© point éphémère
Le Goff & Gabarra design
Point Éphémère is a center for the arts located in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, in the former construction material store, Point P, on the canal Saint Martin. Its objective is to welcome the public, carry out active involvement throughout the city, and provide a location for an artist-in-residency program. It is lead by the team of Usines Ephémères which has been converting run-down and unused buildings into temporary artistic spaces for twenty years.
This dynamic center for the arts opened on October 13th, 2004. It provides the necessary means for artist residencies (visual artists, musicians, dancers, scenographists) and the tools for public recognition of their work.
The building is shared among Point Ephémère, the fire station of Château-Landon, by the House of Associations of the 10th arrondissement.
From the beginning, Point Ephémère has accommodated artists in spaces devoted to residency (4 artist studios, 1 dance studio, 5 music rehearsal studios), and offered a large programming of exhibitions, public openings, concerts, evening performances, conferences, workshops, unusual happenings…
Point Ephémère occupies 1400m2 of the former building known as Point P.
Opened in 1922, its first owner dedicated this art deco building, made of brick and concrete, to trade. This former dock which took part in the industrial life of Canal St Martin has distinguished itself since its opening with its progressive nature.
The entrepreneur Suchet even equipped the building with a playground and a ball room, in response to the needs of his employees and the inhabitants.
Robert Sabatier describes it well in “Les allumettes suédoises” (Swedish matchsticks).
Point Ephémère is lead by a team of about thirty people (coordination team, technical team, catering team).
The bar-restaurant is managed by the association.
The 4 artist studios and the dance studio are reserved for residency. Artists are chosen by committees composed of professionals from each disciplines, for a maximum period of 6 months.
The music rehearsal studios and the dance studio (for lessons) are offered for rental.
The programming and actions of Point Ephémère are discussed during regular meetings with a follow up and evaluation committee, composed of members of the 10th and 19th arrondissement councils, animation center directors, association presidents, and elected members of the Paris City Council and the City Hall of the 10th arrondissement. This committee (~25 members) has an advisory power which enables them to verify the relevancy of Point Ephémère’s actions, allowing for well thought-out work.
It was with noise, sound and music that Point Ephémère first began to make a name for itself. The artistic policy is centered the combination of discovery, adventurousness, with event-concerts and clubbing. From the very beginning, Point Ephémère has set rigorous musical standards to guide its programming. Choices are often hard to defend, and are far from the tastes of the wider public, but stay in close touch with the work of the artists.
The concert hall, with a capacity of 300 seats, gives new groups a chance to appear before the public for the first time, and gives more established groups the opportunity to recapture contact with their audience.
The Point Ephémère concert hall operates with the support of the French Record Producers Association, the SPPF.
Dance is a serious investment at Point Ephémère. The studios house companies who work and create during the day and perform night. Each season a choreographer is invited for a new residency session. The artist Cécile Saint-Paul has been invited to select the companies in residence. Marina Tullio, the artistic director of the festival Plans d’Avril, works with companies who will work on their research during their residency period. Dancers are also offered the assistance of a technical team. Companies come to set up, hypothesize, reflect, initiate, rework, and question anew. More and more international dancers, mostly from elsewhere in Europe, are applying to dance at Point Ephémère, a sign of professional recognition, and a sign that dance remains an outlet for cultural exchange in Europe. Each residency gives rise to free public openings, opportunities for meeting, moments of confrontation, and validation of proposals.
Residencies last from three to six months, and are intended for young artists, whether from Paris, the provinces or abroad. Technical support is provided (in the form of a workshop assistant), help with administrative matters (seeking funding or partnerships) and on the professional artistic level: five or six visits to the studio are organized each month in order to develop artists’ contacts within the profession and foster recognition of their work.
A committee of art industry professionals (critics, curators, gallery owners, directors of institutions, etc.) validates the choice of artists and is invited to follow their work closely throughout their period of residence. Today, Point Ephémère wishes to support artists further, both in their creative work and in their professional careers. Since the end of the last season we have invented a support framework to make our collaboration something more than a simple residence. An original set of economic tools provides another way of helping our chosen artists. As well as guaranteeing them a studio and providing financial support towards their artistic production, we have decided to represent them and help them make their mark in the art market. Providing both exhibitions of work by already established artists and support for emerging talent – notably by means of the residency program – Point Ephémère is engaged in developing public awareness of contemporary art through a visual arts policy centered on the interaction of different disciplines, seeing artistic production as a meeting point for artists, public institutions and local people. Reaching out in this way, these encounters and events reflect a belief in works of art as a force for social and cultural cohesion, a catalyst for dialogue and the exchange of ideas, the point of contact between objects and living beings.
Point Ephémère builds up pedagogical and documentary resources for each exhibition in order to enrich the experience of visitors: providing material that can deepen their reading and understanding of the works, staff with whom to discuss it (on opening nights), meetings with the artists and curators and an open-ended and free exchange of ideas with local organizations and people from the area.
Point Ephémère is developing links with various art institutions in France and abroad, in order to create a network which can support artists by extending the life of exhibitions.