PARIS (AP) - After a renovation that nearly tripled its size, the revamped Palais de Tokyo swung open its doors Thursday, inaugurating what is now the largest _ and perhaps dustiest _ contemporary arts center in Europe.
The dust is not a mistake. It’s part of an unfinished look meant to inspire artists now allowed to run free within its walls.
The renovation, that cost some (EURO)20 million ($26 million) over 10 months, opened up a dizzying 22,000 square meters (nearly 237,000 square feet) of space. That’s more than three soccer fields.
Visitors stepped with trepidation over the center’s four floors on Thursday, past dusty columns, partially painted concrete and exposed cables.
Was the renovation incomplete?
The unfinished look, so said the center’s President Jean de Loisy, is deadly intentional.
“The landscape here is different from any other center in the world,” de Loisy told The Associated Press. “Nothing is perfectly clean, nothing is perfectly painted on purpose. It is so important in art not to control everything. It’s all in favor of creativity.”
Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand was even more enthusiastic, telling the media he envisaged artists working throughout the space, including “across the windows of the rooms via the stairs and ceilings.”
Wherever artists chose to express themselves _ whether in nooks and crannies, or more conventionally on walls _ one thing is sure: they won’t be pushed for space.
The renovation project opened up the Palais de Tokyo basement: some 16,000 square meters (about 172,000 square feet) of previously unused space that had collecting dust for over 20 years.
It was left empty in 1995 after France’s prestigious cinema school, the Femis, relocated.
A decade of political wrangling culminated in a decision last year to bring the imposing center back to its full size.
Now, the four large, dark screening rooms that were used by the cinema school are again alive with creativity.View Entire Story
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