May 4, 2020 - Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne (MCBA) - Taus Makhacheva: 4’224,92 cm2 de Degas
May 4, 2020

Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne (MCBA)

View of Taus Makhacheva, 4’224,92 cm2 de Degas, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, 2020. Photo: Etienne Malapert / Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne.

Taus Makhacheva
4’224,92 cm2 de Degas
March 13–August 23, 2020

Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne (MCBA)
Place de la Gare 16
1003 Lausanne
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Thursday 10am–8pm

T +41 21 316 34 45

The Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne (MCBA), is pleased to announce Taus Makhacheva’s first solo exhibition in Switzerland, with a site-specific installation inspired by the museum’s collection history.

The works of Taus Makhacheva (born 1983, lives and works in Moscow), whether they take the form of performances, installations, or videos, are often inspired by a story—told, imagined, or experienced first-hand. She explores the grand narratives of history and the history of art, focusing on their constructions, omissions, and geographical and political slants. Take Tightrope (2015), a video installation presented at the 57th Venice Biennale, which shows a tightrope walker carrying copies of paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts named after P.S. Gamzatova in the artist’s native Dagestan across a rope stretched taut across a precipice, offering a metaphor both of the artist’s position and the hierarchies at work in the creation of artistic value.

For Lausanne, Taus Makhacheva has developed her considerations on our relationship to the past, to culture and to the fluctuating value of art, drawing on the MCBA collection. Her installation for the Project Space is the result of a lengthy process of research, during which she followed the move from the former museum site where the institution was housed since 1906, to its new premises which opened in 2019, and all the steps involved in restoring, packing, and transporting the art works. She also probed the history of the collection, taking an interest both in the grand narratives that underpin it and the anecdotes and individuals who built it up over the years, exploring the correspondence in the museum archive from the 1930s onwards and conducting interviews with members of staff. The artist offers visitors a stroll through an imaginary museum that fleshes out narratives rooted in reality but rendered as a fiction.

The exhibition title refers to the mysterious disappearance of 4,224,92 cm² from a pastel by Edgar Degas in the MCBA collection at some point between the inventory drawn up after his death and the work’s acquisition by the museum in 1936 (Blanchisseuses et chevaux, c. 1904). This enigmatic loss echoes Taus Makhacheva’s interest in processes of construction of artistic value, while also offering a clue that let her plan her exhibition like a plot and lay it out like a narrative across the installation space.

Taus Makhacheva’s installation is almost entirely made up of fabric, a medium that protects and envelops while at the same time holding the potential for uncovering. Gesturing both to painted canvas and to clothing, decor, and the tradition of soft sculpture, it can be read as a human-scale cross section model of an abandoned museum. Soft-picture rails that seem to have been put up at children’s height, hand-embroidered with stories both real and fictional of how artworks came to be in various museum collections, confetti on which details of paintings can be identified, and bolts of printed cloth on which the rough lines of the now missing parts of the Degas pastel can be made out, all lead to a large board, hung horizontally like an imaginary ceiling, with several openings that visitors are invited to poke their heads through to listen to a sound that simultaneously evokes water, fire, termites and various other pests. The visitors’ bodies are thus incorporated into the installation, playing an active listening role while temporarily becoming motionless, ephemeral statues as part of the installation. In another part of the space, stories about the value of art, about museum storage and that which is kept, collected and yet hidden, are broadcast by loudspeakers. Like the sculptural elements of the installation, the narratives populate the space and transform the relationship with time and with that which is known, imagined, witnessed, or felt.

The exhibition is a part of the free programme at the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts’ Project Space, a 230 square meter space entirely dedicated to new commissions from both local and international contemporary artists.

Curated by Nicole Schweizer

Taus Makhacheva. 4’224,92 cm² de Degas,
with texts by Uzma Z. Rizvi, Nicole Schweizer and Vincent van Velsen (French/English)
Musée cantonal des Beaux‑Arts de Lausanne, 2020 (coll. Espace Projet, no. 1)
Available at the MCBA bookshop: shop.mcba [​at​]

Taus Makhacheva, 4’224,92 cm2 de Degas, 2020, mixed media installation, audio
Architect: Alisa Semanova
Production: Anzhelika Baryshnikova, Kristina Cherniavskaia, Andrey Efits, Olya Glagoleva, Marina Istomina, Maria Moroz, Alina Sarancha, Veronika Smirnova
Research: Camille de Alencastro, Kristina Cherniavskaia, Andrey Efits, Maria Moroz
Translation: Loukas Daumer, Benjamin Lee McGarr
Booklet design: Vlad Steyck
Structures production: Edouard Besson, Timothée Delay, Mickaël Lianza, Peter Matthes
Structures seamstresses: Anastasia Markova, Olga Sotskevich
Embroidery: “Go Authentic” studio
Embroiderers: Kira Astakhova, Valentina Burochkina, Olya Glagoleva, Evgeniya Ivanchikova, Nataliya Khadzhina, Tatyana Kupriyanova, Sergey Nefedov, Sofiya Purtova, Marina Pustovoit, Anastasia Rybina, Anna Safina, Anna Savelyeva, Susanna Savinuhova, Regina Shaihutdinova, Dilya Tashmuhamedova, Diana Vasileva
Calligraphy: Natalia Toropitsyna
Design: Vlad Steyck
Drawing for chiffon: Anzhelika Baryshnikova
Text Audio 1: D.A.
Sound design: Denis Dronov
Voices: Daniel Begon, Doug Bowen, Ian Charlesworth, Loukas Daumer, Cécile Plaige, Nadira Tudor
Sound Artist Audio 2: Evgeny Gorbunov
Special thanks:
Dina Akhmadeeva, Camille de Alencastro, Timothée Delay, Sébastien Dizerens, Léa Gentil, John Lavell, Catherine Lepdor, Camille Lévêque-Claudet, Alexandre von der Mühll, Uzma Z. Rizvi, Vincent van Velsen, Ellina Vaskova, VISIONÄR buro

Commissioned by MCBA

Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne (MCBA)
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4’224,92 cm2 de Degas
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