requiring skills and physical commitment as well as a conceptual approach, using mediums as varied as woodcutting, glass painting, sculpture, performance, and video. Within this diversity of means, where the invisibility and simplicity of a gesture may flank the beauty of an engraving, modesty always emerges from the work and highlights the issue of ambivalent aesthetic judgment. An abiding interest in human fragility combined with the imperfection of the figure of the artist is a common thread within Andrea Büttner’s practice. Her radical work engages with social, political, and aesthetic subjects intertwined with the history of art and taste, often exploring religion, poverty, community, and sense of shame, considered by her as a creative force and an ethical way of viewing the world.

With Alle Bilder (meaning “all the images”), Andrea Büttner offers a Xerox retrospective of her work. Occupying the museum’s entire graphic arts gallery, Alle Bilder pulls together the invisible threads that connect her intellectual approach. The choice of this space underlines the importance of printmaking in her practice, however by showing posters made in Xerox , she disrupts the space’s traditional purpose of displaying the most fragile and precious work in dim light. Playing with notions of value in art, Andrea Büttner invites visitors to enter a vision of culture that is full of contrasts, where religious mendicant orders and the figure of St. Francis of Assisi are present alongside those of Simone Weil and Chris Kraus. Since the beginning of her practice, Andrea Büttner has shown interest in what could be considered outmoded, embarrassing, or shameful. She connects this last feeling to the artists’ experience of displaying their work and the dependence to the good will of the viewers. Humility is regarded as a mode of viewing and showing, giving closer access to universality. With Alle Bilder, Andrea Büttner presents families of motifs and dichotomies that constitute the conceptual or perceptible anchors framing her reflection on art. She raises the question of contemporaneity, as well as that of a culture’s obsession for authenticity, crystalized by the development of the market for handcrafted objects that has became a moral safe haven. Likewise, both the issue of escapism within art discourse and the healing capacity of art are implicit in many of the images and references comprising Alle Bilder. As part of this new production, Andrea Büttner also reveals the fruit of her research, conducted over several years in the Warburg Institute collections in London, on the iconography of begging; a corpus that is surprisingly composed in large part of images from auction catalogues. Again, the figure of the beggar’s outstretched hands is also that of the artist, having recourse on the generosity of the visitors. Following this exhibition, the Mrac will publish an artist’s book presenting Andrea Büttner’s research and providing a clear picture of the importance of poverty within her work.

Also included in the exhibition is Piano Destructions, a multiscreen video installation initiated in 2014, gathering an exhaustive documentation of the history of artists, mainly male, who, since the 1960s and the Fluxus movement, have destroyed pianos as part of their practice. This act of destroying a symbol of bourgeois culture is recurrent and therefore has become a motif in contemporary art history. With four screens next to each other in this installation, the artist brings together documented performances of pianos being in turn burnt, knocked over, and hit with a hammer by major figures such as George Maciunas, Nam June Paik, and Ben Vautier. The impression that emanates from viewing such actions simultaneously, and the resulting cacophony, is violent and deeply masculine, especially as the piano is historically connected with conventions governing women’s education. In 2014, Andrea Büttner invited nine female pianists to play nine pianos in unison at the Banff Center’s Walter Phillips Gallery (Canada). This filmed performance, depicted on the fifth screen in the installation, creates a simple comparison to which the artist adds no comments. Alongside the aggressive nature of the destruction, the sequence presents the harmony of the nine women, nine individuals within a group, each piano having been recorded individually and represented in the exhibition space by a sound source. The destructive gestures contrast with the beautiful and romantic compositions by Frédéric Chopin and Robert Schumann, as well as the piano arrangements of a choral piece by Claudio Monteverdi, a Renaissance composer quoted as being a favorite of the founder of the Fluxus movement, George Maciunas. Andrea Büttner commissioned the first ever translation of the Monteverdi piece to piano for this concert.

