Exhibition « Raffaella Crispino. Open field »

News: the Museum of Fine Arts will reopen its doors on Wednesday 23 February 2022!

Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Tournai, in the context of the European festival "Europalia Trains & Sporen" - 29/01/2022 to 18/09/2022


The only museum designed by architect Victor Horta, the Museum of Fine Arts of Tournai will enter an important stage of renovation and expansion in two years.

While waiting for the works to begin in 2024, the curators are displaying paintings by rotating the collections and they are inviting contemporary authors or creators to take over the spaces in order to bring forth a new history of the museum.

In this context and on the occasion of the EUROPALIA TRAINS & TRACKS festival dedicated to the train — an invention that has shaped modern society — EUROPALIA and the Museum of Fine Arts are coming together to offer Italian artist Raffaella Crispino (born in 1979) the opportunity to explore the collection and to develop a project around The Abdication of Charles V. This monumental painting is by artist Louis Gallait who, in the middle of the 19th century, travelled around parts of Europe and Germany especially by train. Beyond this railway voyage, the painting, which harks back to one of the first globalised empires, is an opportunity to explore current questions that are important to the artist, like globalisation and colonialism.

As the title of the exhibition indicates, with Open Field, Raffaella Crispino summons large territories of thought. To design his new works, the multidisciplinary artist proceeded by free associations of historical or scientific references that were apparently distant but found contemporary resonance.

Raffaella Crispino also takes a unique look at the museum’s architecture. Freely inspired by the spirit of places, she imagines the central atrium of the museum as the large greenhouse of a botanical garden and proposes to take the visitor on a journey strewn with myriad stories: that of seeds brought back to us following the development of the railway, of plants developing astonishing survival strategies or of women healers considered as witches following the privatisation of common agricultural land at the advent of capitalism, etc.

In response to the artist’s creations, the museum’s curators have chosen a series of works from the collections that intersperse the route, always with the same desire to position the museum’s heritage in the modern world.

Practical information

The exhibition is organised within the framework of the EUROPALIA TRAINS & TRACKS festival and is part of the Utopia programme, the sixth thematic edition of Lille 3000.

With the support of the City of Tournai, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the Botanical Garden of Meise, the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew (United Kingdom) and the Ploegsteert brickworks.

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