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Contre nature by Michel François: highly recommended for families!

The magazine Maison Slash sent a test family to Bozar for Michel François' exhibition Contre nature. This artist creates contemporary art using everyday objects, photography, installations, models, painting and much more. Loes and her children Jonah (10 years old) and Lio (9 years old) were here to have a look: it was definitely worth it!

The testers

Loes: 'The kids and I love all kinds of outings. For example, we like to go to the sea, go hiking in nature or do a city trip. So Jonah and Lio have certainly already been exposed to some culture and art. They also both attended two years of art school, so they are definitely open to visiting museums. We had never visited a contemporary art exhibition together, though. So they were curious!

© Nathalie Dolmans

By train to Brussels!

Loes: 'We live in Heist-op-den-Berg and chose to come by train. Bozar is right next to Brussels-Central. So easy! From there, you can also visit other things. Jonah and Lio were impressed by Bozar because they had never been there before. Horta's architecture is imposing. We live more in the countryside, so this was definitely an experience for the children. At the entrance, you get a small guide for parents to visit the expo with children and teenagers. There are lots of little ideas in there that will add an extra dimension to your visit.'

What is art?

Loes: 'I had chosen not to tell Jonah and Lio anything about Michel François' unique world beforehand. I thought it would be good to let them enter the space with an open mind. As a kind of surprise. At Bozar, you have the freedom to explore the artworks in the order of your choice. Actually, you walk through the artwork. You are guided by the elements that catch your attention. I gave the lead to Jonah and Lio to go exploring. Pretty soon we were talking about when something is actually art. They discovered that you can also make art with everyday objects and this can also be beautiful. Can an old coat over a chair and a branch be art? That made for interesting conversations.'

© Nathalie Dolmans

Change your perspective for once! 

Loes: 'For Lio, Michel François' artworks were an immediate encouragement to try creating something with ordinary items at home too. For example, she was inspired by a lamp made from plastic bags filled with water. One of the tasks we did from the visitor's guide was to take a different perspective in relation to the artwork. By lifting each other up or just adopting a frog's perspective, you discover different things about the artwork. Michel François combines materials from nature with items made of plastic: Plexiglas, balls of polystyrene foam, ... This produces unusual combinations and ideas. One piece of art that fascinated Lio and Jonah was a kind of 'snowboots', made entirely out of rubber bands. Then again, in another room you can see elements sharp or 'blurry' depending on where you stand.'

Laugh and be amazed!

Loes: 'We ended up spending an hour and a half in the expo. Afterwards, we had a browse in Bozar's Bookshop and the children were given an eraser in the shape of a peanut that reminded them of the exhibition. I find Contre nature at Bozar a very varied expo, highly recommended for families. We experienced all kinds of emotions: from laughter to amazement. It is a complete audiovisual experience. It is also easy to reach. If you come to Brussels for a day, it's a good base to explore the city further afterwards.