Following a tragic accident, Jean-Paul Capitani left us.
As a cultural entrepreneur, a lover of his city and convinced that culture has its place everywhere in public space, he knew the power of arts and education to connect people.
An engineer-agronomist by training, Jean-Paul Capitani is first and foremost passionate about nature and the Camargue for whom the idea of cultural desert is both nonsense and heartbreaking. By meeting Françoise Nyssen who becomes his wife, he transforms this intuition into a mission: to make Arles a beating heart of culture in France.
Together, in 1982, they founded the Passage du Méjan, a place that hosts Actes Sud, but also soon cinema, restaurant, debates and readings. and forty years later remains a cultural lung where the arts mingle and offer themselves with a generosity that is matched only by the hospitality of their home, always open to friends and artists.
A few years later, they pursued this together by creating the Association du Méjan. Thanks to it, the culture vibrates in the Saint-Martin chapel and there is something for everyone, since the baroque is played in jazz and theatre in visual arts. It must be said that Jean-Paul Capitani has no equal for identifying talents and convincing them to come and play or exhibit in Arles. Since the 1980s, young discoveries and well-known artists have been made throughout the year because, for Françoise Nyssen and him, there is no question of closing the doors of culture once summer has passed.
This commitment to a culture that lives and is renewed is finally embodied in the flamboyant success of Editions Actes Sud, which Jean-Paul Capitani has been helping to develop, from the very beginning, alongside Hubert and Françoise Nyssen. In this singular house, a symbol of openness to the literatures of the world and to the new voices that animate it, he practiced all the professions until taking the lead in 2017, a year after the edition of a fifth Goncourt prize.
Open to the four winds of the arts, Jean-Paul Capitani’s career is that of a passionate person who has never ceased to act for the living and to defend the development of culture in connection with nature, far from Paris, by opening to Arles precious spaces of education, creation and sharing.
To his wife Françoise, their children, grandchildren, loved ones and all their friends, I offer my deepest condolences.