Issue Number: 94
Luxembourg challenges assumptions as the European Capital of Culture 2007, says Emma Crichton-Miller
Michel Majerus, MoM Block 94, 2000.
If you thought Luxembourg was a bland banking centre somewhere in northern Europe, think again. As this year’s European Capital of Culture, Luxembourg is leading an arts renaissance throughout the region, turning its borderlands location to advantage by providing a meeting point for Europe’s many populations, in celebration of art.
To the north-east of the country lies the Kirchberg plateau, a space-age zone filled with banks and EU buildings, and now home to a beautiful new concert hall designed by Christian de Portzamparc, and a new I.M. Pei-designed modern art museum, the magnificent Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.
MUDAM, as Pei’s museum is dubbed, opens this year with a major retrospective of Luxembourg’s most famous artist, Michel Majerus (1967–2002). A creator of large-scale canvases and installations, Majerus pays homage to Pop Art in an emphatic celebration of paint and popular culture.
In 1950, Luxembourg’s most famous son, Robert Schumann (no relation to the composer) formulated the idea of the European Economic Union. So this year, Luxembourg is sweeping up its immediate neighbours – Lorraine (France), Saarland and Rhineland-Palatine (Germany) and the Walloon region of Belgium – into a cross-border embrace to create a single cultural region.
This new culture zone is hosting exhibitions of work by Martin Parr and Sophie Calle (in collaboration with Frank Gehry) and one devoted to the Roman emperor, Constantine the Great. The renowned Chinese curator Hou Hanru (also director of this year’s Istanbul Biennale) is stirring up Luxembourg City with installations devised in collaboration with architects and artists (28 April–December).
As Robert Garcia, the coordinator of the Capital of Culture project, put it: ‘I shall be happy if the people of Luxembourg have been stimulated and if people outside Luxembourg have been surprised by what we can offer.’
For further information about events, visit www.luxembourg2007.org or call +352 2662 2007