a unique space for creation
Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains welcomed its first class of students in October 1997. Designed by the Franco-American architect Bernard Tschumi, its structure incorporated and preserved the spaces of an old popular dance hall and entertainment centre, Le Fresnoy, from which it takes its unofficial name.
Located in the northern French town of Tourcoing, at the heart of Greater Lille, equidistant from Paris, Rotterdam and London and close to Brussels, it stands in a region commonly recognised as one of the major European crossroads. In October 1987 the French Ministry of Culture (Délégation aux Arts Plastiques) entrusted the conception of a future centre for advanced artistic and audiovisual training to Alain Fleischer, who is now its director. After several phases of expert appraisal and validation, his project was given final approval by the then Minister of Culture, Jack Lang, and classified as one of the government’s Grands Travaux (major projects). During its gestation period, the Studio national was described as an electronic Bauhaus, an Ircam of the visual arts and a hi-tech Villa Medicis. Looking beyond these rather simple slogans, the mission of Le Fresnoy is to complement and complete France’s existing artistic and audiovisual training structures by offering a pole of excellence whose teaching programme puts the emphasis on interdisciplinarity, the production of full-scale works using professional equipment, a lively teaching staff including a regularly changing faculty of visiting professors who are also renowned French and international artists and, finally, a two-year programme that leads students from the traditional tools and languages of modernity (cinema, photography, video, sound and music) to the world of contemporary technologies (multimedia and digital resources). This multi-and cross-disciplinary training in production and creation is underpinned by a programme of lectures and workshops covering theory, history and technique and by a pro-active approach to showing and touring the works produced. Thus not only does Le Fresnoy put on its own programmes and exhibitions during its annual Panorama event, but works by its students are shown at numerous biennials and festivals to which the Studio national is invited, as well as at French and foreign cultural institutions linked with Le Fresnoy through exchange programmes or in the framework of tributes to the work of its young artists.
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Panorama 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9/10 - 11 - 12 - 13