© Aurélien Mole

10 ideas to discover contemporary art in Brittany

Discover 21st-century Brittany

Where can you see the Belvédère by the Bouroullec brothers, discover a pioneer of urban art like Ernest Pignon-Ernest, learn about the work of the edgiest photographers of the moment? In Paris? New York? Yes, certainly, but also in Brittany. Everywhere, in the towns and countryside and throughout Brittany, art centres, public and private galleries and large-scale events strive to share with you the abundant production of today’s and tomorrow’s talents. Trails, exhibitions, exceptional collections… follow the guide!

At a glance

1. A capital site for a collection in movement

FRAC in Rennes 

Pierre Tal Coat, Camille Bryen, Geneviève Asse, Vera Molnar… do these names mean anything to you? Then head quickly to FRAC to find out more. As a prelude to your visit, admire the audacious building by the architect Odile Decq. Stroll between the columns of the 21st-Century Alignment by Aurélie Nemours, a modern echo to the Carnac standing stones. Behind the scenes of the amazing black and red ship is a collection of nearly 5,000 works brought together by the Fonds régional d’art contemporain (FRAC). Theme-based or monographic exhibitions reveal  treasures throughout the year. Soon, lyrical abstraction, reflection on the relationship between art and nature, questioning the status of image in the 21st century, etc. will hold no more secrets for you. And, for peaceful Wednesday, check out the online activities for children. It might inspire vocations!

FRAC Bretagne

Where to sleep:Castel Jolly guest house in Rennes


2. Art at the convent

The Fonds Hélène et Edouard Leclerc pour la Culture, in Landerneau 

Could you have imagined that this little town in northern Finistère would become a leading event in contemporary art? And yet it’s true! Since 2012, the 1,300 m² of the former Couvent des Capucins has accommodated the Fonds Hélène & Édouard Leclerc pour la Culture. This isn’t a permanent collection, but two exhibitions are held each year to present art from the second half of the 20th century to current day. The programme of events is ambitious, and you can get to know creators who are emblematic of their time, with a predilection for figurative expression. Did you miss out on Gérard Fromanger, Joan Miro, Enki Bilal, Françoise Petrovitch, etc.? No need to panic! FHEL promises many more memorable events.

Fonds Hélène et Edouard Leclerc pour la Culture

Where to sleep:Auberge de Keranden guest house in Landerneau


3. Summers under the banner of contemporary art

Exporama in Rennes

For the summer, the heart of Rennes beats to the rhythm of contemporary creation. There’s something everywhere: in the museums and galleries, as well as on the streets, in parks and gardens, on the walls, etc. There are meetings with artists, unique tours, bicycle routes, performances and more. Whichever way you turn, art is there, waiting for you. An exceptional event!

Exporama

Where to sleep: Hotel Le Saint-Antoine in Rennes


4. A domain to enjoy art

Domaine de Kerguéhennec in Bignan

Enjoy wandering through one of the largest sculpture parks in Europe. 45 hectares of green space, with a surprise at every step. Around forty works in wood, stone, metal or earth by major artists play hide-and-seek in the landscape. At the castle, soak up the poetry and flashes of Pierre Tal Coat, a major figure in painting in the second half of the 20th century; an exceptional collection of over 1,200 works of art. And that’s not all! Wander through the stables, the sheep pen, the chapel, etc. The Centre of Contemporary Art spotlights known and lesser-known current artists. With the added bonus of performances, workshops, guided tours, and more!

Domaine de Kerguéhennec

Where to sleep:La lézardière guest house in Pleugriffet

5. Avant-garde chapels

“Art in the chapels” in the Blavet valley 

What’s so special about these charming little chapels dotted around the countryside near Pontivy? Be curious and open the door. You’ll be in for a surprise! Here, a series of black and white images stands out on a whitewashed wall in an unlikely exchange with the painted vault.   There, an armful of branches redraws the contours of an apse… Every summer for over 30 years, internationally-famous artists have engaged in a fruitful and unique dialogue between a sacred place with walls weathered by the years and the contemporary work it inspires.   To discover them better, follow one of the three marked circuits. In each chapel, a guide will accompany you. Ancient and modern are in agreement here!

Art in the chapels

Where to sleep: Hotel Le Rohan in Pontivy


6. Seeking new worlds

Art centers in Brittany 

Anchored in their urban life, they draw their dynamism from it and extract it for you. They? Four art centres that strive, through exhibitions, conferences and debates, to put contemporary art within reach of everyone. Lively venues of research and creation, La Passerelle in Brest, Grand café in Saint-Nazaire, La Criée in Rennes and Gwinzegal in Guingamp invite you to take an interest in up-and-coming artists. That way, you can stay at the forefront of the avant-garde and identify the gems of the future!

Art centers in Brittany

Where to sleep:

7. When cities of art go contemporary

Public exhibition spaces in Brittany 

Don’t believe that because they are rich in a centuries-old urban setting art cities ignore contemporary production. Quite the opposite! Audacious or sensitive, the exhibitions proposed by La Galerie de Rohan in Landerneau, Galerie Albert Bourgeois in Fougères or Les 3 Cha in Châteaugiron will give you very 21st-century emotions. With the added bonus of being accompanied by a cultural mediator. A must!

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8. Art under the pavement

Pont-Scorff

It’s a little town on the banks of the Scorff, and yet it has all the makings of a great one. Here, art is everywhere. At Atelier Estienne, you will discover a programme of exhibitions with conferences, guided tours, readings, etc., including the summer event “l’art chemin faisant”. At Cour des Métiers d’art, dedicated to the decorative arts, you can browse the work of inspired designers. With glassware, jewellery, textiles, pottery, etc., it might make your head spin! At Espace Pierre de Grauw, which contains the sculptor’s legacy to the city, you will become acquainted with a resolutely figurative, deeply spiritualistic work with beautiful formal audacity.

Where to sleep:Le Manoir des éperviers guest house in Queven


9.  To get started, and possibly more

Galleries specialised in contemporary art in Brittany 

Does your artistic culture stop at Pop Art? To help you identify today’s talents, established artists as well as up-and-coming artists, a few galleries show you the way. Visit Comoedia in Brest, Ecole des filles in Huelgoat, Galeries des Petits Carreaux in Saint-Briac or Oniris in  Rennes. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll find something you really like.

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10. Meeting the 8th art

Galleries specialised in photography in Brittany 

Photography is an art form in its own right. In Brittany, the Imagerie in Lannion, the Carré d’art in Chartres-de-Bretagne and Galerie Le Lieu in Lorient are dedicated to it and multiply exhibitions, events, artists’ residences, workshops, etc. These events are anything but negative!

 

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