The Musée du château des ducs de Wurtemberg in Montbéliard and the Musées de Belfort have jointly organized an exhibition highlighting the long and varied industrial history of the these two French towns, both of which are well known thanks to their association with the automobile and the train respectively. The show delves into the way transportation, mobility and the utopian dream inspired by the latter idea have been depicted in the field of art over a century, from 1913 to 2013.
This exploration of one hundred years of the history of art through the lens of the automobile and the train examines and compares various means of transportation and their interaction with the world while tackling the notions of travel and motion, machines and dreams, speed and breaking away.
A dialogue that plays out decade by decade between works linked to the automobile, on the one hand, and the railway, on the other, Kilomètres/heure (Kilometers / hour) comes in two consecutive parts: at Belfort’s Tour 46 for the years 1913-1953; and at the Musée du château des ducs de Wurtemberg in Montbéliard for 1963-2013. A beautiful range of works that include painting, photography, video, sculpture, film, installation and drawing allows visitors to go over the milestones of twentieth- and twenty-first century art, decade by decade, and kilometer by kilometer.
Kilomètres/heure borrows its organization and layout appropriately enough from the roman de gare, the ‘train-station novel’ (pulp novel), the plot of which hinges on the connection between speed and utopia, yet the exhibition’s intention is not to simply put powerful motors on display, but rather to look into the utopian ideas that revolve around these machines that have long inspired artists. In an evolving historical context spanning one hundred years, from 1913 to 2013, the featured works of art in the end amount to a history of visions, feelings, even fears, often contradictory ones, which over time leave their mark on artists, compelling them to shift constantly between a fear of technology and fascination.
The overall design of Kilomètres/heure, which takes care to distinguish each decade and tie the two exhibition venues together through a strong visual identity, allows visitors to see the synchronized history of art and industry through a clear timeline.
Poetry, visionary images, symbols, anecdotes, knowing winks—these are some of the attractions of an exhibition that is more impressionist than realist. The centenary in question is a grand collection of stories in which the automobile and the train convey everyday moments in people’s lives.
The featured artists include: Josef Albers, Arman, Reynold Arnould, Félix Aublet, Richard Baquié, Auguste Bartholdi, Eric Baudelaire, Thomas Bayrle, Carole Benzaken, Marcel Bovis, Constantin Brancusi, Brassaï, Alain Bublex, Pol Bury, Robert Cahen, César, Charlie Chaplin, Henri-Michel-Antoine Chapu, Josef Dabernig, Roger de La Fresnaye, Sonia Delaunay, Hervé di Rosa, Robert Doisneau, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Marcel Duchamp, Antoine-Auguste Durandeau, Erró, Bernard Faucon, Léon Fauret, Léon Ferrari, Jean Fléaca, Roger de la Fresnaye, Abel Gance, Willem van Genk, John Giorno, Ralph Goings, Nan Goldin, Ernst Haas, Fabrice Hyber, Gheorghe Ilea, Alain Jacquet, Pierre Jahan, Valérie Jouve, Allan Kaprow, François Kollar, Jiri Kovanda, David Lean, Fernand Léger, Claude Lelouch, Winston Link, Boris Lipnitzki, Louis Lumière, Len Lye, David Maljkovic, Rita Mc Bride, Jean-Luc Moulène, Julian Opie, Roger Parry, Raymond Pettibon, Bernard Plossu, Claude Prévost, André Raffray, Bruno Réquillart, Hans Richter, Jozef Robakowski, Willy Ronis, Serban Savu, Mario Schifano, Ivan Seal, Jeanloup Sieff, Roman Signer, Peter Stämpfli, Jean Tinguely, Joaquin Torres Garcia, Clovis Trouille, Tomi Ungerer, Raymond Voinquel, Wolf Vostell, Bill Woodrow…
Opening: 22nd June 2013, 5 pm 14 June – 14 October 2013 Open daily 10 – 12 am / 2 – 6 pm Closed on Tuesday
Director of ‘Musées de Montbéliard’
Phone: +33 3 81 99 23 72
Director of “Musées de Belfort”
Phone: +33 3 84 54 25 51
Musée du château des ducs de Wurtemberg
25200 Montbéliard, France
Musées de Belfort
Tour 46 90000 Belfort, France
Photo Peter Stämpfli:
Riviera grand sport, 1969
Oil on canvas, 212 x 165cm
Coll. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dole, inv. n° 1994.1.1
© Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dole, photo Jean-Loup Mathieu