“No one has ever done that… How bold! Many have done monochromes, but this is completely different. It’s not a monochrome – it’s reflected light.” That is how Colette, his lifelong companion, described the Master’s major discovery: Outrenoir (Beyond Black).
Black, his black…
Smooth black, striated black, the black of octagonal rhythms, diagonals, juxtapositions of serial forms or vibrations on the canvas.
Not absolute black, not black as a colour or non-colour, but Light. The obsessive work of a lifetime. The work of matte textures, opacity, roughness, and more.
It’s about thickening, tracing, scraping, saturating, smoothing… The hard work of movement, of matter, of rhythm and of space.
Designed as a real artistic journey, invigorated and invigorating, the Soulages “pilgrimage” between Rodez-Conques and Montpellier is a tremendous, infinite pictorial anthem. An anthem to creation, to light, and to Life.
This exceptional journey celebrating the Master’s 100th anniversary will also offer new explorations, like several forays into the Contemporary Art landscape: Anselm Kiefer in Barjac and the new LUMA Foundation in Arles.
Benoît Ducron, chief heritage officer, modern and contemporary Art.
Director of Soulages Museum, Rodez EPCC (Region of Occitanie, Department of Aveyron, Rodez agglomeration and Minister of Culture), Benoît Decron has written books and catalogues about Pierre Soulages, Gaston Chaissac, l’Art Brut, Peter Saul, François Rouan, Moolinex, Gilles Barbier, Picasso, Alexander Calder, Victor Brauner …
If there are “places where the spirit breathes”… If there are “places that free the soul from its lethargy, places shrouded in mystery, chosen to be the seat of religious emotion for all eternity,” the Abbey of Sainte-Foy in Conques is certainly one of them. That was the emotion felt by the young Soulages during a secondary-school outing. The painter’s vocation had sprouted. A real aesthetic epiphany, which delved in Roman art to turn his paintings into an eternal quest for rigour and asceticism, though bathed in light to escape severity. Nearly 60 years later, his now sacred art has made its way into the Abbey as an agnostic’s ultimate profession of faith.
Lulled by the rhythm of the stained-glass windows, the interplay of saddle bars, with rising curves recalling the ancient music dear to the Master’s tastes, and which will certainly lend a quasi-celestial quality to our private recital, the highlight of our guided tour.
Of the Master’s hometown, where he lived between 1919 and 1938 – a stone’s throw from the pink sandstone cathedral, at 4 rue Combarel in the artisanal neighbourhood – he remembered the craftsmen’s masterful techniques, disciplined work, and skill at handling tools and materials.
A tour of his museum will confirm this: walnut stains are presented alongside prints (etchings and lithographs), together with the preliminary sketches for the Conques stained-glass windows. All in an extraordinary architectural setting showcasing dark steel and sleek cubes in an interplay of shadow and light overlooking Aubrac.
Halfway there, we will stop to admire the Millau Viaduct, the structure that broke all records. It is a real bridge between two worlds: contemporary art and the peace and quiet of Grands Causses. We will enjoy a light and simple dinner in the most recent addition to the Bras restaurants, Capucin, boasting an unobstructed view of the Viaduct.
The setting of his meeting with Colette, his lifelong companion, the Musée Fabre in Montpellier is more than a scenic space where the Master was exhibited in 1977. At Fabre, the couple admired a painting by Courbet, the cloak of Saint Catherine by Veronese, Descent from the Cross by Campana, dissertations on Valéry and Mallarmé… After these visits, they never left each other’s side. Fabre will offer us an aesthetic experience with a monumental quality: the Polyptychs… In the company of the curator, we will see “light coming from the canvas. The space of the canvas will be before us, and we will be inside the space of the canvas. As such, we will become a part of the painting”.
In the afternoon, we will discover the new Maja Hoffmann LUMA Foundation, inaugurated in 2018. The Foundation is located within the “Rocher Lunaire” (“moon rock” building) created by Franck Gehry, which dominates this 10-hectare space with its 56 metre-high, irregular titanium tower. We will have the opportunity to enjoy a private tour of this experimental centre of contemporary art, where artists, researchers and designers work together to create multidisciplinary projects (photographs, publications, documentaries and multimedia films).
Designed in the spirit of Nineveh, ancient lost city of Mesopotamia, Anselm Kiefer’s art studio was established in Barjac in 1993 in a derelict silk factory. Surrounded by scrublands, the area showcases teetering, stacked concrete towers, underground galleries, amphitheatres, libraries and forgotten chambers for his works. Kiefer taps into the era of artistic ruins and roots it in the Present, as we will discover during our exploration. A variety of offerings in a disjointed time frame.
Basic double room package: €2,980
Supplement for single room: €420
Supplement for Deluxe double use room: €150
The price for this trip includes: the regular Paris/Rodez flight in economy class and the Nîmes/Paris TGV in first class (deductible from the package) • accommodation with breakfast for 3 nights • tourist tax • the tours and transfers mentioned in the programme • all meals (beverages included) • La Fugue surprises • repatriation assistance.
The price for this trip does not include: extras.
A guide will accompany you on this trip.