KUBAPARIS the UP-AND-COMING SERIES. Casino Luxembourg
Another day, another exciting venue in Luxembourg. If you are into contemporary art, you should definitely not miss the famous Casino Luxembourg. Although the name might suggest otherwise, this place is not about losing money (as we all know the house always wins;), but about experiencing great young and emerging artists. The Casino actually was the first place in Luxembourg to really show international contemporary art and a lot of other venues were to follow its example. Entering the centrally located building, the visitor finds a beautiful, warm and welcoming interior with a library specialized in contemporary art, a book shop besides a beautiful café and an area for different educational projects. The first floor whereas is reserved for temporary exhibitions and installations, presenting a wide open space, where the historical architecture merges perfectly with the contemporary art. The house, who celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2021, is lead by artistic director Kevin Muhlen who started in this position at the young age of 31. Since then, Kevin Muhlen shaped the program and experimental direction of the house hand in hand with his dedicated team having a strong focus on artistic production instead of collecting and conservation of art. Meeting him on site with a nice view on the old town of Luxembourg, we wanted to know a bit more about his future vision for that special venue.
CH Kevin, we are sure you have a lot of interesting plans for the Casino, maybe you can highlight some for us?
KM In 2016 we underwent a renovation and redesigning of our premises. This included a complete rethinking of the ground floor and also a major change in our exhibition spaces. Since then we have been experimenting with these new spaces which led to experimental approaches in terms of program, formats and artist invitations. For the coming two years we would like to settle on specific paths we have decided to follow, meaning develop and deepen some of these concepts we’ve been playing with and explore possibilities within these ideas. We’ve also opened a second space in 2021 which focusses on artistic research and dialogue with art schools and students; the Casino Display. 2022 has been a year of development for this project and even though we have set the workframe there is still a lot of work to do in terms of partnerships and collaborations, both institutionally and financially in order to have a stable situation to build upon.
CH What motivates you personally? Do you have any goals that are particularly important for you?
KM As director of Casino my goal is to keep the institution interesting and appealing to the artists so that the working ground for great collaborations is given. The potential has to be always present and each project has to be approached with the same energy and enthusiasm. This energy has to be transferred to the public as I believe that this is an essential key for the public to engage in it. Of course, our program has to be precise and sometimes even demanding; but it is all about sharing a passion for art and communicating this passion in the right way opens up a lot of potential. I am driven by encounters and by the ability my job gives me to meet new interesting people and art on a daily basis; and on top of it being able to share this with a wider audience through Casino.
CH What are maybe certain obstacles to overcome?
KM It is not so much an obstacle as a reality that we cannot engage in projects with every artist we find interesting or would like to collaborate with. Building a program for an art institution is also a matter of making choices and taking decisions. And other obstacles should be considered as challenges.
CH How do young artists get to show there work at Casino Luxembourg and which programs do you have?
KM We curate our program so this means researching in as many ways as possible. Inevitably the encounters I mentioned earlier are part of this research. Our exhibitions are defined quite early – often at an important moment for the artist – in order to give them (and us) as much time as possible to engage in an extensive discussion about the project and it’s goals. Some elements of our program are based on an open-call, but not all. We also have a residency program for which we do studio visits and art school partnerships.
For more information on the venue, its program and application options as an artist check out the website: https://casino-luxembourg.lu/de