Just across the River Seine from the Eiffel Tower, and separated from the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris by a stately stone terrace, Palais de Tokyo (established in 2001) is clearly situated at the heart of the city’s visible cultural identity. One of the city’s beacon venues for contemporary art, over the past year the institution has hosted large-scale exhibitions by Steven Parrino, Ugo Rondinone and Loris Gréaud. But on the evening of March 11, 2008, attention turned towards a group of ten young and emerging artists brought together over a period of eight months on the Palais’s Pavillon residency program. The exhibition hinged around ideas of the marginal and featured new work by resident artists aiPotu (Andreas Siqueland / Anders Kjellesvik), Meris Angioletti, Jose Arnaud, Gaëlle Boucand, k.g. Guttman, Niklas Goldbach, Romain Kronenberg, Charlotte Moth, Jorge Satorre and Stéphane Vigny.
In a seemingly difficult space on the second floor of the massive complex, the large stairwell and surrounding balustrade provided a naturally divided arena for a group show that ultimately functioned as a series of solo-installations. Ange Leccia, artist and director of Pavillon, describes the residency as a “laboratory of creation”. Each presenting formally and conceptually unique work, the artists on the Pavillon residency seemed to have fully embraced this experimental spirit upon entering the “laboratory” of Paris and the Palais.
Palais de Tokyo
13, avenue du Président Wilson
In contemporary art, we pay a good deal of attention to exhibitions, perhaps a disproportionate amount to this alleged end-point in the process of art-making. Providing a necessary counter-balance, artists’ residencies and artist-run spaces allow focus to shift towards the contexts and constants of production – the studio, community, conversation, and, well, for a few weeks every once in a while, an exhibition.
In Paris, there are a number of dynamic residency programs, like Pavillon, as well as artist-run spaces, all working to activate the systems of visibility and exchange beyond the scope of major exhibition-generating institutions and market-oriented commercial galleries.
La Galerie, located in Noisy-le-Sec, an easily accessible banlieu of the city of Paris, runs an intelligent calendar of solo and group exhibitions and public programs. Director Marianne Lanavère opens La Galerie’s doors each spring to an international curator in residence, selected through an open application process. The 2008 curator in residence, Italian Simone Menegoi, invited artists Athanasios Argianas, Ulla von Brandenburg, Kit Craig, Christian Frosi, João Maria Gusmao & Pedro Paiva, Nick Laessing and Goshka Macuga to participate in the show, Tales of Disbelief. Referencing the book “Thought Forms” by Annie Besant and Charles Webster Leadbeater (published in 1901), Manegoi explains that “ideas, convictions and fanciful stories” lay at the heart of the exhibition.
CURATORIAL & ARTISTS’ RESIDENCIES
The Kadist Art Foundation, a private foundation established in 2001, focuses on the development of a collection of international and contemporary art was well as the organization of exhibitions and residencies in its space in Paris’s Montmartre. Jeremy Lewison (former director of Tate Collections), Rozenn Pratt (professor of Visual Arts) and Jean Marc Prevost (Inspector of the Artistic Creation at the Visual Arts Delegation in Paris), as well as Programs Manager Sandra Terdjman form the Kadist Foundation Advisory Committee, inviting international curators and artists to participate in three-month residencies. The program has hosted artists and curators including Mario García Torres, Adam Carr, Cosmin Costinas, Wilfredo Prieto and Sophía Hernández Chong Cuy. Dinners and informal conferences are also organized in the space, establishing an open platform for discussion and exchange.
Although the French branch of the Triangle Arts Trust is located in Marseille, about three-hours south of Paris by TGV, a brief survey of residency programs in the capital would not be complete without a mention of the trust. Established in 1982 by Robert Loder and Anthony Caro, Triangle Arts Trust has developed an international network of studio and residency programs on all five continents. La Friche, Marseille, led by Director Dorothée Dupuis, is located in a former factory complex in the Mediterranean port city. Every six months, La Friche makes an open call to international and French artists, awarding three concurrent residencies and support for the realization of an exhibition or publication.
Le Plateau opened its doors in 2002, establishing, first and foremost, a site to house and display the Regional Contemporary Art Collection of the French department that encompasses Paris (FRAC, Ile-de-France). Le Plateau, led by Director Xavier Franceschi, also hosts an ambitious program of solo and group shows featuring French and international artists including Jean-Luc Moulène, Loris Gréaud, Joan Jonas, Adel Abdessemed and Cao Fei. In addition, the Experimental Space at Le Plateau hosts international artists in residence. A workspace and gallery, the mission of the Experimental Space seeks transparency, “allowing visitors to discover first-hand the world of contemporary international creation, with artists from diverse cultural and geographic horizons on residence in Paris”. Cuban-born Tania Bruguera began her work as an artist in residence at Le Plateau in summer 2008.
The International Residence at Récollets provides residencies to foreign applicants in the fields of Visual Arts, Performing Arts and Literature. In fact, while Tania Bruguera presents her work at Le Plateau, her accommodations in Paris are provided by Récollets. Selected by an informed and international jury, residents in dance, theatre, screen-writing and the visual arts are provided accommodations at the at Récollets International Accommodation and Exchange Center on Canal St. Martin, in the heart of a diverse and lively quarter of Paris. Twenty-four artists and writers from around the world have been placed in residences at Récollets for the year 2008, including Americans David Linton and Kopystiansky.
