Insights > Thermostat|artistic exchanges between France and Germany
06 Dec 2010

Thermostat|artistic exchanges between France and Germany


Thermostat is a series of joint exhibitions and events presented by 24 French art centers and German Kunstvereine from now until April 2011.

Thermostat is based upon the principle of consolidation of different curatorial approaches and standpoints. It is intended to lead to a mutual enrichment of the participating organizations and their audiences. Ultimately, both the respective organizational forms of Kunstverein and the centre d'art are united in their aim to facilitate, promote, and communicate unusual and new artistic positions.

Thermostat is a symbolic title which underlines the "systemic" character of the institutional network and the energetic exchange between the respective art scenes in France and Germany. Thermostat highlights the valuable contribution and special significance of local art institutions and their position as an interface in national and international discourses.

It can be a platform for many other cultural centres to get together, create and realize joint projects, not only in the field of contemporary visual art, but also in music, performing arts, and so on.

One of the first projects is a series of solo shows by Shannon Bool, Julien Bismuth, Evariste Richer and Matti Braun.
Art lovers had the opportunity to attend the opening of the joint exhibition by Shannon Bool and Julien Bismuth at the CRAC Alsace, near Basel. This joint exhibition will split into two solo exhibitions at the Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst (GAK) in Bremen from mid-November through February 2011.

Meanwhile the first solo show in Germany by the young French artist Evariste Richer opened in June at the Kunstverein Braunschweig, a project of La Galerie in Noisy-le-Sec. Kunstverein Braunschweig will feature a show by Matti Braun in Noisy-le-Sec in December.

Stephen Willats, Kerstin Brätsch, Maya Schweizer and Clemens von Wedemeyer

Badischer Kunstverein Karlsruhe, Centre d'art Passerelle in Brest and Le Quartier in Quimper jointly organized a major solo exhibition by the English artist Stephen Willats, during the fall and winter. Frankfurter Kunstverein and Parc Saint Léger in the countryside of Pougues-les-Eaux exchanged artists, presenting a solo show by Maya Schweizer and Clemens von Wedemeyer in Frankfurt and Kerstin Brätsch in Pougues.

Co-curatorial approaches
One of the objectives of Thermostat is to facilitate international exchange of curatorial standpoints. There are so many things to be learnt like intercultural approaches, ideas and ways of working together. Therefore, curators from Kunstverein Nürnberg and Crédac in Ivry-sur-Seine jointly curated two different exhibitions together, each with the same artists: Thea Djordjadze, Jean-Luc Moulène and Matti Braun. They each were faced with two dramatically opposing exhibition contexts: a former underground cinema buried in typical 60's utopian Brutalist architecture from the Parisian suburbs and a Bauhaus building flooded with light in Nuremberg. Both exhibitions are currently on view.

Site-specific projects
The issue of context is also the driving force underlying the cooperation between Bielefelder Kunstverein, a small, former bourgeois mansion, and the Confort Moderne in Poitiers, a huge disused furniture warehouse. The first project in Bielefeld, opened in November 2010, could be considered as a sketch for the second, which is planned for next spring in Poitiers. The Ecotone project, conceived by Kunstverein Tiergarten, located in the popular Berlin-Moabit district and the Maison des arts Georges Pompidou in touristy Cajarc, also originates from the drastic contrast between the environments of the two institutions.

Confronting new exhibition conditions
Cooperation also means relying on each other, which is the theme of another exhibition. TRUST! is the title of the two exhibitions from Brandenburgischer Kunstverein in Potsdam (opening December) and Synagogue de Delme (currently on view) in Eastern France. The institutions explored the notion of renouncing authority with projects by Latifa Echakhch, David Hatcher, Javier Téllez among others.

Re-thinking the exhibition and its medias

Some partners also share curatorial thoughts. With their project Scores, the CAC Bretigny and the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart consider the exhibition as a concert based on collaborations with Mattin in Bretigny and Beatrice Gibson in Stuttgart. On the other hand, CNEAI in the Parisian suburb Chatou, Halle für Kunst Lüneburg and Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof in Hamburg are organizing Channel TV, a collective project about television since the 60's including a solo show from Simon Denny and two group shows. There will also be one publication produced in collaboration with the French magazine Multitudes. A series of artistic TV programs made by artists in various public areas will also be broadcasted through January.

For more about Thermostat:

More information about Ecotone Project, can be found here (in German):

About the writer:
Florentina Bratfanof has worked in the theatre field in Romania in the past 10 years, first as a Press Officer for ACT Theatre, the first independent theatre in Romania, then as a cultural journalist for an online platform website also about theatre events and projects. She has been involved as well the Press Office of several theatre festivals: the 2008-2009-2010 editions of Romanian National Theatre Festival, Bucharest, Romania; Underground Arad Fun 2009, Arad, Romania; 36th International Festival of Alternative and New Theatre, Novi Sad, Serbia.