Visual arts


Dialogue between artists is central to France’s action

In a context favourable to contemporary art, with Paris reasserting its role as an international centre of the arts, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Institut Français, in consultation with the Ministry for Culture and Communication, have made participation in international dialogue by French artists or artists living in France a key priority.

By so doing, they have ensured support for and the continued existence of a number of original initiatives launched by the network over the years, such as Paris Calling in 2007, Berlin/Paris in 2009 and 2010 and Paris/Los Angeles in 2012.

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Nuit Blanche à Paris / Marko, Video Light Painting (© Nuit Blanche)

Paris in London

The first such initiative reopened a dialogue between Paris and London, two artistic worlds that only rarely come into contact in the field of contemporary artistic creation. Over twenty-five museums, galleries and art centres exhibited the best of contemporary French creation in collaboration with French institutes or exhibition. On the strength of its success, the principle of Paris Calling was adopted by the French Consulate in Los Angeles and the Institut Français when they staged a similar event, Paris/Los Angeles, in 2012.

Paris in Berlin

The Bureau of Visual Arts at the French Embassy in Berlin was the inspiration for Berlin/Paris, an event that consisted of pairing Paris and Berlin galleries, with each exhibiting the other’s artists for a two-week period. The initiative was designed to strengthen partnerships between different structures and create closer links between two major centres of contemporary artistic creation.

Public-private partnerships

The Ministère des Affaires étrangères also encourages the consolidation of public-private partnerships. This takes two forms:

  • bilateral funds to which France and its partners contribute with private funding. An example in the United States is Étant Donnés, the French-American Fund for Contemporary Art that has made it possible to develop French projects across the United States on a scale that would have been unthinkable if dependent on Embassy funding alone.
  • the Marcel Duchamp Prize launched in 2000 as part of a partnership between the Association for the International Diffusion of French Art (ADIAF), a group of collectors, and the Centre Georges Pompidou. This prestigious prize is awarded to a contemporary French artist or artist living in France. The aim of the prize is to raise the profile of the French contemporary art scene worldwide. The Institut Français and the French cultural network abroad have scheduled a number of events to highlight this initiative. In 2011, for example, the works of some of the past prizewinners were exhibited at the Mori Museum in Tokyo and later in South Korea.
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Nuit Blanche à Metz (© Nuit Blanche Metz)

Update : 16.01.13