International Residence at Récollets
Canal St. Martin
150-154 rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin
Not far from the Récollets Center, Point Ephémère also offers a rambunctious alternative to traditional museum and gallery spaces. In a former construction supply depot, the center provides studio, performance and exhibition space for musicians, visual artists and dancers. Three-month residencies are open to visual artists, with sound and video as well as wood- and metal-working equipment on hand. Point Ephémère is also developing an initiative for an international residency exchange program between France and India. Point Ephémère has a bar and a restaurant, open everyday, spilling onto the banks of the canal in the summer. The space also hosts a dynamic program of concerts and events on evenings and weekends.
Castillo/corrales is a Paris-based commercial art gallery run by a group of artists, curators, critics and writers including Oscar Tuazon, Thomas Boutoux, François Piron, Benjamin Thorel and Boris Gobille. The gallery shares its modest shop-front space with Metronome Press, the curatorial agency Work Method and Balice/Hertling gallery. Castillo/corrales organizes exhibitions and events, most recently the group show My Brain’s a Cliff and My Heart’s a Bitter Buffalo, featuring work by James Broughton, Cyprien Gaillard, Amy Granat and Emily Sundblad, Steve Mykietyn, Cedar Sigo, Michael Williams and Wesley Willis.
Castillo/corrales also runs a bookshop, Section 7 Books (S7B), focusing on small-press publishing. S7B’s selection of books and journals, including Texas-based ARTLIES, “often finds an audience one person at a time,” operating in material that is “passed from hand to hand – not meant to be consumed as information, but to be read.” S7B “believes that the experience of looking at and thinking about art is always inextricably tied to reading, discussing, and circulating printed material”.
Béton Salon, established in 2005 and directed by Mélanie Bouteloup, hosts a program of exhibitions, projections, conferences and workshops. Béton Salon aims to develop a multidisciplinary dialogue, enabling exchanges on various disciplines including art, philosophy, theatre, choreography and science. In early July 2008, guest curators Isabelle Le Normand and Florence Ostende hosted an all night event at Béton Salon called Brainstorming Nocturne (Night-time Brainstorming), with Hans Ulrich Obrist as part of their exhibition Argument de la diagonale (Diagonal argument).
Created in 2004, France Fiction is an artistic and curatorial collective run by Stéphane Argillet, Eric Camus, Nicolas Nakamoto, Marie Bonnet and Lorenzo Cirrincione. France Fiction runs a workshop and gallery, publishes a magazine and provides support in the realization of individual and collective artistic projects. France Fiction focuses its research on the topics of science fiction, utopias, aesthetics, fiction, the occult and melancholy. For their summer 2008 show, France Fiction presented work from Mark Aerial Waller’s cycle Resistance Domination Secret.
Glassbox was created in 1997 to “promote international contemporary creation in visual arts”. The Glassbox team, Stefan Nikolaev, Elfi Turpin, Anne Couzon Cesca and François and Arnaud Bernus, settled into the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris in 2007, leaving the walls of its former space in Oberkampf behind and becoming Glassbox “sans murs” (without walls). Within the Cité complex, Glassbox now offers the means for international artists to realize a range of site-specific projects within the university grounds. Developed by Jeanne Granger and Géraldine Longueville, the summer 2008 program of Glassbox, Le troisième paradis (The third paradise) includes conferences, film screenings and presentation of work in sculpture, performance, music and culinary arts.
While certainly not exhaustive, this list of residency programs and spaces in Paris gives a picture of the range of projects the city offers as opportunities for exchange and experimentation. Buttressed by its rich historical roots and certainly by its thriving culture industry, Paris (like any city) needs to constantly rethink accepted methods of making and presenting art. These artist residencies and artist-run spaces allow an escape from established systems of visual consumption and provide a site of reflection, even reaction. Most importantly, they upstage the exhibition and realign the studio, the bookshop and the conversation at the center of creative production.
Editor’s note: According to the author, "Kadist, Le Plateau & castillo/corrales are not generally open to cold-call applications. However, Pavillon, La Galerie, International Residence at Récollets & Point Ephémère all have formal application processes, open to international applicants (the La Galerie residency is specifically for curators). France Fiction, Glassbox & Béton Salon follow curated programs, but seem to be open from time to time to outside proposals for projects in their spaces."
1. Pavillon, Palais de Tokyo, Paris: Pavillon 7, residents’ group show, aiPotu, Power Plant, 2008. Courtesy the artists.
2. La Galerie, Noisy-le-sec: Fables du doute, curated by Simone Menegoi. Ulla von Brandenburg Geist, 2007. 16 mm film. Courtesy Art: Concept, Paris, Produzentengalerie, Hamburg.
3. Kadist Foundation, Paris: Installation view from the exhibition Like an Attali Report, but different. On fiction and political imagination curated by Cosmin Costinas. Heman Chong, Teardrop (Inversed), 2008, 3,000 self-adhesive stickers applied directly onto wall, variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou; Pushwagner, Klaxton, 1990, acrylic on canvas, 218 x 170cm, framed. Private collection, Oslo. (Photographer : Aurélien Mole)
4. Point Éphémère, Paris.
5. Castillo / Corrales, Paris: Installation shot of My brain’s a cliff, and my heart’s a bitter buffalo, (February 22–March 22, 2008).
6. bétonsalon, Paris: Brainstorming Nocturne with Hans Ulrich Obrist, July 5, 2008. Part of the exhibition Argument de la diagonale curated by Isabelle Le Normand and Florence Ostende
7. France Fiction, Paris: Mark Aerial Waller, Resistance Domination Secret, ongoing.