La Biennale de Momon
January – June 2021

Cooperative project with: Sarah Boulton (GB), Marc Buchy (FR/BE), Joan Heemskerk (NL), Frans van Lent (NL), Susana Mendes Silva (PT), Josh Schwebel (DE/CA), Lisa Skuret (US/GB), Elia Torrecilla (ES), Martine Viale (CA/FR).

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 many 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 place is still what it always has been: earth remains earth and stone remains stone. The Biennale de Momon starts from there but the physical village will only be used as a starting point. Not by changing anything but, on the contrary, by keeping it 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 there will be no objects that refer to the project, apart from a sign with the web address. 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 eight artists with different artistic approaches, but with a certain preference of creating work without a material body, without physical traces.

Already for 28 years we own a small house in the village; we witnessed a lot of changes and we were of course also part of those changes. We offer the participating artists the opportunity to use the house for a week in the second half of 2020, to get acquainted with the environment, the village, the residents.

In May 2021, as a vernissage, we will invite all inhabitants of the village, to have a meal in our house, while we present them  the (online) works of La Biennale de Momon. 
They know the area very well, so through them the artist’s contributions will be confronted with the physical reality of the village. 

For that specific occasion we decided not to invite the artists, to prevent the focus to move away too much from the actual village to their artistic representation.

In June 2021 we plan to organise a small public conference in the Dordrechts Museum in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. This conference will also be called La Biennale de Momon. We will invite all participating artists to this occasion, to meet each other and to talk about their work. Also we intend to invite some other professionals with a possible relation to the subject.

Frans van Lent