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'On Faith' Art Exhibit Examines Religion in Luxembourg

The Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend is an amazing place for people to learn about and see creations made by notable Wisconsin artists. But the museum is also a tremendous resource for people making art.

Last year, the museum provided an opportunity for its first artist-in-residence abroad, thanks to a partnership with the Ansay Development Corporation. Milwaukee photographer Lois Bielefeld traveled to Luxembourg for the program.

Her time there produced a series of portraits that tell the story of how Luxembourgers view their faith. A multimedia exhibit based on her work, called On Faith, will be featured at the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

Bielefeld initially planned to document people eating dinner. But when she got to Luxembourg, she found a country in transition. The majority Catholic country had just undergone a profound transformation, officially creating a separation of church and state. This resonated with Bielefeld, who was raised in an evangelical Christian home, but has since left the religion. 

"Because I had walked away from it, I'm kind of curious: Who is still believing? Why are they still believing," she says. 

The exhibit not only features her photographs, but also audio she collected while in Luxembourg. This is not her first foray into audio production. She's used interview in other exhibits, but the audio used in her On Faith exhibit is a little more complex than previous shows. 

"With the On Faith show it more so is a mix-up of both interviews with all of my subjects, but also sounds of the church," says Bielefeld. "I went to different masses and made recordings. So there will be, you know, elements of prayer. There will be elements of singing. There will be elements of just hearing them do the communion." 

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.