In 2019, the Institut français in Greece welcomed Lise Chevalier for a first pilot contemporary ceramic research residency in Rhodes at the Auberge de France. The aim of this programme is to create a regional platform for exchanges and innovation around ceramics, in a regional dynamic for the revival of arts and crafts and combining rich local tradition with contemporary creation.
A place steeped in history
This residency is above all about a place: the Auberge de France. Classified as a UNESCO heritage site, this medieval building located in the heart of the fortified city has experienced international exchanges as part of its identity since it was originally the residence of the French Knights Hospitaller. The building was later acquired in 1912 by Maurice Bompard, then French ambassador to Turkey, who offered it to the French state. The Auberge has changed functions throughout history before becoming the headquarters of the Honorary Consulate of France in Rhodes, which has made it a place of Franco-Greek cultural exchanges.
The island of Rhodes itself was an eminent ceramic production centre and a crossroads of exchanges in antiquity, and experienced a renewed boom in the 1930s under the influence of the Italian occupation and the I.C.A.R.O (Industria Ceramiche Artistiche Rodio Orientali / Oriental Rhodian Ceramics and Arts Industry) project: this project aimed to make the island an industrial centre of fine and quality ceramics. Rhodes thus accommodated a true ecosystem around ceramics and crafts, some aspects of which have remained to the present day.
In 2017, the Institut français in Greece and the Honorary Consulate of France in Rhodes wished to make this place doubly loaded with history by hosting a residency of artists promoting the crossover between existing heritage and contemporary creation. A year later, the project was launched with the support of the Institut français and its Fabrique des Résidences (The Residency Factory) programme, as well as a preliminary project by the Manufacture de Sèvres. Renovation of the building was then undertaken to adapt it to artistic practice and to host Lise Chevallier, the first resident artist, between January and March 2019.
A residency combining heritage and innovation
From autumn 2020, three Greek or French artists or residents of the European area or the Mediterranean region will be hosted simultaneously for a two-month residency in the 200 m2 of work spaces at the Auberge de France.
The 2020 winners are Eleonora Saltamanika, Corenthin Thilloy and Nathalie Campion.
- A Belgian artist and florist who works between Brussels and Paris, trained in urban agriculture and ceramics, Nathalie Campion constantly aims to express the power and fragility of the natural world combining the strength of tree stumps with human fragility.
- A graduate in interior architecture, decoration and object design from the Technical University of Athens, Eleonora Saltamanika focuses her research on ceramics, studying traditional techniques and the creation of shapes influenced by construction and decoration techniques.
- A graduate in object design from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art (Higher National College of Art) in Limoges, Corenthin Thilloy works on so-called popular beliefs and customs through antiquated objects reduced to museum icons, attempting to reintroduce magic into our personal and collective practices.
This residency at the Auberge de France in Rhodes will allow them to develop their artistic research and their thinking around ceramics, while immersing themselves in local heritage and techniques. Residents will enjoy special contact with Rhodian heritage: housed in the former Palace of the Grand Masters of the Order of Hospitallers, an annex to the Athens School of Fine Arts, twice a week they will be able to learn about the region’s traditional techniques with a master ceramicist.
In order to foster a broad reflection on ceramics, the residency is not limited to ceramic artists but encourages creators from all disciplines to study the medium.
Auberge de France in Rhodes wishes to become a European bridge between craftsmanship and design, and intends to establish partnerships with other institutions to enrich the momentum in this direction.
The next call for applications will be launched in December 2020 for residencies in autumn 2021.
The Auberge de France in Rhodes is supported by the Institut français as part of the Fabrique des Résidences (The Residency Factory) programme.
This programme assists the French diplomatic network in setting up and structuring residency projects. Learn more about the Fabrique des Résidences programme
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