MIMA (Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art) opened in April of 2016. It is located on the Quai du Hainault in Molenbeek [a suburb of Brussels], along the canal. Besides the permanent exhibit on the second floor, the temporary exhibit CITY LIGHTS brings together works by five American artists who first made themselves known in the public sphere: Maya Hayuk, Momo, Swoon and the duo Faile. These artists are being presented together for the first time in a European museum. Their originality, and the way they completely take over an exhibit space to create their installations, make them excellent representatives of Culture 2.0.
As soon as visitors walk through MIMA's doors they see an installation by Caledonia Dance Curry, also known as Swoon. Swoon decided to place her work in the basement of the museum, a space that suits her installations perfectly. She generally shows her work in the street, a choice that has garnered her international fame. She selects locations that have been abandoned or are falling apart, and breathes new life into them. Swoon’s technique involves drawings that are carved into linoleum, then printed onto paper. Next, they are painted with acrylic. This technique allows her drawings to blend with whatever was already on the wall, such as graffiti.
Leaving the basement, visitors head up the stairs to the ground floor, which houses installations by two artists from Brooklyn, Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, otherwise known as Faile. Unlike Swoon, Faile uses not just paper but a multitude of materials to create installations, both in the streets and in various institutions. Faile's work focuses on mass consumption, religion and the influence of the media. One of the exhibit's most imposing installations is undoubtedly Wishing on You, a work that was previously installed in New York's Times Square in 2015. It’s a huge sculpture inspired by Asian prayer wheels. Visitors are allowed to touch the sculpture.
But Faile aren't the only artists with a huge installation. Momo, also on the ground floor of the museum, is another artist who has completely taken over her space. Her work for CITY LIGHTS brings the second and third dimensions together in a single installation. Momo plays with bright colours and geometric shapes. Her works are clear, concise and sharp despite their size.
Next, visitors head up to the second floor, where they discover a room blanketed with different colours at the heart of several geometric shapes. Even the windows have been coloured; the entering daylight glows pink, blue and yellow. The installation reminds us of Momo's work, but no, this one is by Maya Hayuk. Hayuk began as a photographer before diving into the art world as a painter and muralist.
Finally, visitors arrive at the permanent exhibit, which incorporates several works by Swoon (besides those being shown in the basement) as well as pictures, paintings and sculptures by other artists. This exhibit is far from being as impressive as CITY LIGHTS. But at least visitors can access the roof of the museum and its beautiful view of the canal and the city of Brussels.