In 2004 during a meeting of the ADFE, several French artist members living in Amsterdam, expressed the need to exhibit their work on a regular basis. During the course of 2005, two exhibitions at the Galerie Art Francophonie, Amsterdam, answered their requirements. Both these experiences resulted in a third salon with an even greater number of artists. The organisation and coordination was taken in hand by Agnès Bompy, Lili Freriks and Ernest Korsak.
The salon baptised “Numéro Zéro” drew together a wide mixture of different styles. In all ten artists exhibited in the photographer Ernest Korsak’s Studio B52. Philip Freriks officially opened the doors at 2.00pm on the 11th November, 2006. The organisers struck again with the “1er Salon des artistes francophone” on the 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th of November, 2007, this time with twenty artists exhibiting.
Through the success of these ventures the author noted the existence of a community of French artists in the Netherlands. In addition, the impressive number of visitors to both salons highlighted an obvious interest in their work above and beyond the frontiers of the francophone community.
The salon “Numéro 2 Festival de l’Alliance francaise 10th to 17th May” planned for 2009 inspires the edition of a comprehensive, durable work presenting these artists; functioning as both a catalogue and an inventory which will, in extenso include all aspects of French artistic heritage in the Netherlands.
With this in mind, “Contemporary French Art in the Netherlands”, is a logical conclusion to a four year period of research and conceptual recognition.
“Contemporary French Art in the Netherlands” brings together French artists living in the Netherlands and showcases their work. Over the years a French community has flourished on Dutch soil. In its ranks numerous artists from different horizons, from the more traditional such as painting, sculpture and illustration to others including performance arts, theatre, composition, photography, cinema, drawing, fashion and of course fine cuisine!
Does a common cultural background make artists through whatever medium produce work in which these common cultural roots show through? Or should one say a cultural background “more or less common”, for it goes without saying that artists from Marseille and Lille do not share an identical cultural base. However, over and above these undeniable formative variances lies an equally undeniable similarity: a common tongue; French.
Which is why the author feels drawing it all together into one publication seems an appropriate way of preserving and recording this heritage.
“Contemporary French Art in the Netherlands”, aims to promote contemporary French art in all its forms – principally but not exclusively- within the Dutch speaking cultural landscape.
The work is directed at the general public, hence its edition in three languages. French, as it is the language of the author’s and artist’s expression; Dutch, as the both the author and the featured artists are anchored to the Netherlands and English, as the international language which will favour the promotion of one and another.
Its legacy will be to have established an inventory of contemporary French art in the Netherlands and to stimulate not only the growing interest for this part of French heritage but also this community of artists whose common links are exile, the sharing of similar cultural origins and linguistic expression.
The proposed contents consist of a series of interviews with the artists of the French community in the Netherlands, coupled with reproductions of their visual works. In addition, the Internet websites of each artist will be made available to the reader to encourage interaction not only between the artists and the general public but also between the artists themselves.