Even for modern art-lovers in major cities, it can be difficult to find the time to visit an exhibition. In a secluded small town, even more so. So what if the art came to you? Like the traveling troubadours of Medieval Europe peddling music and poetry, the MuMo x Centre Pompidou Truck Museum is bringing exhibitions to far-reaching villages in rural France and far beyond, making contemporary art more accessible to those in remote communities. 

MuMo Centre Pompidou

Founded by French author Ingrid Brochard, the mobile museum organization MuMo began its journey in 2011. The first iteration of the traveling exhibition was spearheaded by architect Adam Kalkin — and built from a humble shipping container. In 2017, French industrial designer Matali Crasset reimagined the experience, showcasing collections from CNAP (The National Centre of Plastic Arts) and FRAC (Regional Contemporary Art Fund).

In 2022, the current art-mobile was constructed in collaboration with Art Explora, with collections sourced from the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Last year, the program included two 2023 exhibitions: “Musique! Musique!,” featuring the likes of Sonia Delaunay and Gino Severini, and “La Caravane du bizarre,” which showcased artists such as Bruce Nauman and Sandy Skoglund. This year, the ongoing 2024 exhibition “Êtres Vivants” — which translates to “Living Beings” — runs until May 18, unveiling works from Leiko Ikemura, Ana Mendieta and more.

MuMo Centre Pompidou

The Truck Museum —  or Musée Mobile — engages the senses with an inviting colour block facade and vibrant interiors. Designed by Herault Arnod Architectes in collaboration with Dutch artist Krijn de Koning, the 43-square-metre truck was inspired by the ritual of fairground architecture, where the setup process is a spectacle in itself. Upon arriving at its destination, the truck’s side drawers come loose and horizontal panels form a sort of front porch. After the stairs are added and and the illuminated sign is mounted to the mast, the green and purple cargo truck blooms into a series of open and welcoming rooms within minutes. 

A French “Truck Museum” Travels the World  in Style

Easily adaptable to different exhibitions, the truck features three spaces; the loggia, the exhibition room, and the alcove. The 15-square-metre loggia is a sheltered area for visitors to check their coats, sit and discuss the collection, or wait for entry. It can also be used as an outdoor stage for performances, from music to theatre, or adapted into an open-air cinema with a rear projector. Next, the 35-square-metre exhibition room is the heart of the installation. With minimal visual disruptions from the lighting and ventilation, all excess is tucked away and a smooth ceiling optimizes this sense of white cube openness. Here, you can find artworks mounted to the walls or presented on pedestals. Finally, the lime-green alcove is a raised platform that serves as a screening room or houses large-scale sculptures or other standalone works. 

MuMo Centre Pompidou
MuMo Centre Pompidou

Colour is a major element of the design. Artist Krijn de Koning conceptualized the vivid green and red interiors as spaces of fluidity and movement. By contrast, the white of the exhibition room suggests calm contemplation, a chance to pause and reflect on the artworks. The checkerboard of coloured blocks in the alcove can be rearranged, curating new configurations and new atmospheres. Imagined as a multifunctional tool, the design of the Truck Museum evokes playful exploration.

MuMo Centre Pompidou

Over the years, iterations of the museum have travelled across much of Europe and Africa. Last year alone, the Truck Museum has reached 150,000 visitors across France. Stationed in village squares, community centres, parks, school parking lots, retirement homes and more, the mobile museum has brought art into communities across two continents. Since the museum’s inception in 2011, 50 per cent of children who visited the truck had never been to a museum before. Thanks to the MuMo x Centre Pompidou Truck Museum, it’s a statistic that’s getting left behind in the rearview mirror.

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