At the venerable age of ninety-four years Pierre Soulages, the most quoted living French artist had the pleasure to attend the opening of a new museum, which recently saw the light in Rodez, region of Aveyron.
Designed by architects of Catalans RCR studio www.rcrarquitectes.es, the four levels of the museum are perfectly integrated into the landscape with it’s cube shaped building made of steel and glass that resemble the traditional fenestras aveyronnaises and weave continual references to the structure of the nearby cathedral. The institution located in the garden of Foirail, within the hometown of the master of OverBlack (who donated to the museum more than 500 works representative of a large part of his creative path) offered to the Grand Rodez a passport to enter the prestigious french network of Cités et Pays d’Art et d’Histoire www.vpah.culture.fr. So here we are in the heart of the south of France to have a look at the space opened May 30, 2014 in the presence of President François Hollande. A new museum built with the support of the state and the local community of Grand Rodez (which brings together a dozen municipalities) in a country with a highly symbolic attachment cited by Soulages:
“I have two birthplaces: Rodez and contemporary painting”
The Soulages Museum was born three and a half years after the laying of the foundation stone and looks like the starting point of a vast cultural and scientific project installed in a places where the artistic passion of Soulages started. The attachment to this land merges with the projection towards the future in the basis of an “unusual museum” as the artist himself said, far from the concept of mausoleum and monographs space. His pedagogical goal is confirmed by the presence of the large hall of 500 square meters dedicated to temporary exhibitions, that looks like “a place for meeting and experimentation” in the words of chief Curator Benoît Decron, Director of the three museums of the Grand Rodez. A modern and European centre thought to convey the many facets of artistic know-how from the long experience of Soulages. And the experience of the great master of abstraction is evident in most of the main choices: alternation of high and bright rooms with other low and dark, reminiscent of the great variety of themes and approaches his work; the deep attentions to different techniques, from painting, to engraving, bronze, prints, lithography and glass art due to the great adventure of the Romanesque church of Sainte-Foy de Conques. We are talking about the inclusions in the windows of the abbey of cartons that must be one of the greatest feats of Soulages, a work that is able to represent the long-lasting and fruitful conceptual link between painting and sculpture, as well as between the historical and the local contemporary creation. To give birth to a new light able to shape matter and through into artefacts is the objective of the artist who has donated to the Institution his famous Brous de noix, painting recalling the menhirs of the musée Fenaille of Rodez, as well as an important collection of documents, catalogs, films and correspondences that adds up to an art library. Pieces that tell the artistic life of OverBlack inventor, which was dedicated the first temporary exhibition “OverBlack in Europe. Museum and substructure”, constructed with 21 paintings created between 1979 and the present day, a very representative extract of the figure of Soulages according to what he said:
“The tool is not black, it is the light. Black is a violent colour, stands out, is the dominating colour of origins”
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