Mons was designated as the cultural capital of Wallonia in 2002. The city has a stunning amount of historical and cultural heritage and was the European Capital of Culture in 2015. Mons maintains a vibrant cultural offer that isn’t set in the past. We look at a few events and exhibitions to explore in and around the city to inspire for the year ahead!
Mons en Lumières
At the start of 2024, Mons will celebrate its very first festival of lights. For eight evenings, from 25 to 28 January and 1 to 4 February, the historic and medieval center of Mons will be transformed by art and light, thanks to a 3 km route dotted with 25 installations. For this first edition, and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the manifesto of the Surrealist movement, the route will focus on Surrealism and poetry. Scottish artist Robert Montgomery known for his light and text installations has been invited to participate in this first edition. Accessible to all and entirely free of charge, the route highlights local, national and international talent.
CID – Centre for innovation and design at Grand-Hornu, Boussu
In addition to the conservation and maintenance of the industrial heritage site of Grand-Hornu, the CID schedules 3 exhibitions per year. These thematic exhibitions cover current topics reflecting the cultural and social phenomena that can be observed in the work and research of national and international designers or architects.
HOME MADE: Create, Produce, Live
In the era of open source technology, remote working and Covid-19 lockdowns, what links are being forged between the domestic space, work and objects? Will future production be marked by extreme individualism (making for oneself) or a form of collectivisation (contributing to a network)? How are cities and regions preparing to manage this new network of creators, small producers and engaged users? A selection of international designers and collective projects are presented alongside a collection of experiences, testimonies and objects to better understand the creativity at play in these new working environments. Until 11 February 2024.
Curators: Chloé Braunstein-Kriegel and Fabien Petiot Scenography: Sam Baron and Sophie Albert
Faster, stronger, more beautiful, more intelligent; the cult of individual performance has taken hold in a technological society where the body seems increasingly to be seen as an improvable tool. As a species, humans have always adapted to their environment, but the demands on their performance are increasingly sophisticated and rapidly changing. In the contemporary technological and digital world, design is a tool for thinking and creating about improving our physical, intellectual and emotional capabilities. But this involvement raises a series of medical, ethical, social and philosophical questions. Indeed, this desire to go beyond one’s biological limits is part of a cultural and social context and reflects a way of making society that it is important to question. 24 March – 25 August 2024
Curator : Benjamin Stoz
AUTOFICTION – A biography of the automobile
Today, more than 1.2 billion cars are driving around the World. Autofiction is an awkward, often taboo, subjective biography of this object. The biography of the automobile unearths a number of stories and explores their ramifications, which sometimes need to be taken apart so that in the future, we might be able to totally rethink mobility. Starts 6 October 2024
Curator : Olivier Peyricot
MAC – Musée des Arts Contemporains
Also located at Grand-Hornu, the Museum of Contemporary Arts of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (MACS) opened its doors in 2002. It is a cultural centre focused on multidisciplinarity in the arts. In addition to building a rich collection of more than 450 works, the museum has developed an enticing programme of exhibitions of international scope, sometimes monographic (eg Anish Kapoor) sometimes thematic (Sisyphus, Rebel Rebel, Art + Rock). www.mac-s.be
Honeyguides and Milk Teeth – Jochen Lempert
German photographer Jochen Lempert takes over four rooms of the MACS with his delicate shots of nature. Jochen Lempert was born in 1958 in Moers (Germany). He lives and works in Hamburg. A biologist by training, Jochen Lempert turned to photography at the end of the 1980s, his meticulous observation of the animal, plant, but also human world, through this extreme sensitivity to tiny phenomena, such as the traces of tiny frogs, the luminous flight of fireflies, the breath of the wind in the dead leaves, a constellation of freckles on a shoulder. A poetic celebration of the details that surround us. Until 17 March 2024
Seasons – Lionel Estève
Lionel Estève was born in 1967 in Lyon (France). He lives and works in Brussels. Meticulous and subtle in its practice, colourful and light in its form. Natural landscape is immediately evoked by the alternation of days, seasons or climates, his work evokes the mental and emotional dimension through an alchemical and formal language of materials. Estève collects objects during bucolic escapes or urban strolls: stones, plants, plastics and numerous odds and ends. These objects are treated in his studio, for example, by embroidering around stones or gilding dried plant leaves. The visitor experiences an immersive installation, specially designed by Estève for the MACS, where emotion joins perception and where we enjoy the poetic wandering of the artist. Until 17 March 2024.
Vincent in the Borinage
Discover the birthplace of Vincent Van Gogh in the Borinage. This is not only the place where the artist was born, but also where he deepened his artistic thoughts. In his later works one can see the echo of the motifs which were inspired by the region: the everyday life of the miners, the workers, the peasants and the weavers, their modest homes, but also copies of the engravings of artists such as Jean-François Millet which were made at the start of his career and which Van Gogh revisted later, at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Auvers-sur-Oise. Visit the area with Filip Depuydt an experience guide who has in depth knowledge of Van Gogh’s time in this area.
Grand-Hornu is also home to the excellent Rizom restaurant.