In March 2017, a unique centre of art opened in the heart of the Loire Valley in the city of Tours.
Aiming to bring contemporary art to all, the new centre opened the doors of its brand new state of the art building, a fitting home for modern art. Designed by architects Aires Mateus in the Jardin François Ier, it has a surface area of 4,500 square meters.
It’s an innovative concept with three main exhibition areas: a white gallery, black gallery and an 11m high nave, as well as adjoining galleries.
Centre de Création Contemporaine Olivier Debré
This clever design offers artists a playground for their art. In the Black Gallery there is experimentation with colour and the current art of Norwegian artists is distinctive. In the White Gallery the pristine walls make the artworks seem even more compelling. And in the tall Nave, more unusual exhibits can be shown in ways many other galleries can’t propose.
The artworks here are not permanent and stresses the director, “this is not a museum, not at all”. The intention is to renew the art on offer, to support the work of artists by commissions and offering them space to show their works in a wholly new and exciting way.
The art centre is named after artist Olivier Debré (1920-1999) and his art features prominently in the current exhibition. The brother of a former mayor of Tours and one time Prime Minister of de Gaulle, his art seems to embody the ambitions of the CCC Tours with his depictions of “A Journey to Norway”, bold, ethereal and unconventional. His paintings hang in the White Gallery and almost pop off the wall.
One of the most ambitious and interesting of the current exhibits (2017) is that of Per Barclay (top photo). The artist who is famous for his “Oil Rooms”, has created here in the Nave a shallow tank of black oil. The effect is mesmerising and disturbing too since the path around it is actually designed to create vertigo in the onlooker! It’s a rare treat to see this artwork since normally the oil rooms are only created to be photographed. The high windows of the nave and the artistically lit ceiling create mirror images in the oil which are strangely compelling.
At night the CCC OD is lit up and more artworks can be seen through the windows in a new light.
If you’re a modern art fan, then CCC Olivier Debré Tours is a gallery that should definitely be on your must see list.