Discover a one-of-a-kind museum: the Dan Gerbo Museum. It is part of the “artist’s museums”, designed by the artist himself.
Dear R Magazine readers, I present to you a one-of-a-kind museum, because in museum practice, a museum is founded on political impulse. As was the Museum of the Louvre, the Dan Gerbo Museum in Mulhouse is part of the “artist’s museums”, designed by the artist himself. If we were to think about our relationship to art and how we define it, we would be at a loss to classify Dan Gerbo’s work since it deconstructs the primary relationship that we built with contemporary artistic practice. The museum’s approach is to decompartmentalize access to art for the general public (self-expression to describe this novelty).
If we look at the history of the arts, we can see that movements were created either by the writing of manifestos such as those on André Breton’s Surrealist Manifestos which defines a precise aesthetic on the artistic practice. This museum is innovative as it will offer the rental of spaces by artists. If we had to describe the museum with a slogan, it would probably be this: Art is the seeking of expectations deconstruction. This slogan represents the paradox of the arts, it requires the viewer to pay attention and to question his relationship with art, while being aware that he must rebuild the meaning of the work. The work, in essence, does not have just one, single interpretation path.
To help us understand the methodology behind this innovative approach, Dan Gerbo, artist and founder of this museum located in Mulhouse, agreed to answer questions from R Magazine. We transcripted the interview below, where the artist offers an overview of the museum’s approach and an insight into the creative journey of the artist.
R Magazine: What is the concept behind the Dan Gerbo Museum?
Dan Gerbo: I created my company and the museum is the result of a lifetime of work, it is a museum that is considered an ERP (Establishment receiving the public), a museum-gallery of spaces that will be rented to artists’ galleries from all around the world, there will be gallery owners with a selection committee that will have to make artists known.
R Magazine: For you, how does your museum represent the notion of heritage?
Dan Gerbo: The goal is to create a monumental work to call for peace, it is to remind that art is not political: the work of the warrior’s rest is an ode to peace, the plane represented is a Jaguar, SEPECAT a Franco-British plane, the symbol of peace. Art should convey a message or a symbol, whether aesthetic or not in a time when reflection is paused.
R Magazine: How is your museum designed?
Dan Gerbo: The layout is organized according to themes, there is a theme of the deconstruction of the symbols of luxury. The second theme tackles money, the coffin, with banknotes, and the third theme refers to the fragility of life, with broken bodies and broken ropes, with real testicles in formaldehyde under the threat of a hammer that is about to break. I participate in deconstructing the relationship to the totems of modern life. This choice shows how attached people seem to be to these symbols.
R Magazine: Who are the artists you want to exhibit next?
Dan Gerbo: The choice will not be up to me, but I retain a right to oversee with my selection committee over the works and artists suggested and exhibited in the museum, the professionals who would allow a better vision of my work with the public. Often, I prefer that it is art historians or even literature specialists who analyze my work, which contributes to the enrichment of the knowledge of my art, because I think that the artist is sometimes a very harsh judge to his own work. From this point of view, I would like people who make literature to be able to search. For my selection committee, I want to reach out to a diversity of people so that there are crossed views upon my work.
R Magazine: How would you define the notion of art?
Dan Gerbo: The definition of art is not absolute, and it is up to the public to interpret my art as they perceive and feel it, the interpretation is not unquestionable and it is up to the public and professionals to build their own vision and interpretation of my work. The very construction of the work in its reception is changing or even moving depending on the way we look at it. The problem of the definition of art is the multitude of definitions that we give to this term and which poses some difficulties when we have to define the boundaries that we can attribute to the notion of art, especially due to the current phenomenon of digital art, which shakes up the traditional conception of art as we have known it until now.
To conclude, in this article, with Daniel Gerbo, we were able to see that the very notion of artist could change according to the boundaries that we set to the very term of art and that contemporary art redefines in a clear and precise way the missions that art must assign, it is that of reconnecting with a meaningful artwork, a carrier of messages to allow viewers, specialist or not, to attribute the meaning of a work and thus encourage the return to museums.