Museums Talk: From France


Launched by Istanbul Modern in 2012, the "Museums Talk" is a conversation platform between leading international museum professionals and museum audiences in Turkey, as well as online audiences globally.

Museums Talk began with the United States in 2012-2014, continued with the United Kingdom in 2014-2015, Germany in 2016-2017, and focuses on France in collaboration with the Institut français in 2019.

Through the program, Istanbul Modern focuses on the French art institutions and their unique contribution to museology as well as the history of institutions, their organizational structures and their future strategies.



An Extraordinary Place that Faces the Challenges of our Day

Tuesday, January 21, 2020, 19.15

Venue: French Cultural Center in Istanbul

Sandra Patron

CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art of Bordeaux


Founded in 1973 in Bordeaux, the CAPC (Centre d’arts plastiques contemporains) evolved into the Museum of Contemporary Art of Bordeaux in 1984. The museum is housed in the Entrepôt Lainé, a warehouse built in 1824. After undergoing renovation, the institution now boasts nearly 3,500 square meters of exhibition space and is one of the key actors in the art world of Bordeaux and its region. Through its collection and exhibitions, the museum aims to build a bridge between the main aesthetic approaches of the 20th century and the work of contemporary artists.

Under the direction of the museum’s founder Jean-Louis Froment, the museum showcased works by prominent contemporary artists ranging from Louise Bourgeois and Sol LeWitt to Richard Serra and Keith Haring. Directors appointed in subsequent years have organized such landmark exhibitions as “Traffic” (1996), “Jim Shaw. Left Behind” (2012), and “Beatriz González: Retrospective 1965-2017” (2017). Sandra Patron, who became the museum’s director in September 2019, will discuss the concept of museums in relation to their evolving space and history, through topics like the global climate crisis, the difficulties faced by institutions, problems of representation, and participation.

Patron has served in a variety of roles in museums and art institutions around France and led projects in major art centers both in France and other countries. From 2013 to 2016, Sandra Patron was a member of the acquisition commission of France’s National Center for Visual Arts (Cnap). She was also a member of the selection committee for the French Pavilion of the 2019 Venice Biennale.

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A Moving Museum, A Biennial Open to the City

Thursday, November 7, 2019, 19.00

Venue: Istanbul Modern Cinema

Isabelle Bertolotti



The Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art macLYON was established in 1984 and moved to its current building, designed by Renzo Piano, in 1995. Thanks to its modular design, the museum’s architecture can be converted as needed with each new project. In its programs, the museum features artists from France and around the world. The exhibitions held at the museum focus on various disciplines of contemporary art and are shaped through collaborations with international institutions. One of the main features of the macLYON collection is that it focuses on works produced in direct collaboration with the artists.

According to Isabelle Bertolotti, director of macLYON since 2018, preserving the heritage of future generations is the fundamental function of museums, which face the pressure of changing tendencies and tastes, in addition to transformations caused by diverse dynamics. In her talk, Bertolotti will share macLYON’s approach, within the framework of the museum tradition which is now more than 200 years old. She will talk about how the content of the collection and temporary exhibitions is established, as well as the interaction and relationship between the museum and its diverse actors and visitors.

Isabelle Bertolotti studied museology and contemporary art at the University of Lyon 2 and at École du Louvre. Bertolotti was in charge of exhibitions at macLYON starting in 1995. She currently works as an independent curator in France and cities around the world through organizations that focus on emerging artists. Bertolotti is also the artistic director of the Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale held every two years and hosted by macLYON.

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Thursday, October 3, 2019, 19.00

Venue: Istanbul Modern Cinema

Michael Couzigou

Atelier des Lumières


Atelier des Lumières was founded under the aegis of the Chemin-Vert foundry, established during the Industrial Revolution in 1835 by the Plichon brothers to meet the needs of France's navy and railway companies. Producing cast iron parts, the foundry was significantly impacted by both the 1929 Great Depression, which took its toll on many parts of the world, and the emergence of industrial plastics.  Changing hands in 1935 shortly after the production of cast iron parts was halted, the foundry served as a tool manufacturing company until it ceased to operate in 2000. 

In 2013, the foundry was rediscovered by Bruno Monnier, President of Culturelspaces, who had the idea of using the space for a Digital Art Centre in Paris. In 2018, following four years of renovations, the venue opened its doors to the public as Atelier des Lumières [Workshop of Lights] with three inaugural exhibitions: “Gustav Klimt”, “Hundertwasser” and “POETIC_AI”. The Klimt exhibition hosted more than 1,200,000 visitors in eight months.

In 2019, Atelier des Lumières is retracing Van Gogh’s life journey and artistic practice through audiovisual works in the immersive exhibition titled “Van Gogh, Starry Night”.  In October, the director of the institution, Michael Couzigou, is planning the venue's first “IMMERSIVE ART FESTIVAL”. During the festival, immersive digital art works will be presented at the Atelier des Lumières, enveloping visitors and inviting them to interact with the works on show.

