A word from the director

Bernard Fibicher

 

Statement of intent

What does a new museum signify? That the old one can be done away with? That we have to start from zero, with a clean slate, as if nothing had gone before? Do we – in the digital age – actually have to reinvent the museum? Call everything into question? Cast aside more than 170 years of history? Write off our heritage as dusty and devoid of interest?

The museum in the 21st century Building is underway.

We're in the process of creating a new museum. Which means we're convinced that the fine arts museum – an 18th-century invention – is as vital as ever; not only does it still have a role to play, it is all the more important in that today's information context is tending increasingly towards the intangible. The fine arts museum may turn out to be the last bastion of the material object and its aura, and as such will take on an enviable exemplarity. It will become something almost exotic, so foreign to the standard categories that it will enjoy a revival of interest on the part of society.

A plurality of publics

At the same time our museum will not be just a refuge for people pining for tangible, historically unique objects that stimulate the senses, the emotions and a thirst for knowledge and intelligence. It must be more than that. It must also be exemplary in terms of the way these objects are offered: by giving them a voice, prompting interaction between visitors, encouraging an active perception rooted in our connection to the world past and present. It's in this sense that the museum has to be reinvented and adapted to a constantly evolving society; to a public that has long ceased to comprise solely the educated middle class and is now a multifaceted entity embracing all ages, levels of education and degrees of receptivity. We will no longer have a "target" public – to borrow from marketing jargon – but a plurality of publics whose interest and loyalty we will be striving for on an everyday basis. The new museum will be made up of new publics.

Of exhibits and viewers

There is no need to reinvent the museum as a repository. The experimental architecture of these last twenty years, with its dizzying viewing itineraries and walls that curved or defied verticality, was maybe necessary to a fresh focus on museum fundamentals. Barozzi and Veiga's building is going to optimise the relationship between viewer and exhibit. There's no competition here between architecture and content: the spaces are designed not only for the exhibits – by enabling the best possible presentation and conservation – but also for the visitors, who must feel at ease. Our long-awaited museum will offer all the "mod cons" – restaurant, bookshop, auditorium, specialist library, cultural mediation space – needed to round off the visit. It will open in the autumn of 2019, just a stone's throw from the station, and will speedily be complemented by two other established Lausanne institutions – the mudac and the Musée de l’Elysée – to form Platform10, a brand new cultural neighbourhood.