MAMCO Journal

MAMCO provides a narrative, extended over a fairly short period (from the 1960s to now), so as to give back an historical syntax to the works it presents. For each sequence, there is a corresponding issue or theoretical question which the museum, as a laboratory for the collective writing of history, aims to explore and then reveal to the public the current state of its research. MAMCO Journal aims at presenting the topics we have selected through the year, the concepts that were elaborated during the preparation of the exhibitions, and the results that have (or have not) been presented to the public. It is published twice a year and is available here in a PDF format to download. To freely receive the printed version, please contact chloe.gouedard(at)


How to tell the story of the art made in the time that separates us from the immediate aftermath of World War II? This question lies at the heart of the exhibitions presented at the museum since 2017. The answer we have formed involves shaping new narratives for each cycle of exhibitions, and a focus on a syntaxic mode for the organization of these shows.

The early 2000s have been marked by radical questioning of the museum’s “discourse” (challenging the “modernist canon,” marking the emergence of world art history and the development of an experience-based exhibitions policy). But at the same time, we do not want to abandon what makes a place like MAMCO unique: its contribution to the framing of a history of art that obeys no logic beyond that of the works themselves. And in contrast to many spaces that have adopted a thematic or trans-historical approach to the organization and presentation of the complex artistic practices of recent decades, we seek to showcase that complexity—and to acknowledge and articulate its historical contexts. In presenting works of art that continually evade the simple communication of “something,” we prefer not to subsume them into vague groupings and categorizations, but to construct narratives that underscore their specific characteristics and pinpoint the circumstances out of which they emerged. 

In the first semester of 2020, this narrative approach informs a retrospective of Olivier Mosset—an exhibition that also, inevitably, surveys the five decades traversed by his oeuvre. From 1950s Nouveau Réalisme to the monumental formats produced in the 2000s; from the deconstruction of painting enacted with Daniel Buren, Michel Parmentier, and Niele Toroni in the 1960s to the “Neo-Geo” moment of the 1980s (through his dialogues with Steven Parrino, Sherrie Levine, and Cady Noland) and to his collaborations with John Armleder and Sylvie Fleury under the banner of AMF in the 1990s. As an artist who has often claimed kinship with Cézanne’s concept of “truth in painting,” his practice springs above all from the critique of painting, first as an object and sign made by an author, then as an “original” production, and lastly, as a practice indexed to its relationship to the world.

While the exhibitions scheduled for our fall season (including Tony Conrad, featured in this edition of the Journal) explore the relationship between the image and forms of societal control, our summer exhibition presents an innovative modus operandi.

Based on the concept of an annual “special edition,” borrowed from the world of magazines or biennales, the aim is to bring together diverse practices connected by nothing but the fascination they exert on us. Our summer program will also feature talks, performances, and off-site events, developed in collaboration with other institutions and organizations: a new approach to experience summer in Geneva, which we aim to review and revise each year, together with changes to our opening times, a pop- up bar, a focus on a wider range of creative disciplines, and more.

Titled simply été 2020, the program represents a new way of thinking about our collection (and how it grows, is exhibited, and communicated), a chance to experiment with the concept of the museum as a place of “experiences,” and to re-think ways to showcase new talent, support and collaborate with artists across a broader timescale than that of the “basic” exhibition. We will also be exploring alternative ideas around artistic networking and community through the various extensions and ramifications of each project. It is of course no accident that this new work method coincides with the planned renovation of the MAMCO building, in association with the City of Geneva: we are preparing for the future by redefining and experimenting with the future contours of the museum, once it will have secured the setting and means it deserves. 

FONDATION MAMCOÉtat de GenèveVille de GenèveFondation de Famille SandozJTIMirabaud & Cie