Rennes, land and sea
As a Parisian, Antoinette joined the rue Hoche School of Fine Arts in Rennes in 1999. “I thought to leave once I had graduated, in 2004, but I met Erwan (her partner and also a designer), and finally, I stayed, firstly for him, but also because the city wanted to keep us! The workshop-house, a grant, a research allowance and more all allowed me to explore creative directions.”
Like any district of Paris…
“I quickly made a circle of friends and developed a professional network. Rennes really opens the way for this: there is a veritable human proximity, very pleasant, actually quite similar to any Paris neighbourhood! I managed to keep parts of my Parisian life: I am still a pedestrian and go to work by bicycle, along the Vilaine river, it’s amazing! Strolling to St Helier to see the mills, in the city, continuing further to follow the Bonnets Rouges trail and discover the sculptures of Dewar and Gicquel: the rabbit, chicken, turkey and goose, all really beautiful ! As in Renoir’s film, “A day in the country”, there is nature at the end of the subway line, and more, there is beach and seaside in Saint-Malo, at the end of the line.”
… there to breathe
Antoinette fell in love with Rennes while taking a break from Paris, where she felt suffocated. “Here I have space, I can breathe! Overhead, the sky moves, I feel the wind on my face and I hear the seagulls. Rennes is both land and sea. While still a town, there’s something about the oceanic climate that suits me; it is very comfortable! “
In 2011, one Sunday, Antoinette was playing with some scraps of gold plated chains. By some chance, she created a necklace. Neither craftsman or jeweller, she began to apply her knowledge as a designer to the creation of jewellery. “I set out to find the right materials, the minimum skills; there is a lot of assembly, handy tricks. I work with polyamide, a strong colourful wire, combined with fine gold-plated chain, with semiprecious stones and a Japanese cultured pearl called Akoya. In 2012, I launched my own label, my publishing house called ParisRennes. My ParisRennes collections are hosts to the new showcase of the Museum of Fine Arts dedicated to Breton creators “.
Not surprisingly, Antoinette Parrau’s most beloved places are artists’ haunts. “40Mcube is my personal breath of fresh air! The cultural fabric of Rennes relies on them; they are open to the world, breaking with the image of contemporary art staring at its own navel. They bring the world to Rennes, there are encounters and it feels good! “. Anne Langlois, co-founder and co-director of the place confirms this: “Antoinette follows us in everything we do and vice versa. She is one of the core designers with whom we exchange. ” Then there is the Mathieu Renard’s Endroit Edition: “I find his approach and his work very interesting. The place is a gallery, a bookshop, and a publishing house and as well as being quite an unusual space. He takes risks to highlight artists, and that is rare.” So, this is where the inauguration of the Urban Art Biennal Teenage Kicks took place, and for which Patrice Poch, co-founder, took up his own spray paint and stencils.
Antoinette leads us to another of her favourite places, Mabilay, a building overlooking the Vilaine. “Previously a telecommunications centre, this building is like something out of a futuristic fiction of the 80s. This vision is further highlighted by the artist Bruno Peinado, whose work I love. He is free, creative, playful, generous, and carries with him all his tribe in his flow. The Mabilay golden antenna has become an urban beacon that emits Morse code message and the windows are illuminated by undulations, it’s like a breath, like a computer working at night; it’s beautiful. ” The last stage of Antoinette’s visit is Vivarium, a shared artists association where she poses her lights and tools. “I had the wonderful opportunity to have a workshop in the Vivarium. Of course, I took it! “
“Beyond the Walls” until the beginning of 2017 – during construction work on avenue Sergent Maginot- 40mcube continues work. In 2001 Anne Langlois and Patrice Goasduff launched their structure, called “venue and bureau of contemporary art projects.” Their premise is both simple and benevolent: “Often, it takes up to ten years between the end of art studies and the first exhibitions … We decided to use this space-time to propel young artists into the future,” they say in unison. The idea is to identify and support them by providing them with the technical and managerial skills, produce their works and promote it by presenting it to the public.
40mcube has become essential, and a location renowned all over France. Also, Anne Langlois and Patrice Goasduff invited established artists to join their young protégés. In the meantime, they themselves have been invited to the Champs Libres and the Brittany FRAC. Today the duo is working to successfully complete the three missions most dear to them: exhibitions, art work orders and works of art in public space as well as training. “It is work that requires involvement, because nowadays it is important to understand how an exhibition space help drive society and build the future.” They are one of the important players in the Brittany contemporary art sector.
