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The Ardennes in all directions
Culture and Hiking
I dISCOVERED A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO ART AT THE MUDIA IN Redu
And enjoyed a journey through the land of whimsy
4 min Of Culture
Wallonia is an attractive land where you can enjoy a wealth of interesting experiences, enriched by innovative inhabitants against a stunning backdrop of legendary landscapes! One of these trailblazers, Eric Noulet, opened an institution in Redu that manages to rekindle the relationship between public and art by using a language that is both intelligible and interactive. The Mudia is his brainchild, the creation of a man who is passionate about art but also has a profound love of the Ardennes. The museum boasts a wonderful collection of 300 works of art, each and every one of them from private collections! To top it all, the museum has thrown the doors to understanding art history wide open!
Eric Noulet est parvenu à dépoussiérer cette image du musée. Son expérience de visite des musées du monde entier lui a permis de créer ce concept, ouvert à tous. Mudia aborde une nouvelle vision de l’art : il vise à décomplexer le visiteur face aux œuvres. A Redu, Eric Noulet a sans doute concrétisé son rêve philanthropique.
A gallery of time
In just one morning, I will be travelling through the history of art, ranging from the Flemish Primitives to contemporary art. The 20 museum rooms span 7 centuries, from the 15th to the 21st century. The museum showcases a wide array of essential art forms, ranging from the bizarre characters imagined by Hieronymus Bosch to those drawn by 20th century comic book artists, and including the golden eraof photography and cinema.
The different activities breathe new life into the works of art and I even have fun while learning! Over the years, I have visited quite a few art museums and I must confess I was often bored, as I gradually grew tired of their lifeless presentations...But I thoroughly enjoy visiting the Mudia; not once is the visit tedious or marred by the ponderous approach typical to many a museum. I let myself be carried away by the different artistic movements and dive into a voyage spanning seven centuries: the museum is a journey through history as well as art. At the Mudia, each time a work of art is unveiled, the emotion is palpable: a Rembrandt, a Picasso and even a rather enigmatic Munch. I enjoy having them explained in the minutest detail.
In the stream of art
The Mudia plays with my senses: a wealth of sound effects brings me closer to the art works and I learn how to look at them, to touch them, to smell them, and really get to know them. I touch a sculpture by Rodin and suddenly I fully comprehend the art model on which his whole oeuvre is based. I admire a painting by the Fauvist Paul Gaugin from the Pont-Aven school and hear Breton music. I can even smell the sensuous vanilla aroma of a Breton pancake... As I roam the museum rooms, I go from one surprising discovery to another. I meet Brueghel the younger who set up art studios to copy his father’s works. I see Picasso’s female conquests featuring in his work. These women had a real influence on his artistic career: behind the universal artist, lies a unique personality. The Mudia allows to me enjoy a different perspective on art...I admire a Kandinsky, a master of abstract art and also a figurative painter, who used cutting lines to create a shift in perspective.
The activities and effects not only give a new lease of life to these masterworks, they somehow manage to make them superbly and inherently modern. An animated painting not only tells the tale of how it was created, it also tells me its story and that of its creator. And in so doing gives me the keys necessary to understanding it. I meet Hieronymus Bosch’s tiny enigmatic characters, Bosch’s way of thumbing his nose at medieval rigour. In a different room, I am moved by paintings by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci; a perfect example of how Renaissance transformed the principles of Antiquity. Thanks to my visit to the Mudia, I am now aware that this artistic movement governed the stakes of European society for over two centuries.
The source of legends
When I leave the Mudia, I take a little bit of the wonder I experienced with me and enjoy remaining a little while longer in my own imaginary world. As I meander along the legendary footpaths of the Haute-Lesse (the Upper-Lesse) area, the feeling of wonder stays with me...I walk along the river, and am surrounded by beautiful landscapes created by nature and steeped in legends and lore. I am about to enjoy a thoroughly enchanting walk!
I start off from the pretty village of Redu, leaving quite a few inviting terraces in the shade and the tempting aroma’s wafting from the village inns behind me, and head towards the valley of the Upper Lesse. From the heights of Redu, I walk along a wide downhill footpath. The path snakes through the meadows and gradually becomes chaotic and craggy when it enters the forest. From afar, I hear the soothing murmur of the tumultuous river mingling with the sound of birds singing. Following the meandering river really is quite exhilarating! On the path leading me to the eponymous hamlet, the river manages to enthrall me, made beautiful by its purity, and indomitable by its torrential course. In this place of beauty, heaven on earth for artists and photographers! And all the way, it seems as if the Mudia is never far away...
I see a hole in a rock that resembles the entrance to another world, I gaze upon the Lesse scintillating like an emerald river, with beech trees opening bays of light that turn the forest into a cathedral: everything around me tickles my fancy and seems to be subject to interpretation... It brings to mind the words of Jean-Luc de Fortemps, a writer who has so aptly described the Ardennes forests and whom I met earlier on in the Redu Tourist Information Office : “Nothing is ugly in the forest because everything in it is simply divine...It is each visitor’s privilege enjoy his very own rite of passage...”
The rocks that dominate the river, romantic blocks of stone covered with moss, have stimulated the fantasy of the people of the Ardennes: legend has it that small creatures dwell there. These minute dwarves called Nutons, Sotês or Lûtons depending on which area of Wallonia you hail from, are said to look after the wellbeing of the inhabitants. In exchange for these small chores, people leave food for them in front of holes in rocks...Well, I didn’t get to meet any of these tiny goblins, but I was fortunate enough to come across roebucks, hinds and sparrowhawks: as usual encountering the fauna of the Ardennes proved an enchanting experience...