The work of Andrea Büttner (born in Stuttgart in 1972) recently became the subject of many individual exhibitions in international institutions including Kunsthalle Wien (2016); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2015); Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Tate Britain, London; Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Center, Canada; National Museum Cardiff, Wales (2014); Tramway, Glasgow; MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; MK Gallery, Milton Keynes (2013); International Project Space, Birmingham (2012); Whitechapel Gallery, London; Maramotti Collection in Italy, and Artpace, San Antonio, TX (2011). Her work has been included in many international biennials and group exhibitions including Documenta 13 in Kassel and the 29th São Paulo Art Biennial, Brazil.
Andrea Büttner received her MFA from the University of the Arts, Berlin, as well as her MA in Art History and Philosophy from Humboldt University, Berlin. She also holds a PhD from the Royal College of Art, London where she wrote a thesis on the relationship between art and shame. She currently splits her time between Frankfurt and London.

Flatland / Narrative Abstractions #1

6th November 2016- 19th February 2017

Cyril Aboucaya, Wilfrid Almendra, Sylvain Azam, Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann, Becky Beasley, Rana Begum, Louidgi Beltrame, Karina Bisch, Simon Boudvin, Jessica Boubetra, Simon Collet, Guy de Cointet, Philippe Decrauzat, Thea Djordjadze, Peter Halley, Jugnet+Clairet, Sonia Kacem, Tarik Kiswanson, Harald Klingelhöller, Vera Kox, Pierre Labat, Fabio Mauri, John McCracken, Matt Mullican, Damián Navarro, Julien Nédélec, Bruno Peinado, Manfred Pernice, Mai-Thu Perret, Bojan Šarčević et Blair Thurman.

Guest curators : Sarah Ihler-Meyer et Marianne Derrien

In 1884, the British professor and theologian Edwin A. Abbot (1838-1926) published Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, an allegorical story in which the protagonists are bi and tridimensional geometric figures. The narrator, a square, and a native of the two dimensional world, “Flatland” tells the story of his discovery of the three dimensional realm, “Spaceland”. Upon his return to Flatland, the square is confronted by the natives of his home world who find it impossible to believe in a third dimension. The square is thus declared a heretic and imprisoned. From his jail cell he tells the story of his wonderful discovery and ensuing misfortune.

The exposition Flatland / Narrative Abstractions #1 focuses on artists whose work in the visual arts mirrors Edwin A. Abbot’s literary allegory. The artists here presented were chosen not only for their use of abstract forms, but because, in many ways, by manipulating notions of “abstraction” and “narra­tion,” they can be considered as heretics from a certain historical perspective, thus taking on the role of Abbot’s nonconformist Square.

An integral element of artistic modernity, abstraction has largely been founded on the rejection of narration and symbolism in the visual arts. In response to the crisis of the classic paradigm, Ut pictura poesis, which aligns the visual arts with the discursive arts of rhetoric and poetry, artistic modernity corresponds to the advent of a new artistic paradigm, one based on perception and sensation, of which pictorial abstraction is the focal point. Often using music as a model, the pioneers of abstraction have worked to create autonomous pictorial languages, freed from mimesis and narrative. For many reasons, the association of “narration” and “abstraction,” in speaking of narrative abstraction, may at first appear contradictory. This contradiction, however, is questioned by a great number of contemporary pieces that have been placed at the center of this project.

On the surface, these narrative abstractions present forms and colors of a strictly pictorial or sculptural nature, largely devoid of any representational or narrative character. Yet, a closer, analytical study allows us to distinguish at the heart of these works three main processes for creating schematic scenarios, which are not mutually exclusive, but rather interdependent. Firstly, an encoding process: abstract forms and colors reveal themselves to be signs, pictograms, symbols and ideograms capable of articulating a narrative (Guy de Cointet, Peter Halley, Jugnet + Clairet, Harald Klingelhöller, Matt Mullican, Julien Nédélec). Secondly, a condensation process: a priori strictly pictorial or sculptural forms and colors are in reality heterogeneous hybridized vocabularies (born of diverse fields such as art history, the sciences, science fiction, vernacular dialects, popular culture…). These vocabularies are visually condensed, that is, based on the model of “sampled” works similar to mixed or sampled music (Cyril Aboucaya, Wilfrid Almendra, Sylvain Azam, Becky Beasley, Rana Begum, Louidgi Beltrame, Karina Bisch, Simon Boudvin, Simon Collet, Philippe Decrauzat, Tarik Kiswanson, Pierre Labat, John McCracken, Fabio Mauri, Bruno Peinado, Manfred Pernice, Mai-Thu Perret, Bojan Šarčević, Blair Thurman). Thirdly, a suggestion process: abstract shapes and colours are suggestive, through the effects of texture and material, of sensations and atmospheres conceived by many narratives (Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann, Jessica Boubetra, Thea Djordjadze, Sonia Kacem, Vera Kox, Damián Navarro). Thus, we are given three interdependent methods, with which to weave abstract forms into arborescent stories, to inscribe the visible into the realm of the readable. As suggested, these abstract narratives deploy a great number of themes. Never the less, it is possible to derive three principal themes by which the exposition can be divided into three parts.

