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"2050: A Brief History of the Future" on view at Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
David LaChapelle, Gas Shell, 2012. C-print on dibond, 137 x 222 x 6,5 cm. Courtesy Jablonka Maruani Mercier Gallery © David LaChapelle Studio, courtesy Jablonka Maruani Mercier Gallery.

BRUSSELS.- The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium opened their new exhibition “2050. A Brief History of the Future”. In partnership with the Louvre Museum, this unique concept questions our future up to 2050.

Paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, installations and digital art: over 70 contemporary artworks enlighten our views on current and future societal themes.

The exhibition of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (RMFAB) addresses major social themes such as over-consumption, global conflicts, scarcity of natural resources, social and economic inequality, the mutation of the human being. However, these complex topics are challenged by positive and constructive visions, sometimes even with humour. Belgian and international artists such as Sugimoto, Boetti, Kingelez, Warhol, LaChapelle, Gursky, Op de Beeck, Yongliang, Turk, Alÿs,… invite us to (re)think the future.

The complementary Louvre exhibition (24.09.2015 > 04.01.2016) anticipates the future based on a subjective reading of the past and translated by artistic creations from the previous millennia. Fifteen contemporary artworks are also included.

These two exhibitions are inspired by Jacques Attali’s book A Brief History of the Future (ed. Fayard, translated into 18 languages).

9/11: a symbolic date
The opening date of the exhibition in Brussels - September 11, 2015 - refers to the World Trade Center events which shook the new millennium and the entire world upside down. This symbolism is important in the storytelling of the show with works of Wolfgang Staehle and Hiroshi Sugimoto evoking the decline of the American empire.

New technologies provide interactivity as they encourage visitors to share their own views before, during and after the exhibition. A photo booth allow visitors to create their own "gif" (animated picture) and add a message for the future to it.

A social wall projects the #expo2050 interaction in real time. Both the exhibitions in Brussels and Paris dialogue with the rest of the world. All of it can be followed live on the exhibition website, which also contains videos (teasers, interviews and time lapses).

An application for smartphones and tablets is available for free (in French, Dutch and English). Replacing the audio guides, the app walks you through the exhibition with interviews, videos, photos, archive footage, articles, ... The user can easily prepare his/her visit to the museum and can continue reflecting on it long after. Moreover, the “Fine Arts Belgium”-app provides additional (video) content to the catalogue.

A look at Europe
The exhibition also discusses the European construction, seen in terms of a political utopia. A collaboration between the art students from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels (ENSAV / La Cambre, Brussels) and their political sciences colleagues from the Institute for European Studies (IEE) at the ULB has resulted in a well-documented and personal work on this theme.

3D reproduction
A unique partnership was developed between the Digital Museum (RMFAB), the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna and the company Trideus (in cooperation with Alph Studios). By 3D scanning the Figurine from Stratzing (Venus of Galgenberg), the 30.000-year-old Paleolithic centerpiece of the exhibition, the RMFAB question the modern reproduction techniques and the future role of museums in using them.

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