Hubert Duprat, L’Or, Mucem, Marseille, April 25 – Sept 10, 2018

Gold is an object of desire and conquest, and a traditional symbol of power and wealth, but its plasticity also makes it the material of metamorphosis, a quality that has made it a favourite material in the arts.
Combining history with contemporary art, this exhibition assembles masterpieces that bear witness to Euro-Mediterranean civilizations’ fascination with the material over more than three millennia.
It includes archaeological objects (ingots, funeral masks, jewellery, etc.), objects from the Mucem’s collections (gold craftwork, reliquaries, ritual objects, etc.), films and documents, as well as modern and contemporary works of art.
Nuggets and jewels, statues and relics, and religious and ceremonial objects cover the various subjects addressed by the exhibition: our fascination with gold and its hoarding, the frantic quest for the precious metal and its negative impact on humankind and the environment, the technical aspects of its transformation (from the most concrete actions to the alchemical illusion), its symbolic dimensions linked to divinity and power, and its festive, ritual and demonstrative aspects.
The exhibition is more than just another accumulation of treasures revealing nothing more than the element’s lost sheen: it is a dialogue between archaeology, history and contemporary art that allows visitors to understand gold as the stuff of dreams, a political construct and a source of creative brilliance.

photo : Hubert Duprat, Tube de trichoptère, 1980-2012
© Fabrice Gousset