The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and the Louvre Museum jointly present a unique and innovating project built around the future! Paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, installations and digital art works: over 70 works of contemporary art question our future at the horizon of 2050.
From Sugimoto to LaChapelle
The exhibition at the MRBAB looks into the major societal themes such as over consumption, global conflicts, the scarcity of natural resources, social and economic inequality and the mutation of the human being. These complex themes are accompanied by positive and constructive - at times even humorous – interpretations by Belgian and international artists such as Sugimoto, Boetti, Kingelez, Warhol, LaChapelle, Gursky, Op de Beeck, Yongliang, Turk, Alÿs, who invite us to (re) consider the future.
The complementary exhibition at the Louvre (from 24 September 2015 to 4 January 2016) plunges into the future, based on a subjective analysis of the past, imagined and carried by the artistic creation of the previous millennia.
Both exhibitions are inspired by Jacques Attali’s book, Une brève histoire de l’avenir (A brief history of the future) published by Fayard. According to the author, the history of humanity can be seen as the succession of three major political orders: "Ritual order" (theological ideal), "Imperial order" (territorial ideal) and last but not least, the "Merchant order" (individualist ideal), which governs us since the Middle Ages. Through the centuries and later the decades the centre of activity has moved from one “heart” to another (Bruges, Venice, Amsterdam, etc.) and later across the ocean to reach the Eastern coast of the U.S.A. and later the American Western coast and Los Angeles. This story not only reveals the laws of the past, it also helps unveil those of the future and allows us to predict its course. According to Jacques Attali, the future will unfold in five waves: the relative fall of the American Empire, the polycentric burst of the world, the hyperempire, the hyperconflict and finally, hyperdemocracy.
Hyperconflict or hyperdemocracy?
The exhibition develops these various directions through eight phases richly illustrated by contemporary works. Los Angeles and American supremacy shows how the Californian city imposed itself as the new “heart” of capitalism through the micro-processor before the Fall of the American empire led us all to a new polycentric world. That was soon replaced by a new conquering force: the Empire of the market that imposed a way of life based on (Over)consumption in a virtual world of connected objects. The bursting of the Merchant Order and the demographic explosion are a threat to natural resources: on this Threatened planet, where everything becomes merchandise, the last quest is that of immortality: Time, a rare commodity . If humanity can overcome the phase of Hyperconflicts, generated by extreme unbalances, then it will be able to envision the victory of the forces of good over those of evil. But this hyperdemocracy belongs to the world of Utopias…
• Catalogue: 2050. A Brief History of the Future, by Jacques Attali, Jennifer Beauloye, Pierre-Yves Desaive, Michel Draguet, 224 p., 100 ill., Snoeck, 2015, €32.
To see other illustrations, click on Version Française, at the top of the page