I had the chance to study in Rennes and discover the city for a few years. I know a good place or two for an exhibition or a good galette!
Recently I went back to the Britanny city for the Biennale Les Ateliers de Rennes. Let me give you a quick intro on this event before taking you with me on a tour of the art places.
Les Ateliers de Rennes
It was first created in 2008, thanks to a non-profit, which asked companies to be sponsors of the event. The idea was to create an artistic event, which would be inspired by the links between, art, economy and the corporate world. Each edition explores a new artistic direction with an invited curator. This event creates an interesting dynamic since it is spread out throughout the city. Rennes is neither a big, nor a small city, which means you can easily get around without a car, just using public transport. Also it is only 1 hour and a half away from Paris! So you can do a little weekend getaway or even a day-trip!
Sometimes during an event, especially a major one, not every institution get the chance to be featured. It can be for various reasons, maybe because of a lack of fundings, because the artistic directions are different, or simply an exhibition did not make the cut. So satellites event are organized, even in partnership with the main one. Just like in art fairs with the smaller ones on the side, (like I have explained in my article What is an art fair?).
Remember what FRAC are? Here is the one for the Brittany region. Take at least an afternoon to visit the place. The exhibition space is big with amazing shows and they have a cute little café inside for a break. I know the sky does not appear welcoming but rainy days are good for museums! Let’s keep the sunny ones for the outdoors terrace and people-watching… The architecture is by Odile Decq.
Musée des beaux arts (Fine arts museum)
Created in 1794 it was damaged during World War II and rebuilt in 1957. At the same time they started acquiring new works for the collection. Now you can also find art of 20th and 21st century. Its peculiar architecture was firstly made to host a university. Here is a list of artworks you can’t miss during your tour!
The art centers
40m Cube is many things, an art center, a place to produce art and a ressource place. Indeed not only there you will see great contemporary art exhibition and have access to education activities. They also organize training and talks for artist, to assist them in their practice. You can reach it easily by feet or by bus from the central place République. Created in 2001 it is an historic place, deeply involved in the contemporary art scene and recognized beyond the borders of France.
La Criée is also an art center dedicated to exhibitions, production and interaction. Located in the city center, it is hidden away near the Halles.
Phakt, is a little bit different. It is a cultural center, its actions are focused towards locals and inhabitants of the neighborhood. It can presents contemporary art exhibition but it also ventures in other type of activities related to history and culture.
Galerie Art & Essai, Université Rennes 2
Quite an unusual place, a gallery located within the public university. Students of a Master in curatorial studies organize all the exhibitions. They also do communication, guided tours and logistics. You will have to take the subway to get there but it is definitely worth it.
You have waited for it and you got through the post, yay for you! Here are my recommendations on where to see art, where to eat out in Rennes, France.