The Collections of the Open-air Museum

 The creation of the Open-air Museum (Musée en plein air) dates back to the very origins of the Sart Tilman campus. The first work – Pierre Culot's "Stone wall from the Visean age" – was inaugurated in 1967, at the same time as the campus. A collaboration with the Ministry of the French Community for the creation and integration of works of art on the University campus led ten years later, in 1977, to the creation of a non-profit organisation "Musée en plein air du Sart Tilman" dedicated to the promotion of plastic arts and cultural events for the widest possible audience. As such, it combines the meeting between artistic creation and scientific research, the integration of the plastic arts in the human environment (architecture in particular), the organisation of temporary exhibitions, and, finally, the creation, the enrichment and management of a museum of art in a university setting.

For almost half a century, the Museum has been able to build up a collection of more than one hundred pieces, most of which are outdoor works or monumental integrations into architecture. In the 1980s, thanks to funding from the French Community, the campus incorporated works by most of the Walloon and Brussels artists active in public art (Pierre Alechinsky, Pierre Caille, Jo Delahaut, Serge Vandercam, Tapta, Léon Wuidar, etc.). Contributions from the French Community’s own collection enabled the inclusion of works by artists of the previous generation (George Grard, Charles Leplae, etc.).  From the 1990s onwards, the policy of integration and acquisition continued, with works by artists who are now renowned, such as Patrick Corillon, Gérald Dederen, Nic Joosen, Daniel Dutrieux, Clémence Van Lunen, joined in recent years by Michaël Dans, Xavier Mary, Jean-Pierre Ransonnet and Peter Downsbrough. At the end of the 1980s, the construction of the University Hospital Centre (CHU) and the installation of the enamel panels made the Sart Tilman campus a permanent exhibition space for a number of world-renowned artists, such as Sol LeWitt, Daniel Buren, Niele Toroni, Olivier Debré, Claude Viallat, etc.

Serving the Three Missions of the University

The scientific aspect of the Museum's activities has also developed over the past thirty years, through the links forged with the Chair of the History of Contemporary Art, and more recently with Archaeometry.

For several decades now, in the field of cultural activities and the promotion of the plastic arts, the Museum has pursued an active policy of temporary exhibitions, both outdoors, on the campus or in the park of the Château de Colonster, and indoors, in the Galerie des Arts or more recently in the Maison des Étudiants. In addition, since the 1990s, courses and activities for children have been offered during the school holidays. These activities have become increasingly successful in recent years.

Linking Art, Science and Understanding of the World

Among the recent developments of the Museum's activities, two main lines of action should be noted. Firstly, the desire to develop the relationship between art and science, so as to create a space conducive to co-reflection and the co-creation of works through an original mechanism that links artistic creations, scientific research and cultural mediation. Within the framework of this project, artists' residencies will be organised from 2021 onwards. Secondly, the concern to respond to the need for additional funding for the maintenance and restoration of a collection that has been in the open air for some fifty years.

The creation of the ULiège Cultural and Museum Centre enables the University and the Open-air Museum to reaffirm and develop the place of contemporary creation in the perception and understanding of the world in which we live.


Les collections du Musée en plein air du Sart Tilman

Le Musée en plein air du Sart Tilman est un projet d’art total, avec une volonté d'intégrer des œuvres dans un domaine naturel, architectural, humain. La collection comporte plus d’une centaine d’oeuvres sur 700 ha.

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