Art And Culture

Towering Wooden Sculpture Breaks in European Cultural Capital

Towering Wooden Sculpture Breaks in European Cultural CapitalTowering Wooden Sculpture Breaks in European Cultural Capital

Mons, a city in Belgium that’s been designated the “European Capital of Culture” for 2015, saw its year in the spotlight get off to a rocky start after one of its marquee commissions collapsed.

According to, the large-scale public installation ‘The Passenger’, by Belgian artist Arne Quinze, consists of a latticework of red, orange, black, and naturally stained wooden beams floating over the city streets in a cloud-like formation. At about 6pm on the evening of December 24, however, one of its supporting columns gave way, and part of the structure collapsed into the rue de Nimy and the local courthouse. No one was injured in the collapse.

“This has never, ever happened. In more than 15 years, not a single accident,” Quinze said.

“With some 30 installations around the world and more than 10 years of experience, the artist has taken on all the costs and responsibilities for an incident that had never taken place before,” the Mons 2015 foundation said in an announcement.

The organization also announced that security inspections will take place monthly and annually to ensure the long-term stability of ‘The Passenger’. For now, the installation is on track to be stabilized and rebuilt well ahead of the January 24 launch event for the city’s year as “European Capital of Culture”. Work on ‘The Passenger’, whose wood beams would stretch 35 kilometers if placed end-to-end, first began in November. It’s scheduled to remain in place, hovering above the streets of central Mons, for five years.