Mr Secretary-General of the Council, dear Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen,
Dear Clément Beaune, Secretary of State for European Affairs,
Dear Philippe Leglise-Costa, Permanent Representative of France to the European Union,
Dear Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes,
Dear Eva Nguyen Binh, President of the French Institute,
Dear Hervé Lemoine, Director of National Furniture,
Dear Adeline Rispal,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to be here with you to inaugurate these wonderful artistic and scenographic installations that will dress the buildings of the Council of the European Union, as is the tradition, throughout the French presidency.
From the cunning of Penelope to the masters of Flanders, from the royal tapestries of the Goblins to those of Bohemia, weaver art has always animated the imagination and the commercial life of our continent. It is the vehicle of particularly fruitful technical, economic and cultural exchanges, which reflect the tastes and sensibilities that Europeans share.
With «The Fabric of Europe», the Council is endowed with a magnificent creation, full of symbols, which is freely inspired by our ambitions and our vision for our European presidency.
First of all, I would like to congratulate the Ateliers Adeline Rispal, architects and scenographers, the irresistible Si-Studio, a design and graphic design agency, and Les éclaireurs, a light design agency.
Together, and with the help of the French Institute, they have produced a powerful work that celebrates the creativity of Europe and Europeans, while offering an ambitious metaphor for our humanist project.
The layout of the Europa and Justus Lipsius buildings illustrates the excellence of French creation and its ambition to spread throughout Europe and beyond. It is also an invitation to build together a united and sustainable European recovery.
This emblematic project was chosen after a competition organised by the General Secretariat for the French Presidency of the European Union.
No less than 12 applications have been received, a figure which reflects the interest of our creators in the European artistic scene and in the project of our Union.
«L'Étoffe de l'Europe» is investing from today and for six months, no less than 7 dedicated spaces of the two Council buildings, from halls to reception rooms, including elevators, corridors, and even offices. Marked by the diversity of media, it has in particular two masterpieces that mark the high point of this artistic development: the monumental textile installation of the Atrium of Justus Lipsius, and the data-weaving fresco of the Forum Europa.
Between tradition and modernity, at the crossroads of art, craftsmanship and technique, these two monuments will mark, durably, I know, all those who discover them.
In the colours of the flags of the Member States, the threads of warp extend to trace the history of the European Union, while the flags of the Member States which presided over the Council of the European Union ensure the fabric of it, and thus the cohesion of the whole.
Signed by the French Presidency, this motif embodies the crossed destinies of Europeans and the power of their collective. It is available in all facilities, on mediums and plastic treatments of a very wide variety.
It enters into dialogue with many new works, commissioned from exceptional creators, such as the original digital and sound work Aour Europe, directed by Jacques Perconte, but also with pieces from the Mobilier national such as the works of designers Philippe Nigro, Ligne Roset, Olivier Gagnère and Maximum.
Beyond its artistic requirement, I would like to emphasize the strong environmental bias of «The Fabric of Europe».
Indeed, all of this development obeys the principle of reuse, short circuit, and sustainable materials. One example is Jeanne Goutelle’s line of screens, where trimmings were made from industrial waste.
I am also very happy with the large share given to the young French artistic creation in this ensemble.
Thanks to the exhibition Décors et paysages, curated by Lola Meotti, whom I thank for her commitment, ten young French artists, who have in common their training in Belgium and their great talent, see their unpublished works exhibited in symbolic and prestigious places: six of them in the Justus Lipsius building, and the other four in the European Parliament, in the Leopold space.
2022 will definitely be the European year of youth, arts and culture!
«The Fabric of Europe», in all its ambition and diversity, is also the starting point of cultural programming for the French Presidency of the European Union.
In addition to the many institutional events planned, a dozen emblematic projects will give substance to and beat the rhythm of the great European momentum to which we invite you all.
From «L'Étoffe de l'Europe» to the literary project of the Grand Tour, led by Olivier Guez, of the choreographic work Danse l'Europe! from Angelin Preljocaj, to the Night of Ideas and the Café Europa 2022 project, France intends to bring Europe of culture to life in all member countries.
In our territory, no fewer than 100 events are planned, carried out by public institutions under the Ministry of Culture, local authorities or associations.
Over the next six months, culture will play a decisive role in strengthening the bonds of heart that unite us all as Europeans.
I wish you all an excellent French Presidency of the European Union, rich in artistic emotions and sharing!
The filmed speech of Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Minister of Culture, on the occasion of the development of the artistic installations of the Council of the European Union, is available HERE