Firstly, under the title of BEGINNINGS, works that are predominately fictional are brought together as they evoke the imaginary, science fiction, literature, and personal experiences (Becky Beasley, Pierre Labat, Damián Navarro,...). Secondly, under the title of CIRCULATION, the works are presented based on the history of forms, their passage from one field or domain to another or from one historical period to another (Rana Begum, Karina Bisch, Philippe Decrauzat, Tarik Kiswanson,...). Thirdly, under the title of INDEX, the works are grouped based on their socio-cultural relations, such as urban planning, mass media and modernist utopias (Wilfrid Almendra, Sylvain Azam, Peter Halley, Jugnet + Clairet, Blair Thurman,...).

Flatland / Narrative Abstractions #1 aims to bring to the forefront one of the most original and paradoxical forms of interpretation by returning to narration in contemporary art, reinterpreting artistic vocabularies, which were founded, in large part, on the rejection of narrative in the visual arts. The purpose is to trace the contours of a tendency defined in terms of symbolic function and to underscore the diversity of the forms and themes that they embrace. With an eye on the international dimension of this artistic pro­duction, between Europe and the United States, a constellation of historical and emerging artists must be taken into account, often poorly known in France, brought together through the diversity of their themes, by the ambit to create stories based on abstract forms.

Flatland / Narrative Abstractions #1 is the first component of an exhibition that will be repeated, with other works and artists, in the autumn of 2017 at the Mudam Luxembourg, Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (7.10.2017 - 15.04.2018).

Production: Association Paste.

Partners: Mudam Luxembourg, Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Goethe Institut, Mission Luxembourgeoise, Pro Heveltia.

‘Association Paste’ brings together graduates of Professional Masters 2 degrees in Exhibition Sciences and Techniques from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. It was created in 2012 with the aim of pro­moting this degree course specialising in professions in contemporary art. The objective of the Masters is to train professionals who have honed their thinking (able to develop critical analysis in the areas studied), creative (able to conceive and conduct original projects, within multidisciplinary teams) and technical skills (having the working knowledge of the main tools for the conception and development of artistic projects in the visual arts sector).

The Promenade. A walk through Cnap’s long-term loan

6th November 2016- 19th February 2017

Xavier Antin, Thomas Bayrle, Katinka Bock, documentation céline duval, Jimmie Durham John Giorno, Andy Goldsworthy, Carsten Höller, João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva, Mike Kelley, Alison Knowles, Katinka Lampe, Guillaume Leblon, Allan McCollum, Adrien Missika, Joan Mitchell, Matt Mullican, Dieter Roth, Georges Tony Stoll, Gérard Traquandi James Turrell et Kelley Walker

Curator : Sandra Patron

Thanks to new acquisitions, the Mrac will benefit from an exceptional loan of artworks from the National Collection of Contemporary Art managed by the Cnap. This loan spans five years, and is exceptional in scope (170 works on loan, increasing the museum’s collection by 38%), hence offering more varied and historically rooted collections. With this loan, the Mrac joins a prestigious list of French museums for which the Cnap has granted long-term loans, including the Centre Pompidou, the CAPC in Bordeaux and museums in Saint-Étienne and Grenoble.

The choice of works results from collaboration with the Cnap’s scientific teams, in tune and in keeping with the existing collection, strongly influenced by the artistic history that has evolved in the region, around Supports/Surfaces, Narrative Figuration and geometric abstraction. The choice consisted of both developing the unique value of the Mrac collection around painting and its issues, strengthening its collection of drawings for the graphic arts department, and also filling in certain gaps in the current collection, notably by offering a broader choice of historical works from the 1960s to the 1980s; a wider array of media used and an openness to the international scene, taking into account the current context of globalisation.

