Hubert Robert
Port orné d’architecture, 1769, huile sur toile,
Dunkerque, musée des Beaux-Arts
© Direction des Musées de Dunkerque, MBA,
Photo : Emmanuel Watteau
How can architecture – a medium governed by strict rules and intangible dogmas – be impossible? Taking this contradiction as its starting point, the kaleidoscopic exhibition running from November 19th 2022 to 19th March 2023 at the Musée des Beaux-Arts explores the various avenues taken by artists from the Renaissance to the present day as they have attempted to strip architecture of its reason.
In a spirit of openness, the exhibition is not limited to painting and art on paper, two privileged mediums of the “artist-builder” as well as of the architect. It offers a wider range of resonances with literature, photography, cinema and video games, and proposes journeys into universes that are at times jubilant, at times distressing, and in which architecture occupies pride of place. Bringing together more than 150 works of all kinds from national and international institutions and private collections, it brings together more than 80 artists. Some of the leading international names in contemporary art (Wim Delvoye, Elmgreen & Dragset or Bodys Isek Kingelez) rub shoulders with less media-friendly contemporary artists such as Emily Allchurch, Lee Bul, František Lesák. Eminent figures from the history of art (from Jan Gossaert to Escher, via Piranesi, Hubert Robert, Victor Hugo, Gustave Doré or Max Ernst) dialogue with names that are less well known to the French public (Wendel Dietterlin, Bruno Taut, Wenzel Hablik or Carel Willink, etc.). All of them place architecture at the centre of their creative approach and their visual universe.

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