Text La Biennale de Momon

As part of my practice I regularly initiate and organise projects in cooperation with other artists. This project, La Biennale de Momon, will take place in July 2020.

Maumont is a small village in the Perigord in France. It consists of 15 houses, around 30 inhabitants and there is no church, shop, café or other public facility. Only a few original residents are still living in the village, most of them died over the years, others left to live elsewhere. Today most inhabitants are pensioners coming from other (Western European) countries.

Twenty years ago you could still smell the farms everywhere. Herds of cows and sheep were led through the village every day. Nowadays you mainly see quads, mountain bikes and parents, leading their children on donkeys.
The village has changed from a place where everything was related to soil, work, growth and the seasons, to a place where the inhabitants mainly stroll, relax and dream.

Momon is the old (Occitan) name of the village, no longer in use since the French name ‘Maumont’ was chosen. For me, the name Momon is the village as it exists in the mind. It is no longer physically linked to the location, but it is linked to memories, coloured by nostalgia.
On the other hand the physical village is in a way of course what it always has been: earth remains earth and stone remains stone.

The Biennale de Momon starts from that village but the physical village will only be used as a starting point. Not by changing anything, but on the contrary by keeping the village the way it is, by maintaining continuity. The project is about the thin line between two sides of reality, mass and energy: air touches the earth, the sun moves over the land. Objects are illuminated, heated and perceived but not changed.

The project might consist of texts, scores, routes, images and sounds, everything that can live online without actually touching the physical ground. In the village, apart from a sign with the web address, there will be no objects that refer to the project. La Biennale de Momon will be approachable online only.
Of course you can choose to visit the actual village (phone in the hand), but without expecting to see something different than what it always was, a small village in the Perigord.

For this occasion I have invited seven artists with different artistic approaches, but with a certain preference of creating work without a material body, without physical traces.

Elia Torrecilla (E)
Lisa Skuret (UK)
Marc Buchy (F)
Sarah Boulton (UK)
Susana Mendes Silva (P)
Joan Heemskerk (NL)
Josh Schwebel (CA)
Frans van Lent (NL) 

My wife and I own a house in this village for 28 years, we witnessed a lot of changes and we were of course also part of those changes. We offer the participating artists the opportunity to stay a few days in our house, to get acquainted with the environment, the village, the residents.

In July, as a vernissage, we will invite all residents to have a meal in our house, while showing  the site of La Biennale de Momon. The inhabitants know the area very well, so through them the works will be confronted with the physical reality of the village. For that occasion we do not invite the artists, to prevent  the focus to moves away too much from the actual village to the artistic representation.

Some time after the summer I plan to organise a small public conference in the Kunstmin theater in Dordrecht. The conference will also be called La Biennale de Momon.
I will invite all participating artist to this occasion, to meet and to talk about their work. I intend to also invite some other professionals with a possible relation to the subject, maybe actors, writers, journalists, and (forensic?) scientists.

I am working on possible funding now. Some parts of the plan will have its costs. I will of course only invite you to a conference if there is at least some money to pay for your expenses. I will keep you informed about developments.

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