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THE LAM (LILLE METROPOLE MUSEUM OF MODERN, CONTEMPORARY AND OUTSIDER ART)

PLACEText: Valérie Douniaux

The LaM (Lille Metropole Museum of Modern, Contemporary and Outsider Art), is not exactly situated in Lille, but in the close-by city of Villeneuve d’Ascq. It was created in 1983, to host the Masurel donation, an exceptional collection of cubist art (with important paintings from Picasso, Braque, Fernand Léger, Laurens… ) and of works from such artists as Andre Derain, Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Masson, Joan Miró or Modigliani.

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External view of the new wing of the LaM – Lille Metropole Museum of Modern, contemporary and outsider art, Villeneuve d’Ascq (France) – by architect Manuelle Gautrand. Photo: Max Lerouge / LMCU. © Manuelle Gautrand Architecture.

Set in a quiet garden of sculptures, the museum is part of a vast public park, with lakes and woods, where people enjoy to stroll or picnic on week-ends and holidays. The museum’s building is a low construction of northern traditional red bricks, mixed with concrete. But it also shows some influence of Mediterranean architecture, most notably in the flat roofs, as its architect, Roland Simounet, was born and spent many years in Algeria.

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View of the LaM – Lille Metropole Museum of Modern, contemporary and outsider art, Villeneuve d’Ascq (France) – and of its garden of sculptures. On the front : group of three figures (detail) by Eugène Dodeigne, 1986. © Adagp Paris, 2012. Photo: M. Lerouge / LMCU. © Manuelle Gautrand Architecture.

A new building was added in 2010, created by French architect Manuelle Gautrand. Discreetly settled behind the main one, it has rounder shapes, like “fingers” following the natural curves of the grass. Each one of these “fingers” opens on the garden, with large windows dissimulated from the outside by a net made of fiber concrete.

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Of one the modern art rooms. .LaM – Lille Métropole Musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut Villeneuve d’Ascq (France) – Works by Fernand Léger, Georges Braque. Photo: M. Lerouge / LMCU.

The new wing is dedicated to the Aracine collection, which was given to the museum in 1999. It is a spectacular ensemble of more than 3500 pieces of “Art Brut” (Outsider Art) from Europe, America and Africa. The collection covers the whole history of this particular kind of artistic expression, from the nineteenth century (with Fleury-Joseph Crépin, Henry Darger, Auguste Forestier, Augustin Lesage, Guillaume Pujolle, Adolf Wölfli…) to present days.

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