The Rochechouart Departmental Museum of Contemporary Art opened in the Château de Rochechouart in 1985 on the initiative of the Haute-Vienne Departmental Council. It contains a large contemporary art collection and offers an exhibition programme.
The contemporary collection
Situated in the Château de Rochechouart, the museum has distinguished itself over the years for its ongoing dialogue between contemporary creation and historic heritage. From its earliest years, the museum has placed orders for permanent works with international artists (Giuseppe Penone, Richard Long).
Linked with the museum’s location in the Château de Rochechouart, three fundamental themes have been foremost in the composition of the collection: history, landscape and the imagination. Over the years, the Museum has built up a remarkable collection that now includes around 300 works by international artists.
The collection presentation is renewed every year.
The Raoul Hausmann collection
An addition to the contemporary collection is the development of a special collection based on the Dadaist artist Raoul Hausmann. Raoul Hausmann (1886-1971) was one of the founders of the Dadaist movement in Berlin, which, during the First World War, considerably redefined the form and aims of art. Apart from its evident iconoclasm, the Dadaist experiment challenged artistic separation and the frontier between art and life. Raoul Hausmann was a pioneer in collage, one of the inventors of photomontage and one of the initiators of sound poetry. In 1933, he was forced to flee Nazi Germany. After a long journey around Europe, he found refuge in the Limousin, where he remained until his death in 1971.
This collection of 700 items is made up of the Dadaist artist’s works (drawings, photographs, collages, paintings, etc.), archives and correspondence, which makes this institution, along with the Berlinische Galerie in Berlin which houses the Hanah Höche and Raoul Hausmann collection, the leading research centre for this modern avant-garde artist.
The Museum exhibitions
At the turn of the year 2000, a major renovation project led by Jean-François Bodin and the Atelier Ardant enabled the Museum to renew and enlarge its exhibition and newly-created educational workshop areas.
The museum reopened in 2001 with over 1500 m² of exhibition areas boasting a wide variety of architecture ranging from the traditional white cube to areas with a historic feel, such as the Tower and its concrete vault and the large timber-framed Attic room.
Every year, in addition to presenting its contemporary collection and the Raoul Hausmann section, the museum offers theme-based or monographic exhibitions dedicated to the art of today. Contemporary artists are regularly invited to design special works, several of which have been added to the collections, including:
- “Le Grenier du Château” by Annette Messager and Christian Boltanski (1990),
- “Tu” by Thierry Kuntzel (1994),
- The installation of four solid light films by Anthony McCall in 2007,
- “Los Fantasmas” (2013) par Eduardo Basualdo.
Each exhibition is accompanied by specific background work for the public, a noteworthy initiative in a rural environment that forms part of the design of the museum’s cultural project.
Visit the museum
The Rochechouart Departmental Museum of Contemporary Art is open every day except Tuesday, from 1st March to 15 December. It offers visits to contemporary art exhibitions and presentations, a history tour and a whole series of activities for a wide variety of group and individual visitors.
The Rochechouart Departmental Museum of Contemporary Art is a service provided by the Haute-Vienne Departmental Council. It has been awarded the “Musée de France” label and is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communication (Drac Limousin). The museum is a member of ICOM and of the “Cinq,25” contemporary art network in the Limousin.