On 8 February 2021, after several months of delay due to the sanitary crisis, Sabine Himmelsbach and Boris Magrini, the two curators of the exhibition “Earthbound – In Dialogue with Nature”, were finally able to visit the extraordinary space of the Möllerei and conduct their first onsite exploration. While they have already begun working on the exhibition from their base at the HeK (Haus der elektronischen Künste, Basel), the site visit in Belval boosted their enthusiasm as it confirmed the tremendous potential of this industrial building.
‘The Mölllerei is not a neutral place. It was intended for the storage of the fuels and minerals necessary for the continuous supply of the blast furnace. The silos, rails and conveyor belts marking its interior architecture will be preserved to bear witness to its industrial past. It is therefore a complex space that will accommodate contemporary artworks in dialogue with its history. Its rhythmic and precise structure must be taken into account when devising the exhibition narrative and display. It is important for our projects to embrace these characteristics’ (Françoise Poos, Director of Cultural Programmes).
In line with the objectives of industrial heritage preservation, the Möllerei, which is currently under renovation, forms an important part of the Belval Fund’s industrial heritage trail. In 2022, this redeveloped space will enable visitors to better understand the iron ore extraction process and the operation of the blast furnace.
This dialogue with the venue’s industrial past represents a challenge but also a unique opportunity for Sabine Himmelsbach and Boris Magrini, who have expressed their excitement at the prospect of designing a display of works that makes sense of the place. “Earthbound – In Dialogue with Nature”, the exhibition designed around one of the major thematic strands of Esch2022, will present the work of artists who reflect on urgent environmental issues, more particularly on the complex relationships between human activity and the Earth’s ecosystems.
It will bring together a series of artworks that actively engage in contemporary debates in society and research. They present visionary approaches to bringing about social and political change by challenging cultural and geographic boundaries. ‘The exhibition will focus on an interdisciplinary approach, in collaboration with specialists and experts from different fields, including geologists, meteorologists and oceanographers. In this context, art, as shown by the existing works or new creations shown here, appears as a tool for reflection that promotes awareness and new ways of thinking about the world’ (Sabine Himmelsbach and Boris Magrini).
The exhibition will expand on a series of reflections initiated by the exhibition ‘Eco-Visionaries’, presented at HeK Basel in 2017, which was widely noted for the ecological perspectives developed by the participating artists.
Exhibition “Earthbound – In Dialogue with Nature”
04.06 – 14.08.2022
Curators: Sabine Himmelsbach & Boris Magrini
Collaboration HEK (House of Electronic Arts)