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LE BAL in the Making

Thursday, May 23, 2019, 19.00

Venue: Istanbul Modern Cinema

Diane Dufour



Founded in 2010 by Raymond Depardon and Diane Dufour, LE BAL is a platform for exhibitions, publications, ideas, young talents, and educational programs. As a non-profit organization, it offers an original selection that encompasses the contemporary image in all its forms, including photography, video, cinema, and new media. In its programs and exhibitions, while questioning the role of the visual image in society, LE BAL features emerging talents as well as artists who have either been forgotten or rarely get the opportunity to take part in exhibitions.

Co-director of LE BAL, Diane Dufour,focuses her talk on some of the organization’s most prominent exhibitions and publications, namely, “Provoke”, “Dave Heath”, and “Clément Cogitore”. While conveying the core principles of this lab dedicated to research on the image, Dufour also shares with participants the challenges faced during the making of an independent art center that aims to address aesthetic and political topics. In addition to these, she provides information about the center’s educational platform “La Fabrique du Regard”, as well as “ERSILIA”, the program’s supporting digital platform.

Diane Dufour is known for the exhibitions and programs she has organized at LE BAL, as much as for books such as Mark Cohen: Dark Knees; Lewis Baltz: Common Objects; and Dave Heath: Dialogues with Solitudes. For the last ten years, she has also been co-directing, along with Christine Vidal, “La Fabrique du Regard”, a project to help develop visual literacy in 8- to 18-year-olds, which she will also speak about in her talk at Istanbul Modern. In 2013, Diane Dufour conceived the “Curator’s Day”, a platform for the exchange of projects and ideas bringing together 30 museums from across Europe.

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MAC VAL, A Museum for a Territory (Under Construction)

April 11, 2019, Thursday, 19.00

Event space: Istanbul Modern Cinema

Alexia Fabre

MAC VAL, Val-de-Marne Museum of Contemporary Art

Chief Curator

MAC VAL is located in the commune of Vitry-sur-Seine, in the department of Val-de-Marne near Paris, one of the richest regions in the world in terms of art and culture. On the other hand, the area is also home to a multi-layered social community with limited access to the sphere of culture and arts. For this reason, the special focus of MAC VAL since its foundation in 2005 has been to respond to the needs of the particular social structure within its region and to create the conditions for cultural mediation and mutual respect through a program that facilitates social cohesion.

MAC VAL, Val-de-Marne Museum of Contemporary Art, is the first museum dedicated exclusively to the French art scene and art from France from the 1950s to the present. Examining on the region through examples from France and beyond, the institution demonstrates the mutual values as well as the multiplicities of its community. At the same time, its artistic content and the cultural activities ensure the sustainability of its relationship with its community. In a world that is continuously changing through economic and social reforms, the museum occupies a special position from which to address both the future of its region and the world at large.

Alexia Fabre, MAC VAL’s chief curator since the museum’s foundation, was instrumental in the museum’s establishment as early as 1998. Since 2005, Fabre has been responsible for developing the institution’s cultural policies as well as guiding its exhibitions and programs. From 2007 to 2011 she taught at l’École du Louvre. In 2009 and 2011, she co-directed the Nuit Blanche in Paris alongside Frank Lamy, who is in charge of temporary exhibitions at MAC VAL. Fabre was a guest curator at the Manif d’Art Quebec City Biennial in Canada in 2017, and is also the co-curator of the “The Moon” exhibition (April 3 – July 22, 2019) at the Grand Palais.

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Reflections on the Museum in the 21st Century

January 16, 2019, Wednesday, 19.00

Venue: French Cultural Center in Istanbul

Bernard Blistène

Centre Pompidou National Museum of Modern Art


Founded at the Palais de Tokyo in 1947, the National Museum of Modern Art was incorporated under the Center Pompidou banner in January 1977. The National Museum of Modern Art and the Center of Industrial Creation (MNAM-CCI) within its structure house over 120,000 works covering all artistic disciplines from 1905, the year of the birth of Fauvism to the present day. In line with their founding mission, both institutions are under constant transformation and innovation.

Fuelled by globalization and the cessation of the grand narratives of history, the National Museum of Modern Art has recently started to question its own history and the need to serve as a guiding light for deciphering the complexity of the modern narrative. Accordingly, the museum today seeks to create new theoretical and artistic perspectives that aid us in our investigation of the history of the past as well as the present.

Bernard Blistène has been the Director of the Centre Pompidou since 2013. Blistène oversaw many exhibitions in the United Statesbefore being appointed as the director of the Centre Pompidou where he formerly worked as the Inspector General of Artistic Creation in 2000 and Director of the Department of Cultural Development, in 2008. As the Director of the Department of Cultural Development he created “Un Nouveau Festival” (A New Festival), an event that brings together different disciplines of contemporary art. As the Director, Blistène is currently supervising the renovation and the extension of the Modern and Contemporary collections at Centre Pompidou.

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Left: Steven Morlier

RightArthur Pequin


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