The MAC/VAL has invited the Frac Île-de-France to celebrate its 25th birthday in Vitry-sur-Seine by way of a completely new experience: for the duration of the summer they will join forces, with the Frac’s entire collection being shown at the MAC/VAL while the museum’s own collection is given a facelift. The collection will appear before us freed from any thematic constraints, providing the opportunity for an in-depth review of the works (almost 900 by more than 400 artists), which will be displayed in the MAC/VAL’s huge 1,350-squaremetre space. This is a rare opportunity to view a broad artistic heritage.
The ﬁrst interesting aspect of this exhibition is that it demonstrates that a Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain and a museum can work well together. Although they have different missions, they have many aims in common, in particular that of sharing a vision of the contemporary landscape with the general public through the creation of their own collection.
Although the Frac collection travels a great deal, however, it is never displayed in its entirety and rarely in museums.
The second interesting aspect is: wow, the Frac Île-de-France has all that! And you will be able to see everything (or almost). You will see works by artists who are also represented in the MAC/VAL’s collection and works that are related: although the two collections are very different, they nonetheless cover the same terrain and period. And they both have the particularities of a public collection, with masterpieces rubbing shoulders with unknown pieces.
The third interesting aspect of this project is the partnership between the director of the Frac and the head of exhibitions at the MAC/VAL: for this one exhibition there will be two organisers, who decide to exhibit everything – or almost. And from this ‘almost’ arises the question of selection, negociation, the material part and the accursed part. It is a broad selection, in which major works are juxtaposed with all the others. And yet the very ﬁrst question asked was: how do we display an entire collection? It was decided to display the Frac’s storeroom collection as it is in reality, covering the same area in the same conﬁguration. Consequently, racks, packing boxes, and other storage and conservation material will be displayed.
So what exactly will we see given that little is visible of works in storerooms? The organisers (Frank Lamy and Xavier Franceschi) have made a selection, in the form of a four-part scenario, deciding to spotlight certain works, bringing them out of the storeroom at four different moments during the exhibition. A game of hide and seek is thereby instigated which tells a story and sets up a dialogue with a particular work.
Some pieces will be present throughout; others will return to the storeroom for a while— the exhibited storeroom. What happens will be roughly as follows: a sculpture by Bertrand Lavier will emerge from a container, a photograph by Lynne Cohen will come out of its packaging, an exhibition module by Didier Trénet will materialise, a work by Tony Cragg will arrive, forging a dialogue with an ephemeral sculpture by Michel Blazy, which will resonate with a picture by Sylvie Fanchon; then a François Morellet will come out of its case, followed by a Jacques Monory and an installation by Nathalie Elemento. One work will replace another, throwing into relief the next one, and so on… To give a complete list would be a laborious task, because everything will be there, in the room. And viewers will be invited to witness all this. They will be able to see what they never normally see, to witness a journey from storeroom to exhibition that is usually concealed, to weave meaning from one work to the next and imagine what remains hidden from view but physically present.
In fact, the history of the organisers’ choices will unfold live, as will some of the goings on that normally take place behind the scenes in a museum. Thus a collection in its entirety (or almost) is laid bare.
Muriel Ryngaert, curator of education and cultural program