The opening exhibition presents only a tiny fraction of this five-year donation, as the aim was that the works should be revealed through subsequent themed exhibitions. Based on La Promenade (1920) by Robert Walser, the opening exhibition offers a poetic stroll through the heart of this loan, through the rooms allotted to the collection. In La Promenade, the narrator and writer leaves his work desk to hurry into the street, thus seemingly leaving the world of imagination for the real world. The illusion is lost during the stroll during which the narrator, through encounters and emotions, realises that there is nothing more imaginary than playing with reality.

As in the book by Walser, the eponymous exhibition acts as a guideline for emotions, ideas and sensa­tions delivered throughout the exhibition. Artists have this ability to give us a fresh perspective on the world and to are able to a play with our fantasies, which transforms our reality and everyday lives. The landscape crossed is also a mental landscape, which, between dream and reality, enables us, as empha­sised by Walser, “to provide intensity and to maintain links with the world”.

During this stroll, you will encounter a fallen eagle (Mike Kelley), traces of forgotten possessions on a beach (Alison Knowles), strange genetically modified birds (Carsten Höller) and finally, perhaps, the nose in the moon (James Turrell).

The Cnap is a public establishment of the Ministry of Culture and Communication that was created in 1982. In addition to its vocation to encourage and support creativity in France in all fields of visual arts, it holds, enriches and manages a col- lection for the State, a set of works in all artistic fields, known as the National Collection of Contemporary Art. This forward-looking collection, unique in its scope, currently houses over 97,000 works.



Open from Tuesday to Friday 10am-6pm and on weekends 1pm-6pm
Closed monday and Bank Holidays


5 € basic entrance fee
3 € reduced entrance fee:
Students, groups of more than 10 people, “Maison des Artistes” members, more than 65 years old
art and architecture students, young people under 18 years old, journalists, job seekers, recipients of Minimas Sociaux (French state benefits), those receiving basic social security allocations or adult disability allowances, members of ICOM and ICOMOS
Annual season ticket: 20€ per year

Payments accepted: Cash, CB and Check


146, avenue de la plage - BP 4 - 34 410 Sérignan
0033 467 323 305

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By car: A9, exit Béziers-est, D37 or A9, exit Béziers-ouest, D19 > Follow signs for Sérignan.
GPS : latitude : 43.2804, longitude : 3.2809

By bus: From Béziers Station > Bus line 16, way of Valras > Sérignan Stop 'Promenade'
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Situated at the heart of Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée in the town of Sérignan, close to the Mediterranean Sea, the regional Museum of contemporary art is a must-see cultural and tourist attraction. There are temporary exhibitions and permanent collections amply accommodated in some 2,700 m² of floor space. The different areas of the museum offer visitors the chance to see a rich and varied range of exhibits in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Facilities include an exhibition room of graphic arts, exhibition areas, a video room, a reading room, a gift and bookshop. Activities are also organised throughout the year for different groups of people.


The exhibition collection at the regional Museum of contemporary art of Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée comprises paintings, photographic images, sculptures and installations which offer visitors an insight into the most creative period for contemporary art during the 1960’s. Several extensive collections of work emphasise certain periods in the history of art such as Abstract Landscapes, Supports/Surfaces, Figurative and Narrative Art, Conceptual art, and the present day artistic scene. Once a year, the museum refreshes its exhibitions to highlight its latest acquisitions and offer new layouts to visitors.


The museum is housed in an old winery and was inaugurated in September 2006. One area on the ground floor is dedicated to experimental works while upstairs, generously spacious exhibition rooms are bathed in natural light. There is a graphic art exhibition which is almost a museum in itself, presenting a collection of paper-based work in a softly-lit environment.
Throughout the museum, the artist, Daniel Buren, has placed coloured panels in all the windows as part of his work entitled “Rotation”. This creates visual effects both inside and outside the building. There is also, “Les Femmes fatales”, a large ceramic fresco created by Erró which is exposed on the external walls of the museum.
The bookshop stocks a large range of monographies, exhibition catalogues, books published by artists, first editions, theoretical essays as well as a range of DVD’s on contemporary art and design and architecture or on the work of specific artists. There is also a children’s area containing a unique selection of children’s books and educational games.

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Plan du site


2015, La Région Languedoc Roussillon Midi Pyrénées