Forecast 2022

“I hope art can be celebrated again”

Bettina Steinbrügge will replace Suzanne Cotter at the helm of Mudam in April 2022 Photo: Susanne Dupont / Maison Moderne

Bettina Steinbrügge will replace Suzanne Cotter at the helm of Mudam in April 2022 Photo: Susanne Dupont / Maison Moderne

Bettina Steinbrügge is set to lead Mudam in April 2022. The experienced curator and professor sees 2022 as a year where discovery and togetherness will be at the forefront.

How do you imagine the art world in Luxembourg in 2022?

Bettina Steinbrügge: First, it’ll be about getting to know the local art world a bit better. I only know some protagonists of the art world here. Next year will be about getting to know the art gallery managers, visiting artists, and discussing the Luxembourg art scene with everybody. And then, by the next Lux Art Week, I hope I’ll have a better understanding of it all.

You have a lot of experience as an art history and theory professor. Do you plan on taking this pedagogic approach with you in this future position at Mudam?

B.S.: Partly. What I did a lot was to work and develop projects with students, but it’s a different kind of research. I think Mudam is more about something else, like the research on the collection itself with the entire team. How far one can work with schools really depends on the situation and the projects.

Is there anything from 2021 you would carry into the next year?

B.S.: That’s a good question, because we’ve been in a pandemic for the last year and a half…I think what I’ll bring along is a reflection about what came out of the pandemic. I mean, what has to change, how people deal with it, what experiences they went through, what insecurities currently worry society on all levels, whether professional or private. A feeling for what just happened is something I will take along in 2022.

What was that feeling? 

B.S.: What I noticed during these years of pandemic is short-term, very flexible work. We had to make sure we could adapt and had to think much harder about how the artists were doing. How our own teams were feeling. How our visitors were feeling, and how we could still create moments of togetherness, and what this togetherness really means. And that’s something where I have to say…I used to produce a lot with artists and there were these grand openings…

In the last year and a half, a certain humility has been present. Because we had to adapt to completely new situations that simply made each and every one of us completely vulnerable. I think that’s something one must think about on all levels. This vulnerability touched everybody, regardless of their position in the work dynamic.

How do you picture this togetherness you mentioned in the future, when everything is back to the new “normal”?

B.S.: I don’t know but I hope that it’ll be a little bit like before. I hope art can be celebrated again and that we can be together. That’s the beauty of inaugurations and that’s what we missed; suddenly it wasn’t possible for a few hundred people to come together to celebrate the arts or artists. I hope we can go back to that. I think “taking better care of others” is the slogan now, especially in the art world.

I just did a project on that a year ago with Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, where we discussed with artists, theorists and visitors what needs to change. Also, visitors want to participate much more in institutions nowadays. A lot of hierarchies are on their way of being deconstructed too, like, for example, how people meet up in museums now, etc. It’s much more about participation. And how we can cater to that is something we are all currently learning. I can’t say how exactly it can be done. These are learning processes one edges towards step by step to understand how the visitors’ behaviour will change.

Bettina Steinbrügge is currently director of the Hamburg Kunstverein, and will take over the direction of the Mudam in April 2022.

This article was published in the Delano Forecast 2022 print magazine