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PLACEText: Valérie Douniaux

Located in Tourcoing, near Lille, in the North of France, Le Fresnoy is conveniently settled at the crossroads of Brussels, Paris or London. From 1905 to the beginning of the 1970’s, it was a very popular entertainment complex, with a huge movie theatre, a famous ballroom, a roller-skating rink, wrestling matches… It is now a worldwide famous “contemporary art studio”.

Le Fresnoy
© Le Fresnoy

Bernard Tschumi, architect of the new Fresnoy, restored the old structure and encased it in a contemporary building, like boxes in a box. The “in-between” space, where one can walk on a gangway across the ancient tiled roofs and under the new steel roof, strikingly redefines the concepts of interior and exterior. At the same level, the restaurant “Le Festival” offers fusion and Mediterranean inspired food at a reasonable price. When the weather permits, it is possible to enjoy a drink on the metallic landscaped terrace.

© Le Fresnoy

First described as an “electronic Bauhaus, an IRCAM of the visual arts”, or a “hi-tech Villa Medicis”, the school of Le Fresnoy has developed its own identity and proved the excellence of its interdisciplinary teaching program, mixing photo, video, cinema, sound and music, multimedia and digital techniques… Its founder and director, Alain Fleischer, has taught in prestigious schools and is himself a perfect example of a multidisciplinary artist and thinker. During two years, the students, coming from all over the world, receive the advices of renowned French and international guest artists, who participate both as professors and as creators. From autumn 2012, the school will offer the opportunity to prepare doctorates in partnership with international universities.

© Le Fresnoy

But Le Fresnoy is not merely a school. It has remained faithful to its vocation of being a public place. On its 8,000m2, visitors can discover exhibitions, see movies and performances, listen to concerts or even dance tango during special evenings! There are three exhibitions presented each year, one being dedicated to the works of the students (Panorama). All of these exhibitions are entrusted to renowned curators; catalogs are published and are available at the bookshop. A public library is opened to the students as well as to outside visitors.

The two movie theatres display the students’ works, but also a large selection of recent international movies. Le Fresnoy runs a program in collaboration with the Cinémathèque Française, and annually presents the winners of the Montréal International Festival of Films on Art. Prestigious symposiums are also regularly organized.

Le Fresnoy
Address: 22 rue du Fresnoy, 59200 Tourcoing, France
Opening Hours: 14:00 – 19:00 (Friday and Saturday till 21:00)
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Tel: +33 (0)3 2028 3800

Text: Valérie Douniaux

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