Minister, dear Maurice Leroy, Ambassadors, Prefects, Mayors, Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to welcome you to present the project of the Tour Médicis of Clichy-Montfermeil.
A few days ago, I asked journalists to visit the Tower. It is not in a condition to welcome a large audience, but I wanted to make it known, because it is in itself a major asset, a chance which must be grasped: the capacity of reception, the density which it offers are considerable advantages for a cultural equipment, who must be able
receiving from the public, creating more intimate spaces for study and work, and facilitating circulation and exchanges.
Rehabilitated, its exterior redesigned, the Tower will be the symbol of the future of the district and its openness to the world, a symbol of progress and success.
This visit was, I believe, convincing. The coverage by the press was dense and positive, with many articles in the print press, a dozen subjects on radio and television, and a large presence on the web.
This was not won in advance, as this project has a part of utopia that can be confusing. No doubt, once again, it is utopia that will move us forward.
Today I wanted to receive Rue de Valois, with Maurice Leroy, all those who can support the project: intellectuals, artists, managers of cultural institutions and artistic teachings, patrons, representatives of friendly countries. The elected representatives of local authorities already committed to supporting the project, including Xavier Lemoine, mayor of Montfermeil and Olivier Klein, mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois, are also there, and I thank them for their active and decisive presence.
I would also like to thank the representatives of the countries concerned and interested [USA, Qatar, Morocco] for their presence.
Everything invites us to commit ourselves together to achieve this exciting project. It is the symbol of the transformation of the territory of Clichy-sous Bois and Montfermeil and of the cultural ambition of Greater Paris.
The construction of thousands of homes, the urban remodeling that accompanies it, the imminent arrival of the metro, since one of the 56 stations of the Grand Paris metro loop will be located there, a few meters from the Tower, all this will radically change the lives of the inhabitants.
The civic, political and professional commitment of those involved in the development and progress of this territory is also remarkable. I want to pay tribute in particular to the action for culture of its mayors, Claude Dilain now Senator, Xavier Lemoine and Olivier Klein.
This action is old, it has already borne much fruit. Jérôme Bouvier’s initiative to hold two events in 2006, «Clichy sans clichés» and «Des nouvelles de la banlieue» also marked the
spirits. Jérôme Bouvier is the first to have made me discover the Tower and this idea of a Medici villa in the heart of a sensitive area; he is now actively involved in the development of the project. He wishes to play an active role in the future in the association of prefiguration which we will soon set up.
Such a project can only materialize if it is understood and shared by all partners. It must be the subject of a real "co-construction".
At its heart is the welcoming of artists from all over the world and from all disciplines. We will have to be innovative, both in terms of the conditions for selecting artists, and in terms of producing works and mediating with the public. There are many talents who struggle to express themselves and find opportunities in the
territories of major French agglomerations: with the Tour Médicis, the cultural project of Greater Paris will offer a laboratory for all regional metropolises.
Creative residences also deserve to be renovated. Artists know this: their quality requirements and creative protocols are closely linked to the territory that welcomes them. They know that it is more difficult to work in a context where art is not self-evident than in a place where it is immediately legitimate. Artists will not benefit from a
And they will have the ardent obligation to take into consideration all those with whom and for whom we work, in Paris as in Clichy-sous-Bois and Montfermeil. Let’s not kid ourselves: being in residence at Clichy Montfermeil will be more demanding than being a resident of the Académie de France in Rome.
It is also for these reasons that the motivations that will lead artists to come to work in the Tower will be profound, I am convinced. There will certainly play their interest for the contemporary city, for the conditions offered or even for the sharing of art; their desire, also, to verify the capacity of art to exist outside the spaces that are assigned to it. That is why we are all counting on the Tour Médicis team and artists from all disciplines to ensure that these conditions and this requirement can bring out the strongest projects.
There is no shortage of examples in this field; let us remember the Musée Précaire Albinet that Thomas Hirschhorn installed with the Centre Pompidou and the smiling authority of Yvane Chapuis who joined us on this project. We also know that what Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers produced between 2001 and 2009 is a reference for all of us.
In addition to artist residencies, the Tour Médicis project will include a school. Young people are the major asset of this territory! They are a veritable reservoir of energy, creativity and inventiveness. They must be helped to access training in artistic and cultural occupations, in the plastic and visual arts as well as applied arts, heritage and performing arts. These are areas of real opportunity.
I hope that artists will benefit from a stay in Clichy-Montfermeil, and that young people will be able to contribute their own world view, their own experience and their own talents to the training courses to which the artists themselves will contribute.
The project will host a cultural program open to the world with concerts, shows, exhibitions. It will have to be designed to attract the local population and, far beyond, the Parisian and Parisian public.
The road to achieve this project is not without its hazards; it will probably have to be done in stages. The Directorate-General for Artistic Creation and the Secretariat-General of the Ministry of Culture and Communication are already strongly mobilized, as well as the Regional Directorate for Cultural Affairs under the authority of the Regional Prefect Daniel Canepa. Jérôme Bouet and Yvane Chapuis have been carrying out an essential steering and coordination mission for the past three months.
Your support, dear Claude Dilain, dear Xavier Lemoine, dear Olivier Klein, acquired from the beginning, even before I discovered the Tour myself, will be decisive.
Bertrand Delanoë and Claude Bartolone let me know that they agreed with the approach.
Large private companies have been contacted and several have expressed interest. Those of them who are here today know that we are eager to build with them a specific partnership method adapted to each of them. They can find in the Medici Tower a way to develop and enhance their philanthropy.
Discussions were initiated with the Institut Français, the Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux arts, the Cité de la musique, the Centre Pompidou, the Château de Versailles, the Quai Branly Museum, the Ecole nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs, the Ecole du Louvre, the National Heritage Institute, the Centre de formation professionnelle aux techniques du spectacle, the Cité nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration, the Centre d'éveil artistique d'Aulnay-sous-Bois. They continue with others
public institutions, as well as the extremely rich and dense fabric of Paris and Paris cultural institutions.
A school is studying the possibility of organising a course for young people who have received preparation for the Tour Médicis. Other public institutions offer partnerships to offer their stage to artists in residence in Clichy-Montfermeil, to work on the memory of the neighbourhood, or to accompany artistic interventions in the nearby territory. These tracks are very rich: they could make Clichy-Montfermeil a territory of attraction and allow an opening on the Greater Paris to public establishments located in the heart of the capital.
The Tour Médicis project is thus fully in line with Greater Paris, with many other projects that will help make the 1% artistic of the stations of the metro’s large loop a short-term reality.
We will also look for partnerships abroad for the Medici Tower. Large universities, foundations, governments, could enter into long-term agreements for artist residencies. France is in great demand in this field and its cultural image is excellent: we must take advantage of past experiences such as that of the Cité internationale des arts in Paris, which has concluded agreements with some fifty countries. We must do so while preserving the coherence of an artistic project specific to the Medici Tower.
The rehabilitation of the Tower and its subsequent operation will thus give rise to a diversity of funding, public and private, French and international. In this area, we have to imagine a budget scenario that takes into account the economic situation. If I also want to include this project among the major acts of my mandate, it is also
because it can constitute, by its innovation, by its cultural, artistic and social legitimacy in a context eminently linked to the politics of the city, an initiative that can be exemplary of the partnership between the State and the local authorities, between the public and private sectors, between France and friendly countries around the world.
What we are inventing together is an original project, a project that focuses on the future, on youth, on openness to the world, on the ability of artists and art to transform life. This is a project that owes a lot to your trust, and I want to thank you very much tonight.