• 14 Feb 2018

It has been several years since the Centre Pompidou has been internationalizing. After Spain and Belgium, China is next on the list to host the upcoming branch of the Parisian museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. What is at stake?

This image by Pexels represents a night view of Shanghai city in China.

© Pexels

An intense desire of internationalization

The internationalization policy of the Centre Pompidou has significantly intensified for the past few years. While the Parisian institution was celebrating its 40th anniversary, it also was the occasion to emphasize its international presence as well as its upcoming biggest projects. Indeed, Serge Lasvignes, President of the Centre Pompidou, said: “the bet of decentralization is a success with 75 events including 50 exhibitions in 40 cities”. However, such decentralization does not limit itself to France. In fact, the institution took the risk to go international with large-scale projects. As a result, the Centre Pompidou opened a branch in Malaga, Spain, in 2014 but also plans on opening one in Brussels, Belgium, in 2022 with a 16 000 square foot exhibition space. China was the next step of the internationalization of the Parisian museum. A project in Seoul is currently under discussion.

This picture by Adrian Scottow represents the Centre Pompidou in Malaga, Spain, opened in 2014.

Centre Pompidou, Malaga, Spain © Adrian Scottow

The French presidential visit to China to seal the deal

French President Emmanuel Macron went to China on January 9th, 2018 to discuss French-Chinese agreements with his counter-part Xi Jinping. The visit resulted in the confirmation of the upcoming opening in spring 2019 of the Centre Pompidou in Shanghai. Indeed, this is the outcome of long-lasting negotiations that were initiated by the Parisian museum in 2017. As a result, an agreement protocol was already signed over summer 2017 with the West Bund Group, a Chinese public Group. Serge Lasvignes, President of the Centre Pompidou stated in September 2017: “the Centre Pompidou Shanghai West Bund should open in early 2019. There is a dialogue dimension in the agreement to better showcase and promote Chinese Artists in Paris.” Even though the project was already under the radar, its realization became concrete with the jointly declaration of French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping about the implementation of the Institution in Shanghai.

This picture by Nikolai Karaneschev represents the façade of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Centre Pompidou, Paris, France © Nikolai Karaneschev

What is at stake for the future museum

Planned to open in spring 2019, the new Centre Pompidou in Shanghai should be housed in a 270 000 square foot building which design has been entrusted to David Chipperfield. According to Serge Lasvignes “the goal is to create a dialogue between contemporary Art in China and Western countries.” As a result, a local partner will manage the museum while the Parisian institution will lend its Artworks on the occasion of exhibitions. The first attempt to export go international with the Malaga branch should last 5 years. Therefore, the idea is to reiterate the concept in Shanghai. However, it is a specific cultural project since it aims at discovering Artists of tomorrow on the Chinese Art scene to give them a bigger space in Paris. Moreover, it would be the occasion for the Centre Pompidou to promote its Modern and Contemporary Art collections which remain the second most important ones after the MoMA in New York.

Read our article about the Pinault Foundation in Paris and its continuation despite the scandal here.

Sources: Le Monde, Les Echos and le Figaro