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27 March 2024 - 22 July 2024


20 000 leagues under the earth

What is happening underground? What do these worlds that have been firing our imaginations since the dawn of time look like?

Echoing the history of the Hauts-de-France region and its coal mining past, the Mondes souterrains (Subterranean Worlds) exhibition offers an exploration of these unseen places that are little known to man. From invisible depths to mythical and fabulous worlds and frightening universes marked by an incredibly creative and inspirational activity, the reality of this realm takes multiple forms.

Veering between the ideas of death and fertility, ignorance and knowledge, our relationship to subterranean worlds has evolved throughout the history of civilisation and from one artistic current to the next, reflecting developments in our societies above ground. Like an inverted mirror, these realms are the province of things we hide and things we bury, things we fear and things we love, things we do not know and things we can foresee, things we are repelled by and things that inspire us. Their legends and myths, as well as their realities and riches, embody the various contradictions of the human soul.

This constant fascination with the earth’s depths has resulted in a profusion of artistic creations spanning paintings, sculptures, objets d’art, installations, books, films, documents and buildings. Featuring more than 200 works, this exhibition, in which the arts from every period dialogue with each other, reveals the full extent of the ambivalence and the fertility of these worlds.

This exhibition invites visitors to embark on a sensory journey that traces our relationship with the hidden depths, gradually moving as it unfolds from shadow to light.


Alexandre Estaquet-Legrand, heritage curator, director of the MUDO – Musée de l’Oise
Jean-Jacques Terrin, architect, doctor of architecture, emeritus professor of architectural schools
Gautier Verbeke, director of education and audience engagement, Musée du Louvre

Exhibition design: Mathis Boucher, architect and exhibition designer, Louvre-Lens

Eva JOSPIN, Nymphées, Installation, Carton, Bois, Collection de l’artiste