Dear Eric de Chassey,
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,
Dear future and former students, dear friends,
Welcome and congratulations to all of you who will write a new page of a history of more than 3 centuries, marked by the greatest, from Debussy and Fragonard to Yan Pei-Ming or Magic Malik, and symbol of the cultural influence of our country.
In three centuries many things have changed. Except perhaps the astonishing beauty of this high place of culture and memory which, on its Mount Pincio contemplates the Roman splendors stretched at its feet.
Conceived by Ferdinand de Medici as a place of beauty and reflection, it is today open to the city that it overlooks not to move away from noise and fury but to contemplate it better.
The academicism of which it has long been the refuge has given way, thanks to the will of Malraux and on the impulse of Balthus, to creation in what it has most audacious.
This audacity is yours, former and new residents of a house that will celebrate its 350th anniversary in 2016 while each day forging a new acuity. It is also an opportunity for me to greet in this capacity Giorgio Agamben, the new Prix de Rome nominated in 2014, who agreed to accompany the residents on this past year, by his reflection and his openness to political philosophy, which could only inspire the Villa.
It is indeed under the sign of openness that the Villa Medicis is placed since the reform of the Colbert mission committed by Eric de Chassey and conducted at the request of the ministry: opening to foreign artists, opening to young creation with a new category of residents: the young graduates of our schools, who are now joining you, and opening to new disciplines, testifies to this street art, which is represented for the first time this year.
In his Rome Journal, the late Pierre-Jean Rémy, who was director of the Académie de France in Rome, said of the boarders that they are these happy few to which Stendhal addresses his works. A community of passionate souls who speak the same «language of these beautiful places which have no such language in the world» as the author of the Charterhouse of Parma.
This happiness, I don’t want it to be rare and just the fact ofhappy few I want it generously shared. That is why, as you may know, a few months ago I launched a project to prefigure a new Villa Medici in Clichy-Montfermeil. This new place, symbol of artistic renewal and cultural innovation, depository of the image of French excellence linked to the international aura of the Roman Villa Medici, will be at the heart of my action in the coming months.
This does not detract from the Roman adventure, on the contrary, it gives it a particular resonance. On the heights of Rome will answer the towers of Clichy-Montfermeil and instead of Rome, the City that will extend as far as the eye can see at their feet, it will be these territories of our Republic that I hope will be at the heart of our country’s cultural ambition.
Malraux wanted to open Villa Medici to the city and the world, I want to make excellence and beauty the best shared principles of our Republic.
Pierre-Jean Rémy said that at the Villa Médicis, the happiness is requirement. It is therefore a triple commitment that brings us together today: that of the State at the service of training and artistic creation, that of the Establishment, to accompany you, and yours, that of contributing to the activity and the influence of the Académie de France. A commitment that I now invite you to sign.
The 2015-2016 class of Villa Medici residents consists of:
Adina Mocanu and Alexandra Sand
Frédéric Malek and Mathieu Kendrick (aka Lek & Sowat)
Fabrice Denys (aka Fantazio)
Jackson Fourgeaud (aka Jackson)
Design and crafts
Film Script Writing
History and theory of the arts
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem
Scenography, direction and choreography