Sometimes a former prison becomes a departmental cultural space, like Gallerie Lympia on the Port of Nice. Sometimes a former morgue becomes a place of creative expression, like Suquet des Artistes; a space rehabilitated by the City of Cannes and inaugurated in 2016 to put on large exhibitions of Côte d'Azur, national, and international artists, besides accommodating local creators. Consequently, a visit can be an opportunity to get into Richard Ferri-Pisani’s or urban engraver Olivia Paroldi’s very pop work. Both rent one of the four on-site workshops and deliver educational assignments to students. The Suquet des Artistes studio part differs from the exhibition space: "The site’s architecture, with rooms and corridors spread over 4,000 m2, prompts the artists we exhibit to create original scenographies," says Hanna Baudet, Director of the Pôle d'Art Contemporain de Cannes. “We are committed to showing young contemporary creation with a strong attachment to painting and its revival, among other things.”
Faced with land pressure and a lack of dedicated spaces, artists also squatted early on in former industrial buildings that had fallen into disuse. “That's how La Station began, taking over an old service station on Boulevard Gambetta in Nice. Likewise, Le Hublot’s first home was the former Saint Jean d'Angély barracks. We’re all based at 109 these days," says Frédéric Alemany, the digital artist at the head of Le Hublot. Concerts, theatre, dance, exhibitions, and video projections, more than 100 artists linked to associations gravitate here, the former municipal abattoirs converted by the City of Nice into a contemporary cultural centre. "We have done a lot of work since 2016 to create connections between structures, with multidisciplinary events like Public Lighting over three days in the summer," says Cédric Teisseire, Artistic Director of 109 and co-founder of La Station, an artist-run space with its own identity. And that's not all: there is Entrepont for live performance, the Antipodes Company for dance, and new events such as this year's Automne de l'Image focusing on photography, video art, and short films. “In total, 9,000 m2 of the former site’s 20,000 m2 are now dedicated to creativity, making 109 the most significant venue in the department," concludes Frédéric Alemany.
By Tanja Stojanov