These strange steel blocks abandoned in Berry Park near the playground… They are … they are … a pair of giant running shoes of 400 kg! Quite simply. Why? Why not! Walking through Rennes means many surprises in a city where street art still arouses astonishment and emotions. Of course, it is good to smile too.
In total, more than forty works of art are placed throughout the city. In public buildings, gardens, terraces or parks, they are the result of a deliberate policy of the City, which buys works of art in a context of urban projects in all neighbourhoods. They are given evocative names the magician, the farmyard, the walking man from their colours, their shapes and their messages, the works sprouting from public procurement illuminate Rennes heritage and daily life in a new light .
Whose is this severed head near City Hall? This is the fountain of Claudio Parmiggiani. Who are these unlearned bathing women on the place de Bretagne? These are the Greek goddesses of Gérard Collin Thiébaut. What of the trees growing spoons and clothes pegs? These are the lindens by Laurent Duthion. This forest of megaliths lined before the FRAC? It is the alignment of the XXI century by Aurélie Nemours.
Walk from artwork to artwork. They form an original tour leading you outside the old centre towards less familiar neighbourhoods worth visiting.
Rennes also highlights street art: graffiti, collages, stencils and stickers. Renowned artists have left their mark. Hunt for Blu’s robot, aliens from Space Invaders and Aryz’s Ostrich. Anyone who wants can paint on the 30 or so walls allowed by the Urban Expression Network (RUE) – including the palisades of the metro. Sometimes freedom of expression spills beyond the scope. It happens. Brez paints faces. War sketches animals. Ali draws mandalas. Mardi Noir glues pixels. Mioshe paints masked birds. Be surprised.
In the heart of the historic and business centre of Rennes, the municipal contemporary art centre is situated in the central Halles market building, built in 1922.
Behind its colourful brick and sandstone façade, the gallery is a demanding and inventive place of artistic creation. It hosts a half dozen exhibitions a year and an associate artist each season. In the three white rooms, fine arts are well represented as is dance, architecture and design.
Open Saturday and Sunday, La Criée aims to raise awareness of contemporary art among the general public. Entrance is free. Take in some culture before picking fruits and vegetables at the market.
The regional contemporary art fund (Frac)
This is the new list of Rennes’ public facilities dedicated to contemporary creation. Moored in the north of the city, the Frac Bretagne evokes a large anthracite ship on a grass ocean. Its bold architecture is the work of Odile Decq. Inside black, red and bare concrete dominate. Vast rooms host original temporary exhibitions, devised from the 4800 works making up the establishment’s collections. Both established and emerging artists of the Breton scene are exhibited here.
On Sunday, the museum provides an appetising brunch. After a visit, free on the first Sunday of every month, enjoy some time in the beautiful Beauregard park, and why not play a game of hide and seek behind the columns of the monumental sculpture by Aurélie Nemours (Alignment of the XXI century).
The name appears in large letters on the walls of the city. WAR is a graffiti artist. He is currently of the most talented in Rennes. Animals are his favourite subject. He paints them by the dozen. Fish, chickens, meerkats, birds, an ermine, a dragonfly; the bestiary of WAR breaths nature into city. In front of the National Theatre of Brittany there grows an amazing poppy. It is an eye-opener. With WAR, art is a safari.