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mahJ's contemporary collection A journey

daily, starting from Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 10:00, until Sunday, September 11, 2011 - 23:59

Inviting artists, designers and architects to intervene in the context of a museum collection or historic monument is now a widespread practice, and a perilous but stimulating exercise. Our aim since the museum opened in 1998 has been to constitute a contemporary collection out of these ‘encounters’, that is, to work on a long-term basis with Jewish and non-Jewish artists, always in a spirit of open-mindedness, to create resonances with the objects and themes in the permanent collection.


Christian Boltanski inaugurated this programme with Les Habitants de l’hôtel de Saint-Aignan en 1939, a fragile monument vertically traversing the museum’s 20th-century wing.

Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Arik Levy and Michel Nedjar were invited to work on the festivals of the Jewish calendar, whose themes have nurtured their work in often surprising ways.

The relationship to the book, the written word and language has almost naturally been the framework for many of our commissions and acquisitions. Micha Ullman created five Sand Books for the museum collection, and Serge Lask and Judith Bartolani contributed works associating memory and the compulsive practice of writing.

The Prix Maratier, awarded every two years by the Fondation Pro-Mahj, has given us greater freedom, enabling us to integrate into our collection works as different as those by Max Wechsler, Pierrette Bloch, Iris Sara Schiller and Mikael Levin, after fascinating debates with juries attentive to the complexity and specificity of our task.

The Nuit blanche continues to be an annual opportunity to commission a work for the museum’s courtyard. Kader Attia and Antoine Grumbach are just two of the artists who have accepted this challenge.

This ongoing project has progressively enriched the collection with emblematic works, which have been complemented by gifts by the artists, collectors and organisations, and also loans, notably from the Fonds national d’art contemporain. The aim of the selection of works shown here is to create echoes with the permanent collection and its themes, particularly the written word.

Contemporary art is ‘infiltrating’ the permanent collection this summer, and, by highlighting some of its aspects, also inviting us to revisit it.

Kader Attia (Dugny, 1970), Big Bang, 2005, metal, resin, mirrors. Acquisition, 2005

Judith Bartolani (Haïfa, 1955), Les Funérailles de Sara/Nos funérailles (Sara’s Funeral/Our Funeral), 2005. Digital video, 2 min 30 sec. Acquisition 2006. Nos funérailles (Our funeral), 2005, gouache, charcoal, resin and corrector on digital prints. Gift of the artist, 2006

Christian Boltanski (Paris, 1944), Les Habitants de l’hôtel de Saint-Aignan en 1939 (The Inhabitants of the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan in 1939), 1998,. Print on paper. Gift of the artist, 1998.

Philippe Boutibonnes (Avignon, 1938), Leur dernier regard (What they saw last), 1987. Ink on Verge paper, organic sequins on reused paper, photographs. Gift of the artist, 1999, ‘in memoriam Sarah Kofman’.

Pierrette Bloch (Paris, 1928), Sans titre (Untitled), 2006. Indian ink on paper. Gift of the artist to the Fondation Pro-Mahj, 2011

Sophie Calle (Paris, 1953), L’Erouv de Jérusalem (The Eruv of Jerusalem), 1996. Photographs. Acquisition, 1998

Gérard Garouste (Paris, 1946), Qohelet, 1989. Etching, aquatint, drypoint heightening on Arches paper. Gift of the artist, 2008

Moshe Gershuni (Tel-Aviv, 1936), Kaddish, 1984. Etching, sugar aquatint, electric pencil and soft varnish on Arches and Guarro vellum. Printed and published by the Jerusalem Print Workshop. Acquisition, 2011

Antoine Grumbach (Oran, 1942), Model for a sukkah, 2006. Wood, fabric and plastic. Gift of the artist, 2011

Anne Valérie Hasch (Paris, 1971), Mère veille sur moi (Mother is watching over me), 1999. Silk, muslin, sequins, paste gems, beads, gold and silver thread, collage and printed photographs. Gift of the artist, 2000

Mikhail Karasik (Leningrad, 1953), Illustrations, Joseph Brodsky (Leningrad, 1940 — New york, 1996), Text, Retcho prolitom moloke (Speech About Spilt Milk), janvier 1967, Saint Petersburg, Mikhail Karasik Publishing, 2003. Acquisition 2010

Moshe Kupferman (Yaroslav, 1926 — kibboutz Lohamei Hageta’ot, 2003), Megillat, 1990. Oil and graphite on paper. Gift of Esther and Jacques Topiol, 2004. Megillat, 1990. Oil, graphite and pastel on paper. Gift of Esther and Jacques Topiol, 2004. Megillah, 1995. Oil, graphite and crayon on paper. Acquisition, 1999. Megillah, 1998. Oil and graphite on paper. Gift of the artist, 1999

Serge Lask (Paris, 1937 — Nuce, Aveyron, 2002), Kaddish, 1999. Indian ink, gouache on Canson paper, tracing paper, marbled paper, silk paper, canvas and cloth. Acquisition, 2000

Mikael Levin (New York, 1954), War Story, 1995-1996. Photographs (66), texts by Meyer Levin, reproductions of photographs by Éric Schwab. Gift of the artist to the Fondation Pro-Mahj, 2010

Arik Levy (Tel-Aviv, 1963), Sparkler, 2004. Video, 1 min 59 s, Candle, 2004. Video, 25 s. Sevivon, 2004. Video, 54 s. Acquisition, 2004

Deimantas Narkevicius (Utena, Lituanie, 1964), Legend Coming True, 1999. Super 8 mm film transferred to video, 68 min. On loan from the Fonds national d’art contemporain, ministère de la Culture et de la Communication

Michel Nedjar (Soisy-sous-Montmorency, 1947), Poupées Pourim (Purim Dolls), 2005. Fabric and found materials. Acquisition, 2005

Iris Sarah Schiller (Haïfa, 1955), La Tresse de ma mère, (Plaiting my mother’s hair), 2003. Digital video, 13 min, Acquisition, 2007, with the aid of the FRAM Île-de-France

Micha Ullman (Tel-Aviv, 1939), Livres de sable (Sand book), 2000. Rusted iron, red sand. Acquisition, 2002

Max Wechsler (Berlin, 1925), Sans titre, 2001. Acrylic on paper cut-out. Gift of the artist, 2003, Sans titre, 2001. Acrylic on paper cut-out. Acquisition, 2003. Sans titre, 2001. Acrylic on paper cut-out. Loaned by the artist, Vis-à-vis, 2010. Ink on paper. Loaned by the artist

Boris Zaborov (Minsk, 1935), Un couple (A couple), 2009. Acrylic and pencil on canvas. Gift of One for All Artists, Paris, 2010



Permanent collection