Denis Savary | Deep Deep Down | MUDAM


grou show


June 30, 2023 - February 18, 2024


Collections are only exhibited to a small extent. Much of the art rarely sees the light of day. What if we rendered more obvious a collection’s natural state of being instead? Not to mourn its life in the shadows but to make it understandable and sensational. In every sense of the term. To do so, one would use quantitative criteria instead of thematic or formal ones. One would also embrace the backstage tools – crates, Excel files, jpegs, backstage devices – as clearly visible parts of the curatorial process.

This in an attempt to turn a public collection into something one can grasp intellectually and physically. In short, we decided to exhibit as much of the collection as possible.

However, cramming the rooms with art is a far more biased affair than defining clear parameters, step by step. Which is why we proposed the curatorial criteria below:

  1. In the galleries, we retained only one work per artist, the one that appears first in the indexical listing. We then excluded works with specific instructions or unclear documentation.
  2. From the remaining items, we began with the smallest, thereby producing a ‘Brazil nut effect’: smaller elements separate from larger ones to create a visual arrangement of their own accord.
  3. The remaining two-dimensional items are displayed in the East Gallery sorted by size. More are displayed in alphabetical order (by artist surname) in the West Gallery. Sculptural work is also displayed in the West Gallery while audiovisual work is projected in the Auditorium.
  4. As many remaining items as possible are exhibited within crates. With their help we created a scenography that serves as a stage for discussion, programming and more.

The curators

Shirana Shahbazi first studied photography at the Fachhochschule, Dortmund before joining the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst in Zürich. Her work has been the subject of monographic exhibitions in numerous institutions, notably Kunsthaus Hamburg (2018); Istituto Svizzero, Milan (2018); Museum Fotogalleriet, Oslo (2017); KINDL, Berlin (2017), and Kunsthalle Bern (2014). In 2005, she participated in the 51st Venice Bienniale. Her work is part of the collections of Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum, New York; MoMA, New York, and Migros Museum, Zürich, among others. In 2019, Shahbazi was awarded the Meret Oppenheim Prize.

Tirdad Zolghadr is a curator and writer. He teaches at the Graduate School, Universität der Künste Berlin. His writing includes fiction as well as publications based on extensive curatorial research, such as REALTY: Beyond the TraditionalBlueprints of Art & Gentrification (Hatje Cantz, 2022). Recent curatorial work includes an associate curatorship at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2017–20), but also biennals, as well as long-term collective initiatives.


The artists:


For further information, please visit the website:

June 30, 2023
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