For the last few weeks posters all over Paris (curiously absent from the neighbourhood itself) announced the opening on Saturday, 11 October of the 104 (or CENTQUATRE). For the uninitiated, it seemed mysterious, but it was not for the many who had been waiting for the day ever since the Paris Town Hall decided to convert this space, located in the far reaches of the 20th arrondissement, from the Municipal Funeral Service (until 1997) into an ambitious cultural flagship. After two and a half years of work to the tune of 100 million Euros, the public was finally able to discover the new multidisciplinary artistic facilities during Open Day. Ironically, the doors did have to be shut due to crowds.
What is the CENTQUATRE? First and foremost, it is a splendidly renovated space, with iron and brick architecture typical of 19th century industrial buildings, majestic glass roofs and a wide alley linking rue Curial and rue d’Aubervilliers. It is a huge 39,000 m² (419,792 sq. feet) bright space with harmonious dimensions, built in the heart of an underprivileged neighbourhood with its housing estates and 17% unemployment rate. On the whole, it is a magnificent work environment with 18 artist’s studios where resident artists in all disciplines share their experiences and interact for one to twelve months. It is already a great success: the last call for applications drew a response of 3200 projects from around the world.
A hive. The inauguration program was busy on Saturday: besides the long-awaited concert by trip hop icon Tricky, who played to a full house, there were many pieces on display. Large format colour photographs by Stéphane Couturier who captured the transformation of the CENTQUATRE on film during the work (Melting Point), a bogus boutique by Johanna Korthals Altes and Adrien Rovero (I love 104), Seven minutes before, a video by Mélik Ohanian made up of seven sequence shots simultaneously projected on seven screens, a curious twilight symphony shot against a mountain landscape, and very slow, melancholic and strong videos by Anri Sala (Why the lions roars), which vary according to outside temperature, etc. In the abundant offering, some works seduce, others disappoint, such are the rules of the game.
Neighbourhood involvement. CENTQUATRE’s directors, Frédéric Fisbach and Robert Cantarella of the theatre world keep repeating that although there are two venues the CENTQUATRE “is not a live performance space”, but rather an artistic wildland meant to be an open air factory where works have the mission of being in tune with their social, cultural and urban environment. Thus, next year’s film residents, Fleur Albert and Laurent Roth will write their feature film Mehdi, with neighbourhood crack addicts. The CENTQUATRE is betting on the diversity of arts, people, services (a bookshop, a café, a restaurant and a boutique are planned for early 2009) amateurs, professionals… and stars: Lou Reed will be giving a reading on October 20th. That’s what is called being off to a good start.
View the video of the 104 when it opened for a special preview weekend on December 29-30, 2007 here.
104 rue d’Aubervilliers / 5 rue Curial
75019 Paris FRANCE
From Monday to Sunday, 12:00 am - 7:00pm
- Tel: + 33 (0)1 53 35 50 00
- Fax: + 33 (0)1 53 35 50 06
- Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
CENTQUATRE is opened every day of the week
From Tuesday to Saturday: 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Sundays and Mondays: 11:00 am - 8:00 pm