The interview. Madeleine Louarn, President of FRAC Bretagne: “I owe modern art”

Madeleine Louarn, currently president of Frac Bretagne, is reconsidering her appointment a few days ago. (©Madeleine Lowarn)

Appointed by the Board of Directors, directed by Madeleine Lowarnoriginally from Finistère, has just signed a three-year term as president of the Rennes-based Regional Foundation for Contemporary Breton Art.

At 65, he continues to direct theater projects through his own company, Catalyze, and Une saison à l’école, while spending time at the Théâtre National de Bretagne, where he is also an associate artist.

for Rennes newshe reconsiders his career, defines his role as president and shares his vision of art in society, especially modernity.

News: You are the new president of the Regional Contemporary Art Foundation. What was your reaction when you heard the news?

Madeleine Louarn: In fact, FRAC is a public institution for cultural cooperation (EPCC) that exists at the initiative of the region, the province and the city of Rennes. It is they who present potential successors to the president, in this case Jean-Loup le Coq, who has already served two terms, which is the maximum allowed.
They contacted me to see if I could, if I wanted to take over.
It was a big surprise for me. I was absolutely proud because it was such an important institution. It is not so early for artists to be the president of such an institution, but it is the choice of the main partners as well as the director of his project.
I must admit that I was not in the game at the start, so I said to myself “Okay…”. But if they thought about me, they probably thought I was the right person for the place, and I was excited to go. It’s not overwhelming, it’s exhilarating.

What was your background for this appointment?

President of FRAC Bretagne: Being an artist, we are lucky that we can always continue our activities like in TNB school. Also, as a collaborative artist, luck is only having the good sides of the job, that is, doing what you love without the burden of responsibility for a production or organization.

My career, I started it today in a CAT (job assistance center) called Esat (Establishment and Service of Job Assistance). I started as a special education teacher. That’s how I discovered theater for men and women with intellectual disabilities. When I finished the school for specialized teachers in Brest, I was hired at Les Genêts d’Or in Morlaix. This is an association that cares for people with mental disabilities. The head of the psychiatric department had just arrived at the institution, which was setting up something close to institutional therapy, where, among other things, clubs were formed for music, dance and even painting. . Then someone mentioned the name of the theater, I said to myself why not, we can try, that’s how it started.

I realized that it was very interesting, but I didn’t know much about it. So I approached the Folle Pensée Theater in Saint-Brieuc to find out.
It has been eight years of passionate work with many creations thanks to the men and women of Genêts d’Or.

Finally, at some point, the switch happened. I decided to leave my special education to go to Rennes and worked as an actress in a company for five years. I returned from time to time to give amateur workshops at Les Genêts d’Or, with which I was connected, but I no longer had an educational function.

During this period of workshops, we did a show called Marat-Sade – Adaptation of a show I’ll spare you the long name – by Peter Weiss, which had quite a strong response in Rennes, Brest, etc. Quite a strong echo, because this is where the Les Genêts d’Or association decided to create a permanent theater workshop for disabled actors. It was an opportunity for me to come back to Morlaix while maintaining my freedom as I set up my company and work on various projects. Thus, we began to carry out a more sustainable, but still passionate business.

I’ve done several theater projects with these people who have difficulty reading, perhaps understanding, but who have quite an original way of looking at things and asking us questions about how to do it. I learned a lot from them. We continued on this path with more seen and heard creations every two years. The last three works were also programmed at the Avignon festival and were a great success. This somewhat justified the fame of this company. We have traveled all over France for 15-20 years.

So, the director’s profession is my profession for 35 years.

How will you use your experience in this new role as president?

President of FRAC Bretagne: I think that my suggestion of being me is a strong enough indication of what the director wants to develop, something more fragile at the intersection of the arts. This is already abundant in contemporary art and visual arts. We always have prints from artists that cross between dance, performance, video, film, maybe a little less text. But I think that my slightly out-of-context journey was very much in line with the desire to look elsewhere, to expand horizons, in other words, to find new ways to meet the audience, to say that art is of interest to everyone, and I’ve lived that all my life.
I think he also wanted a painter, because that’s not common in businesses in general.

What exactly is your role?

President of FRAC Bretagne: I generally do not interfere with the director leading the projects, but rather I am there to coordinate between all the members within the board and representatives of government agencies. Although it is already going very well, it is more binding.
But in these political places there are always arguments about the choices to be made, the director has already started things very well, so I will support all the actions of FRAC and be an ambassador where I can. To support all that has developed and to lend a hand when I can and when needed. I could try to promote FRAC where I could.

Being Finistère was also an interesting choice compared to the regional structure of FRAC, because Brittany is quite large. It remains a way of giving real presence to FRAC, which has no branch in this department of Finistère. I think they are in discussions with the cultural center Les Capucins in Brest, because it is the second city in Brittany in terms of influence. You should know that the director of FRAC, Etienne Bernard, comes from the Passerelle, a contemporary art center of national interest in Brest. So he knows the area very well too. He is someone who knows the Breton area, as well as the national and international structure of contemporary art. Moreover, the interest of this institution is its openness, it covers from small to large.

Videos: currently on Actu

What are your ambitions as president?

President of FRAC Bretagne: Actually, it’s like a bit of a throwback thing, because you can say, for example, everything around art brut, if it wasn’t for the recognition of craftsmanship, I wouldn’t do theater with disabled men and women. the power of people who were not known to have skills in this field until then.
In this respect, visual and contemporary art has evolved more than live performance. I owe a lot to the sector and I’m excited to see how it will take on more substance with people with disabilities.
But more than that, opening up to the public is one of the main elements advocated by Etienne Bernard. I could do with some work on that too.

What is the definition of modern art?

President of FRAC Bretagne: Modern art predates the FRACs. Regarding art brut, dubuffet goes back to 1920-1925, we could almost go back to Dadaism. But we can clearly see that there is an avant-garde trend that is closely related to singing and modern art, which later created FRACs and made conscious the concept of art different from classicism. Bringing the presence of men and women with disabilities into it today is one way to continue to transform the vision. As we know, contemporary art is a real question about how we look and what we see. I find this question terrible and it arises everywhere, certainly in theater over what we understand from the text and so on. it also violates today’s perception of nature, the reality of our world. What is certain is that contemporary art is more than ever connected to the environment, to politics, to the way things are represented.

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