M worked with ten participants, M’s guinea pigs, on a new collection presentation with artworks carefully selected from the M and Cera collection. The entire process was built up as a digital experiment, in the form of a game with multiple episodes. For each episode, points were earned which the guinea pigs had to use to get their favourite works of art into the collection presentation. Each episode ended with a voting round where works of art were discarded. The final selection of the participants can be seen at M from 28.05.2021.
Every two years, M involves the public in a collection presentation. In this way, M wants to give its public the chance to experience for themselves what is involved in setting up a collection presentation.
Normally, the group would meet at the museum, but this year, we had to do it differently to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The game was digitised, in collaboration with Abracademy, using an interactive Miroboard, so that the guinea pigs could compete together for the works they most wanted to see displayed in the galleries of M.
The group was composed of ten candidates from different generations and backgrounds with one thing in common: their enthusiasm for art.
The whole process was built up as a large game. The guinea pigs met with the employees of M several times digitally and, if possible, in real life towards the opening of the exhibition. During those six virtual episodes, they got to know thirty works from the collections of M and CERA better, each time from a different angle.
Playing a game means earning points. For each episode, a participant could earn points that were used to keep their favourite work of art in the exhibition. Each episode ended with a voting round and each time, artworks were dropped. At the end of the experiment, ten favourite works remained.
The common thread running through the project is the experience of art. M based this on elements of visual literacy from the cultural theory ‘Cultuur in de Spiegel’. How do we look at art? How do we analyse works of art? Is this the same for everyone?
After the digital track, the guinea pigs are given the opportunity to admire their favourite works face-to-face in M’s depot. Their reactions will be recorded on video and will be shown in M together with the remaining ten works.
Cera collection at M (details): Amédée Cortier, Black Monochrome (Blue Black), 1970, © Yvonne Laloyaux (photo: Philippe Debeerst) | Charif Benhelima, Morningside Avenue, Harlem 2001, 2001, © the artist | Guy Mees, Trap Op Trap Af, 1970, © Lotte Boogh (photo: Cera & M Leuven) | Honoré d’O, Gnome, Extended, 1999, © the artist (photo: Philippe Debeerst) | Jim Campers, Liquid Light, 2016, © the artist | Marc Mendelson, Paysage Fétiche, 1961, © Group 2 Van Hevel (photo: Philippe Debeerst)
M collection (details): Jef Lambeaux, La folle chanson (The Mad Song), 1884 | Marie Thumas, Tin Cans, 1875 until 1924 | Antependium with the Monogram of Christ, ca. 1550 (source: www.artinflanders.be, photo Dominique Provost) | Pierre Joseph Verhaghen, Lot and his Daughters, ca. 1780 (photo: Fotostudio Leemans)