Sylvielin's Blog

Interview with Marc-Olivier Wahler, director of Palais de Tokyo

Posted in Interviews with Curators/Museum Directors by sylvielin on May 3, 2010

“Now I take over the Palais de Tokyo. My idea is to continue the development. But what I want to try now is also more to build a story that will last in the next three years and to bring a scenario. When the visitor comes for the first time, he has such an idea of what’s going on. Then he’s coming back and see, now I understand the previous exhibitions in that way, and they can even think about what to come next. It is always like writing chapters; you bring the first, second, third and why you lead the exhibitions, you think about the whole link or the whole story in which you are included. ”  —-Marc-Olivier Wahler (extract from the interview by Sylvie Lin, August 2006 in Paris )

〔Extract from the original text〕

Q Please talk about your experience when you were the director of Swiss Institute in N.Y. How did you manage to make the exchanges between the contemporary art scene in Europe and in the U.S.?

A The exchanges were done through shows, performances, lectures, etc.. The idea was to make the institute a kind of platform, with many artists coming to New York, many of whom didn’t know anything about NY. So the institute played the role of platform, inviting Swiss, French and German artists coming to New York. We tried to make a network for them, to link deeper to each other.

What I also did is that, with the group shows, I always mix European artists and American artists. These artists are sometimes quite far to be linked together. For example, we have solos shows of Jim Shaw(U.S.) and of Philippe Parreno, and with very big names or emerging American artists. That’s the strategy of SI. What’s interesting in the U.S. is that Swiss doesn’t link to a country. Swiss is more like an adjective, a kind of label. You have Swiss cheese, Swiss knife, etc. So I tried to work on the cliché about Swiss, about quality, and finally, about what is the reputation of SI. It’s an institute of quality, no matter the artists come from Asia, Europe or U.S.


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