Victorine Grataloup, co-curator of the ¡Viva Villa! festival
Victorine Grataloup was recently appointed director of the Triangle-Astérides art centre at the Friche de la Belle de Mai in Marseille. She is also co-curator of the ¡Viva Villa! festival, which brings together beneficiaries of several iconic foreign residencies: the Académie de France in Madrid - Casa de Velázquez, the Académie de France in Rome - Villa Medici and Villa Kujoyama, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
Updated on 08/02/2023
Could you tell us a little about your career?
After studying social sciences at EHESS, where I obtained a master's degree in curating, I worked in a number of art centres as a curator. In particular at Bétonsalon, at the CNEAI, then at the Palais de Tokyo where I had my first real job, with Jeune Création and the Kadist Foundation. This journey brought me to Triangle-Astéride, having also spent two years working as a freelance curator, which gave me the opportunity to collaborate with the different residencies managed by the Institut français. At the same time, I also worked in the social field, which gave me a lot of food for thought on the question of the social responsibility of art centres.
In a recent interview, you explained that the notion of "hospitality" is for you central to the work that art institutions must carry out for artists and audiences. Could you tell us more about this?
I'm very wary of grand declarations of principle. Of course, I really like the origin of the word "curator", with all that it evokes in terms of the idea of "care". But I find it very difficult to apply it in an institution, which is a place where power relations develop between the different people who work there. The notion of hospitality is therefore not self-evident, although it is a real issue if the missions of an art centre are to be upheld. They must be places where one feels invited to enter. Beyond the artists and their audience, these institutions must be available to the social fabric as a whole, which is far from the case today. It is a genuine work in progress, because we are not currently up to the standard of hospitality that we should be offering. I propose to take inspiration from structures outside the field of art, which are much less intimidating and much better at hospitality than we currently are.
You have just been appointed director of Triangle-Astérides, at the Friche de la Belle de Mai in Marseille. What does that represent for you? What will be the main focus of your work at the head of this art centre?
The Friche is a cooperative that brings together sixty structures. The Triangle-Astérides team, which consists of four people, works within this complex ensemble. To begin with, we are going to set up a somewhat experimental programme of residencies for people from civil society, outside the field of art. The residency is a format that allows us to pay the people we work with and to promote their work. We have thus identified a certain number of central issues, particularly around health and food, in order to set up a programme of joint actions based on reciprocity. These people will intervene regularly at Triangle-Astérides, but equally our team and the artists in residence will visit their places of work, to observe how they operate, what their methods are, and to determine if they can be applied in the field of art. It is important to us that Triangle-Astérides is open to the social fabric as a whole, with a view towards creating interpersonal relationships, going beyond artistic and cultural education programmes that always pose problems in terms of paternalism. If we want to sit around the table and think together about what artistic and cultural production is, we must remove a certain number of boundaries, particularly social ones.
This year you are co-curating the ¡Viva Villa! festival, a biennial event for artists' residencies. Could you explain the specific features of this event?
This festival is organised by the Villa Medici in Rome, the Casa de Velázquez in Madrid and the Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto, intended as a return project on French soil to give an account of what happens in these residences abroad. I am working as resident curator for this edition. It's a special project, with nearly seventy people exhibiting their work, including visual artists but also researchers, craftspeople and writers. So we need a format that allows us to exhibit all these very different modes of creation. In my case, my proposal is based on a book by the ecofeminist philosopher Emilie Hache, Ce à quoi nous tenons. This title appealed to us, because it gives an idea of the multiplicity of proposals that are unfolding around ¡Viva Villa!. Can these residents create an "us"? This is a question that is at the heart of these residency programmes. The question of political ecology is also very present in these artists, craftspeople and researchers' practice. In the past, I have frequently worked with artists in residence in a variety of contexts. It is a form of support that raises very specific questions, since one is in contact with projects, but also with very concrete problems, linked to daily life. Beyond the work, bonds are created between the person and the institution. Once again, this is a question that is at the heart of Emilie Hache's writing: how can work be inscribed in the spaces of everyday life?
Do you have any other news or projects that you would like to share with us?
On 10 February 2023, Triangle Astéride will launch a monographic exhibition of the artist Bassem Saad, presenting his films and sculptures. His work questions the place of struggling bodies in the public space, his starting point being the uprising in Lebanon a few years ago, which he questions in terms of militant affects.
¡ Viva Villa ! festival has been created in 2016 by the Académie de France in Madrid - Casa de Velázquez, the Académie de France in Rome - Villa Medici and Villa Kujoyama.
The Villa Kujoyama is an arts establishment belonging to the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs cultural cooperation network. Falling under the Institut français in Japan, it works in coordination with the Institut français and is supported by the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, its principal patron.