- 40mcube, 48 avenue Sergent Maginot 35000 Rennes
Unique in France
“In print we trust”, is the slogan of Matthew Fox, founder of the association Lendroit Edition. Unique in France, it is simultaneously a gallery, bookshop and publishing house for printed arts. Nestled in the Cinéville, Place du Colombier, this cultural and artistic UFO is open to all. “We wanted it to be warm and not especially sacred as some galleries can be,” says the master of the house, grinning. Precisely, Mathieu Renard is a bit unconventional and very open to the world, making resolute and genuine choices, such as, for example, being here: “It is the desire to be in Rennes, close to all that is being done, and everything that happens here.”
Very sought out, he never hesitates to take a risk, so attached is he to his editorial: to produce what he loves, to have real contact with the artists, experiment with print, spread and promote the art. His selection has 200 references: “Our catalogue is very eclectic, diverse yet coherent and full of our desire to reach the public.” Furthermore, he considers the status of works of art: should they be signed, numbered or serial? Do they gain or lose value? Mathieu Renard believes they must live, so that everyone can seize them. “I ask people to send me photos of the works they have purchased, or have at home. I called “Our prints in your place / Our publications at home; “I will publish a book about this one day …”.
- Lendroit Edition, 24 bis Place du Colombier, 35000 Rennes
On leaving school, Damien Marchal and Jean-Benoit Lallement, wished to create an independent workplace – excluding public funding – where artists would pool their expertise, equipment and tools. Their association, Vivarium, has become a shared artists’ studio in the Route de Lorient industrial zone. There they transformed a 300 square-metre platform with the help of business patrons such as the brand Sulky.
Vivarium houses – besides its founders, of course, – Antoinette Parrau, Angelique Lecaille, Briac Lepretre and a duo of young artists in residence, Melanie Villemot and Robin Garnier-Wenisch. “It is essential for an artist to have a presence on territory, open to others, to explain their approach. The Vivarium has always worked this way. This helps break the image of the artist trapped in their own little world. Today, the visual artist has a small business to run, including a fiscal and social status. They follow codes, follow the rules and if they do not play this game, they can not rise to public commissions ” says Angelica Lecaille. For two years, Vivarium has worked in this direction. Thus, the Imago project aims to open, at the workshop, the residence for European artists, to integrate young artists for whom it is not always obvious at first, to build a trade, to get exposure, create networks, and stimulate the place.
- Vivarium, ZI Route de Lorient, 29 rue du Manoir de Servigné 35000 Rennes.
Figure of the Rennes underground culture, Frakture, the Marquis de Sade, P38, the Trotskids, The Warts and even the Lamballais Kalashnikov and their singer Dominic Sonic … End of the 70s and early 80s, Rennes’ punk-rock scene is in supernova. The city was named “Capital of French rock music”. It is the universe in which Patrice, a young teen, immersed himself in 1986. For the sound, certainly, but also for its aesthetics: fashion, graphics, concert posters and album covers. A culture was being born. But at a time when there was no internet to reach out, Patrice chose the street and urban art – first stencils, spray painting and then graffiti- to express himself and create an artist’s name, Poch.
He gradually deployed his art with new techniques, he travelled, dug through the archives of photographers and individuals and today continues to highlight this very cherished time, particularly through his collages. These acrylic works on A1 paper (life-size) portray former musicians and are plastered on street corners, the corner of a boulevard, and sometimes hidden deep in an alleyway. They hail the onlooker, call out to the pedestrian, whispering the memory of a time when just about anything was permitted. They are deliberately ephemeral works.
Poch is one of the figures of the Rennes underground, although he denies fleeing renown and being suspicious of superlatives. Because he is doing “what he likes to do” he “runs on passion”, he also publishes discs under his own label, Poch Records, co-organizes the Urban Art Biennial Teenage Kicks and, whenever he can, reforms punk rock era groups for very unique concerts.
Rennes, fascinating architecture
“I discovered several very surprising buildings here, like the Barre Saint-Just, typical of the early 70s; it reminds me of seaside resorts. The work of Martenot is unmissable as is Tabor’s Orangery and greenhouses which now house a gallery. And of course, no visit to Rennes is complete without looking up to discover the mosaics of Isidore Odorico! There’s the Saint-Georges swimming pool, a pure masterpiece of Art Deco, along the way, the fascinating façade of the Masonic Lodge at 24 rue Thiers, then the Rue Joseph Sauveur and avenue Janvier.”