Barbier-Mueller Museum
Arts of Africa, Oceania, Asia and Antiquity

Six Thousand Years of Receptacles
Tableware through the Ages

To celebrate its fortieth anniversary, the Barbier-Mueller Museum will present an exhibition conceived by Michel Butor. From the museum’s collections, the writer selected a hundred pieces, ambassadors of great civilizations of antiquity, major cultures of Africa, Oceania, pre-Columbian America and, to a lesser extent, Asia. Vases by contemporary Western artists, also chosen by Michel Butor, will be scattered about the exhibition.

Inspired by these receptacles of diverse provenances, from different eras and cultures, and in various materials, the writer composed a poem for each of them, having first categorized them by section, based on the role their shapes whispered to him. These boxes, vases, dishes, situlae, and jugs – preparers, presenters, or pourers, decorators, preservers, or givers – will be displayed in the Foundation’s rooms along with the poems, which will be reproduced on a panel.

Six thousand years of creative expression, brought back to life by a look from Michel Butor, will thus be revealed to visitors and readers.