Journalists attending the inauguration of the Centre Pompidou’s new photography gallery, which opened to the public yesterday, got more than they had bargained for.
During his speech, the president of Paris’ premier modern and contemporary art museum, Alain Seban, announced that a gallery dedicated to design and architecture will soon also be added the Centre.
Like the “Galerie de Photographies,” which is housed in former technical facilities, the future design gallery will be located within the existing Piano + Rogers-designed building. “Eventually, there should be almost no offices in the building, and we’ll keep only the technical facilities that are strictly indispensable,” said Seban. “When allocating the spaces, the works and the visitors have to take precedence.”
Inaugurated in 1977, the Pompidou Centre suffers a chronic lack of exhibition space, which means that it is only able to showcase 2 percent of its collection at any given time. The northern branch, Pompidou-Metz, as well as temporary structures, such as the one slated to open in Málaga next March (see “The Centre Pompidou Pops Up in Málaga”), are some of the solutions put forward by the organization. For Seban, however, these are not “a sufficient response.”
Spreading over 200 square meters, the “Galerie des Photographies” is a first step towards a better use of the building’s precious spaces. It will allow the display of a more substantial proportion of the Centre’s extensive photography collection, which comprises 40,000 prints and over 60,000 negatives.
The new gallery, which will host three exhibitions per year, is also a response to the visitors’ increasing appetite for photography. Last year the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition attracted a record 400,000 enthusiasts.
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