Winter 2021. Yes COVID-19 is still a thing. But in Belgium, museums are open. So Thanh and I visited MIMA, the Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art in the Brussels municipality of St John’s Molenbeek (Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, Sint-Jans-Molenbeek), making use of out museumPASSmusées.
Located at the Brussels Canal, MIMA is effectively a large exhibition space of ‘iconoclast’ art. Don’t expect orthodox icons to be clasted though. It’s very contemporary.
Until 30 May, ‘Verisimilitude‘ is on display. “Felix Luque Sánchez (Oviedo, Spain, 1976) is an artist whose work explores how humans conceive their relationship with technology and provides spaces for reflection on current issues such as the development of artificial intelligence and automatism. Using electronic and digital systems of representation, as well as mechatronic sculptures, generative sound scores, live data feeds and algorithmic processes, he creates narratives in which fiction blends with reality, suggesting possible scenarios of a near future and confronting the viewer with her fears and expectations about what machines can do”, Pau Waelder writes on the MIMA site.
The exhibition, also called ‘JunkYard‘, starts with a video presentation without end or beginning. The story is a loop. A dystopian fresque involving an empty motorway, an American car, a junkyard, a man, two women flirting with each other, an oval track, pubes, smoking, drinking.
Further on there are cars and robotics. Interesting. Although I’m not sure where Felix Luque Sánchez was heading.
The permanent collection is / was not on display at the time of our visit.
Beware! Magnetic fields make the exhibition unsuitable for people with pacemakers and ICD’s.
A day in Brussels
As MIMA is one of those museums you’ve toured in an hour or two – which is very fine – we just “followed our nose” as we say in Flemish and wandered in Brussels. The now pedestrian Avenue Anspachlaan, the Royal Palace, the Brussels Park (Parc de Bruxelles, Warendepark), the Palace of the Nation aka the Federal Parliament, the Flemish Parliament and the new Tondo, a round bridge connecting House of Parliamentarians and the Forum Building.
We ended the excursion at the Congress Column. The Colonne du Congrès or Congreskolom is a column which commemorates the creation of the Constitution by the National Congress of 1830-1831.
It was erected between 1850 and 1859, on the initiative of Charles Rogier according to a design by Joseph Poelaert, and was inspired by Trajan’s Column in Rome.
At the top of the column is a statue of Belgium’s first monarch, King Leopold I, and the pedestal is surrounded by statues personifying the four freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution, while the Belgian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier lies at the foot of the column.
The four sitting statues surrounding the pedestal represent the major constitutional liberties; the ‘Freedom of Association‘ by Charles Fraikin, the ‘Freedom of Worship‘ by Eugène Simonis, the ‘Freedom of the Press‘ and the ‘Freedom of Education‘ both by Joseph Geefs.
Two monumental bronze lions by Eugène Simonis are placed in front of the monument.
As a memorial to the Belgian victims of World War I, an unknown soldier was buried at the foot of the monument.
After World War II, a second memorial plaque was added to the monument to honour the Belgian victims. In 1998, a third memorial plaque was dedicated to the Belgian soldiers killed in the service of peace since 1945.
Sources: MIMA, Wikipedia