La Ville au Loin. Frac Centre-Val de Loire,Orléans. 1.4-18.9.16


(The city by now faraway)


Frac Centre-Val de Loire, Orléans - 1.04.2016 / 18.09.2016


As the traditional idea of city is changing and has by now moved away to a distance which tends to cover the whole territory, the exhibition proposes a plunge into the seething life of the city, trying to capture both the intimacy of a street corner and the vastness of cityscapes.

Now that the Earth has become a set of urban proximities, how are these local systems installed, and how do hopes (if any) about what is far away resist and persist? The path of this show is situated in the interstice between these two questions.

The principle behind the exhibition is based on selecting a work from each of the collections of the 22 other Fracs, in dialogue with the collection of the Frac Centre-Val de Loire and the works of African invited artists. In this way the Frac is carrying on its tradition of a place of disciplinary migrations for art and architecture.

The public is greeted by Franco Raggi’s Tenda Rossa., a work that like the collection as a whole, introduces the exhibition in the form of a creative wandering, overlapping as much with painting as with sculpture and architecture.

The visitor, as spectator and actor, walks through the exhibition the way he strolls in the city. The specific position of the individual is at the core of Gianni Pettena’s work Paper/Midwestern Ocean (the work is part of the 49 Nord 6 Est – Frac Lorraine collection). The artist fills a room with stripes of paper which the public cuts in order to make room for itself. The spectator himself becomes therefore part of the work.

A little further on, Eko’Polis, an imaginary city devised by the Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh plunges the spectator into a captivating acoustic world.

“La ville au loin” ends with a fable, Medium total, by Günther Domenig and Eilfried Huth, a tale which imagines an architecture that has become a mutant biological organism.

In this way, through eighty works by artists and architects, the exhibition is a chance for an urban walk both near and far. We come upon a Tower of Babel, a telephone booth, and a skyline of towers.

For the whole period of the exhibition it will be possible to see a video-interview to Gianni Pettena by the new Director, Abdelkader Damani, on the Frac Centre-Val de Loire website.


In the occasion of the Month of Contemporary Architecture, “La ville au loin” is conceived like a narrative in four acts, besides Orléans, in Rouen, Montpellier and Marseille. At the Frac Languedoc-Roussillon, for example, a monographic show is presenting the work of Superstudio, one of the major groups in radical Italian architecture of the 1960s and 1970s. 

Paper/Midwestern Ocean by Gianni Pettena

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