Contemporary art instead of adverts
Three panels, six works, visible 24 hours, seven days a week – the 4X3 project is a free outdoor gallery that has been installed in a public space since September 2019. On panels usually allocated for advertising posters are reproductions of artworks on a scale of 4 metres by 3 metres that catch the eye of passers-by. This novel idea was launched by Lendroit éditions as part of Rennes’ participatory budget, which finances initiatives by residents.
“Since opening on the Place du Colombier in 2014, we have used a panel on our roof to highlight artists. This is a free space, postcards of which we print and give out for free” explains Mathieu Renard, the founder of the Lendroit éditions associations. “The idea of placing a display in a public place already existed, but we wanted to take it further”.
And so, in 2017, at the Rennes city participatory budget, Lendroit éditions submitted its ambitious project, 4X3, “an outdoor editorial project” that brings contemporary art into the city. A simple concept that won votes. After having been pre-selected, the excellent 4X3 idea placed among the three winning projects for the year. A few months later, in September 2019, the project finally came to fruition with three double-sided panels that line the avenue Aristide Briand. This road is close to the Parc Oberthür, which leads to the quays on the Vilaine. Since then, the panels have caused intrigue and do not fail to provoke a response.
“It is a real artistic project that asks questions about occupying public space” says Mathieu Renard. “At the start, the installation had a lot of responses, as the images were made to spark debate. The difference is that usually we go to a gallery or art centre, whereas here we impose images on passers-by. But this is exactly what is interesting about the approach”. For the artists, displaying their work to the general public in the city provides new perspectives. “Artists are very interested in 4X3: the goal is not to decorate the street, but to position their artistic work in an outdoor space”.
A window of art that sparks debate
Interest in the 4X3 project can also be found in the debates that it sparks with residents, curious parties and even the eternally grumpy. This is a constant in the history of contemporary art, which regularly questions the status of artwork, that of the artist and the public’s reception of images. Novelty is largely found in surprise: people do not expect to stumble on a work of art in the middle of the street.
“We all contemplate the choice of images, their meanings and to what lengths we can push provocation,” explains the artistic director of Lendroit éditions, who summarises the terms of the debate with humour: “We were even reproached for adding visual pollution to a public space, when the real question is learning whether people prefer an advertisement for roast beef or images by artists…”
Four artists – two women and two men – to explore
The artists were selected by Lendroit éditions for their works that could be transposed onto 4×3 panels, such as painters, artists, photographers, etc. The criteria aimed for both eclecticism and parity. Every year, four artists (two women and two men) are displayed one after the other for three months. At the foot of each panel is a plaque that gives details about the project and about the artist and their approach. By doing this, Lendroit éditions, an unusual place of culture that is simultaneously an art gallery, a publishing house and a bookshop, is extending its work beyond its boundaries.
- The panels can be found at 75 avenue Aristide Briand, Rennes, just a few minutes from the city centre, whether walking, cycling or by bus (Robidou stop). The 4X3 project is accessible for free all year round. Follow news about the project at http://4x3rennes.fr/
- Lendroit éditions, 24 bis Place du Colombier, Rennes. 35005 Rennes Phone: +33 (0)2 99 01 08 79.www.lendroit.org/