01 Dec 2023 - 12 May 2024

A Model: Prelude

Mudam Luxembourg


Introducing A Model, Rayyane Tabet (b. 1983, Ashqout, Lebanon) was invited to conceive a site-specific project for the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Pavilion. An architect by training, the artist attaches great importance to the context in which his projects are embedded. His installations consider the historical framework of the architecture of the museum, revealing its particularities alongside its contradictions.

Tabet’s body of work builds upon the analysis of sociocultural contexts, combining historical and subjective memory to offer an alternative reading to the official narrative of his object of study and open it up to new meanings. For the pavilion, the artist devised Trilogy, an installation that unfolds around pivotal moments of contemporary and Luxembourg history in dialogue with his personal memory.

This installation includes Sanatorium Paimio (bedroom furniture), a central work of the Mudam Collection conceived by architect Alvar Aalto between 1930 and 1933. Emblematic of functionalist research and humanist thinking, Aalto designed the bedroom furniture to contribute to well-being and recovery.

Transforming the pavilion’s walkway, Tabet installs translucent curtains originating from his grandparents’ 1950s apartment in Beirut. The artist highlights the signature architectural style of its architect Ieoh Ming Pei, characterised by glass-paned surfaces, as symbolic of openness and an era marked by progress and prosperity by inserting personal memory into Mudam’s building. In contrast, the pavilion’s glass roof panels are covered with a blue film in reference to the camouflage techniques used by residents of Beirut during the 1967 Six-Day War. Rendering Mudam’s interior invisible from above, the artist sets Sanatorium Paimio (bedroom furniture) in an infinite twilight.

Lastly, in the lower floor of the pavilion the artist references the 2020 Beirut explosion, exhibiting a series of jugs made from glass fragments retrieved onsite following the blast, envisioning a symbolic repair.

Press release from Mudam

Image: Overhead: Rayyane Tabet. Six Nights. 2023. Centre: Alvar Aalto. Sanatorium Paimio (bedroom furniture). 1930–33. Collection Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean. Photography © Studio Rémi Villaggi | Mudam Luxembourg. Image courtesy of Mudam Luxembourg