The Frac Normandie Rouen, founded in 1983, has since 1998 been based within a former industrial building located in Sotteville-lès-Rouen. This building features an exhibition space of 400 sq. m. split over two levels. Each year the Frac holds three exhibitions here – one devoted to an established French or foreign artist, another focussing on one of the prominent mediums of the collection, and the ‘Inventory’ exhibition, based on the idea of exhibiting works in the order in which they entered the collection.
Each exhibition is coupled with a comprehensive programme of events, such as concerts, public lectures, encounters and hands-on workshops. The building also boasts an educational space dedicated to these events and to the reception of school or non-school groups.
Alongside these exhibitions onsite, the Frac disseminates its collection throughout the region, showcasing it through a theme-based approach linked to the land and heritage of Normandy. On the strength of its involvement at local level, the Frac has also developed a range of initiatives to present works from its collection all year round in a wide variety of venues, including schools, hospitals, universities, opera houses and drama centres.
When I was appointed director of the Frac in 2010, I decided to try and offer the public a more historical and scientific approach to the collection by creating the ‘Inventory’ project. This involves exhibiting, on an annual basis, part of the collection according to the inventory number of the works, which corresponds to their order of arrival into the collection. This long-term initiative is an opportunity to explore the rationale and structural dynamic of the collection; to consider the significance and now historical dimension of a holding usually focussed on the art of the moment.
I also wanted to showcase the mediums that featured most widely in the collection through large group exhibitions. Photography was celebrated in 2012 with the exhibition ‘Learning Photography’, and once again in 2020 with ‘Photography Tested by Abstraction’; in 2014 it was the turn of artists’ books and publications with the exhibition ‘Bibliologie’; in 2015 works on paper were honoured with ‘Fabriquer le dessin’ in conjunction with the collections of modern and vintage drawings of the Musée André Malraux (MuMA) in Le Havre and the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen; and posters with the exhibition ‘Poster’ in 2017.
Moreover, every year I ask an artist to present their work in the manner of a retrospective exhibition at the Frac. Among the many photographers of all nationalities who have been invited are the English artist Darren Almond, Geert Goiris of Belgium, Gilles Saussier and Isabelle Le Minh from France and the American visual artist Anne Collier. Following these solo shows, the Frac has acquired some photographs and launched some publications. It seems very important that these retrospectives, which offer an in-depth look at an artistic approach, should leave an imprint on our collections.
And finally, we disseminate the collection extensively at regional level each year through a number of innovative projects such as ‘Le Frac à…’ (A Frac for…), ‘Une œuvre, un établissement’ (One work, one institution) and ‘Un espace, une œuvre’ (One space, one work). We also organise exhibitions with a significant local focus, such as ‘Les Maisons des Illustres’ (The Houses of the Illustrious) or ‘La Route des Abbayes’ (The regional abbey route). These theme-based itineraries are a unique opportunity to allow our artworks to interact with the wealth of Normandy’s heritage.
Véronique Souben is an art historian and curator. Since 2010 she has been director of the Frac Normandie Rouen, where she has presented the first solo exhibitions in France of international artists such as Darren Almond, Michael Sailstorfer and Anne Collier and has developed a collection-focused programme, specifically through her ‘Inventory’ initiative. She was previously involved with a number of cultural institutions in France and Germany, including the Centre Pompidou, the Centre d’art (CAC) in Meymac, the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin and the Marta Museum for Contemporary Art – Herford, whose 2005 inauguration and cultural agenda she helped manage with its director Jan Hoet.
Scenario 1: Body, colors, materials
From 13 March to 09 May 2021
Scenario 2: Plan, Image, Sequence
May 10 to August 15, 2021
Deux scénarios pour Une collection presents an exhaustive panorama of the works recently acquired by the Frac Normandie Rouen by proposing two successive hangings whose articulations and approaches can be linked to two distinct scenarios.
The exhibition displays nearly 150 works produced by 62 artists. Among the works exhibited, many fall under the major axes of the collection such as the environment through built space, territory, nature; the body in its aesthetic dimension, social, political, but also media and performative, or narrative in disruptive forms related to books, writing, image, installation.
To celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Gustave Flaubert, the FRAC Normandie Rouen proposes, throughout the year, an original series of exhibitions dedicated to the work of the great writer native of Rouen on the territory
Gathered under the title «Déjouer Flaubert», all these exhibitions, conceived from works from the Frac collection, invite to revisit the major themes that mark the novels of the famous author. Rather than illustrating, a practice that Flaubert had little taste in, it is through each of these presentations that we must overturn, to give a deliberately off-beat lighting, a reading of the literary singularities of the famous novelist, in order to better highlight its topicality.
de la série Collision
Fujiflex digital print, encadré.
160 x 121,9 cm.
Achat à Thomas Dane Gallery
Collection Frac Normandie Rouen. © Droits réservés.
La photographie à l'épreuve de l'abstraction, ed. Hatje Kantz (2020)
La Photographie à l’épreuve de l’abstraction explore les multiples facettes que revêt la notion d’abstraction dans le champ de la photographie contemporaine. À partir d’une analyse approfondie des oeuvres et de textes de fond de spécialistes, cet ouvrage propose de révéler les enjeux de cette pratique, amenant à revisiter les prémices de la photographie dans ses aspects les plus scientifiques jusqu’à ses développements les plus récents impliquant les hautes technologies. Ici, des artistes de renom tels que Stan Douglas, Zoe Leonard, Thomas Ruff et Barbara Kasten rencontrent des photographes de la jeune génération comme Laure Tiberghien, Sebastian Riemer, Anouk Kruithof ou encore Hannah Whitaker et participent à l’éclosion d’un univers visuel inventif et captivant.
Ce catalogue accompagne la triple exposition conçue dans le cadre du festival Normandie Impressionniste et présentée simultanément au Frac Normandie Rouen, au Cpif et au Micro Onde - centre d'art de l'Onde.
Frac Normandie Rouen
3 place des Martyrs-de-la-résistance
76300 Sotteville-lès-Rouen, France
T. +33 (0)2 35 72 27 51