By Anthony Assemat
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“This is the end”, Jean-Louis Aubert could have sung. Because it is truly a page that turns Place du Capitole in Toulouse.
The end of March 2023, dsix years after Castela bookstore (space occupied today by the chocolate maker Lindt), another place with a cultural appeal on the most famous square in the Pink City will close its doors.
This is the Foundation for Contemporary Art of Caisse d’Epargne Midi-Pyrénées located in 3 Place du Capitole.
“Not a dissatisfaction with contemporary art”
A decision made by the board of directors of the ekrbank group, chairman in the region of Christophe le Pape since spring 2021 (he had succeeded Pierre Carli, the historical head of Caisse d’Epargne Midi-Pyrénées since 2003).
“The management has decided to close the foundation’s activities and to develop its sponsorship campaigns, while maintaining its framework of 2.5 million euros per year. This is not a displeasure for contemporary art,” says Christine Rey-Bourdieu, Secretary General CSR (Social and Environmental Responsibility) and Environmental Transformation at Caisse d’Epargne Midi-Pyrénées.
Not linked to a question of money, Caisse d’Epargne believes
Toulouse Foundation, which occupied a building in two levels and 375 m2, represented 400,000 euros per year out of the 2.5 million euros set aside for sponsorship. But the closure is “not connected to questions of money”, clarifies the banking group, which was only a tenant of the premises.
“We will promote digital inclusion, support for sports and associations and implement other actions on the ground as close as possible to the territories of the region. But we will remain involved in the promotion of culture, actors and patrons of social cohesion. on the territory. For example, we remain partners in ThéâtredelaCité, Orchester national du Capitole, Grands Interprètes, Odyssud…”.
The foundation was established in 2004
Espace Ecureuil and the Toulouse Foundation are an old story. The first art space opened in the basement in 1994 and The Corporate Foundation was established in 2004 to make this building a place exclusively for contemporary art. In 18 years, more than 300 artists and a hundred exhibitions have occupied the space, with an estimated attendance of over 364,000 people.
The Foundation for Contemporary Art also brings together each year, in collaboration with the Rectorate of Toulouse, more than 2,000 students for actions to raise awareness and discover contemporary art.
“It’s a bad choice”
That is why the announcement of the closure of this fund had the effect of a bomb. “It’s a bad choice,” said Christian Thorel, the emblematic manager of the bookshop Ombres Blanches, rue Gambetta. “We are very sorry. Work was done with university and high school students. This closeness was unique, we could not do better,” says the site of the Institute for Young Blinds in Toulouse, which regularly cooperated with the site. Various actors that continue saying that “the structure was part of Toulouse’s heritage”.
What future for the locals?
Can this model of foundation and place dedicated to contemporary art return elsewhere in the city? And why not at 42, rue du Languedoc, an address that had temporarily hosted the foundation’s exhibitions for over a year during the work on the Place du Capitole in 2015-2016? “We are going to start the renovation work in this historic building. Nothing is ruled out, but it is too early to talk about it,” says Christine Rey-Bourdieu.
At the moment there is no information about the future of these premises located at 3, place du Capitole. But there’s no doubt that this beautiful, well-maintained space, both design and terribly Toulouse-style with its exposed stone in the basement, will whet serious appetites…
A very fragrant program until closing time
It was in tears that Sylvie Corroler-Talairach, director of the Espace Squirrel Corporate Foundation, presented the cultural program for the (shortened) season of the premises, until March 25, 2023.
Currently, Véronique Glover is exhibiting until October 22, 2022 around Summer Pictures…; and the scent of jasmine. “She uses photos to transform them into images and thwart the truth assigned to the photograph. There is no central subject in the construction of the exhibition, and it is the scent of jasmine that brings the images together”, it explains artistic programmer.
From November 4 to December 24, 2022, make way for Florian Mermin with his “Floral May Morning” (photo). A theme taken from a phrase from Alice in Wonderland. “It will be a trip in a dreamlike and fantasized garden”, explains Sylvie Corroler-Talairach.
Finally, this somewhat special 2022-2023 season focusing on smells will conclude from January 20 to March 25, 2023 with “Olfactory horizons”, an exhibition that will be worth smelling the objects on display. The idea came from Sandra Barré, a contemporary art critic who wrote a thesis at the Sorbonne Paris Panthéon on the plasticity of smell.
For the occasion, the Foundation for Contemporary Art will create its own perfume, Witchcraft, which will only be sold within the Foundation during the two months the exhibition lasts.
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