La Croix: Why is it important for the Art Culture, Foi / Paris association – of which you are the president – to participate in the Nuit Blanche?
Francois Drouin: The Catholic Church is sensitive to contemporary art. By welcoming the works, she affirms it again. It is also a sign for the artists, these places constitute beautiful cases for their art. Our association acts as the intermediary between the town hall of Paris which selects the works and the parish priest of the church in which the exhibition takes place. All the works do not have a strong spiritual meaning, but we are not looking for works of piety, sometimes the dimension is simply dreamlike and encourages, for example, meditation.
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Is this a way to open the doors of churches to a wider audience?
FD: Obviously ! This initiative aims to allow people who never set foot in a place of worship to discover a work. Some are entering for the first time, this evening is an invitation. Art gives an opening to the beyond. It is all the talent of the artist: knowing how to touch people and make sensitive what he wants to convey.
The work and the place also form a whole in the artistic experience …
FD: Yes, the environment and the place bring the work to life. The silence of a church lends itself to meditation, so we can better look at the work. Whether old or contemporary, we need to spend time in front of a piece of art.
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Ultimately, it requires a frame of mind that approaches that of spirituality. The great advantage of the Nuit Blanche is that the artists are present and can interact with the public. Beyond the relationship that the visitor creates with the work, it also creates a link with the artist.
Which works have particularly intrigued you this year?
FD: Our Lady of Fatima Marie-Mediatrice in the 19e arrondissement of Paris hosts three works linked to Portugal in line with the mission of this parish. But it is also an opportunity to highlight his second mission. During its construction this holy place was indeed to be a votive church of the liberation of Paris and few people know it today! Other works appeal to me, for example we will be able to listen to the song of birds in the church of Saint-François d’Assise, transformed into a forest thanks to a light and sound installation.