Les Prairies

Les Prairies
by Anne Bonnin
Curator of Les Ateliers de Rennes 2012

The Spirit of New Beginnings

The artistic programme was proposed in response to a call which sought to explore the relationship between art and business and art and the economy. The point of departure of my thinking for this edition of the Biennale is the "enterprise", "entreprise" as the French word for business or company, which I chose to interpret literally, in the first instance. An enterprise is 'something undertaken' and it carries the idea of a beginning (Jean-Jacques Rousseau begins his book The Confessions with the words "Je forme une entreprise […]” - 'I am embarking on an enterprise'). This mode of action led me to an empirical method, which shaped the way that I would work with the artists as well as my approach to the context of the Biennale. It provided me with a concrete framework for the artistic programme in that I was able to place it in a tangible setting: indeed I considered Rennes and, in particular, the modern city as constructed since the 1960s.

 

I designed the programme around artists whose work I was familiar with, before broadening the selection and researching other artists. The theme of conquest, which is implicit in the thematic of 'prairies', draws on various sources and could be explained in various ways: appropriating space for a purpose; inventing artistic ways of working with and in a space – including that of the exhibition itself; exploring notions of expanded fields and attitude, given that it is attitude that defines a space. What enterprises can be embarked upon in the hyper-developed world, perceived and represented these days as saturated?

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