« Le poète est vraiment voleur de feu. [So the poet is really the thief of fire]
Il est chargé de l’humanité, des animaux même [He is responsible for humanity, even for the animals] ;
il devra faire sentir, palper, écouter ses inventions [he will have to make feel, touch, hear his invention];
si ce qu’il rapporte de là-bas a forme, il donne forme [if what he brings back from over there has form, he gives form]
si c’est informe, il donne de l’informe [if it is formless, he gives formless]. »
Letter from Arthur Rimbaud to Paul Demeny, known as « the visionnary », Charleville, 15th may 1871.
Brazilian and Parisian by adoption, art critic and art historian, exhibition curator and gallery owner, Cérès Franco has troughout her life never cease to collect works from around the world by a wide range of artists, who share creative freedom, authenticity and flair for figuration and colour.
During her lifetime, she wanted to share her passion with as many people as possible by donating most of her collection to public institutions, now kept here in Montolieu, in this museum dedicated to her. This donation took place in february 2020.
While each year, since the opening of La Coopérative in 2015, a temporary exhibition presented one of the many facets of the collection, focusing on one a theme or one artist, the choicie was obvious, this year at the time of the donation, to showcase the size, profusion, quality and abundance of this exceptional collection.
This exhibition Les voleurs de feu wants to take up this challenge, wich neverthesless remains a challenge : hoow to choose among nearly two thousands works and three hundred and fifty artists ? How to display the works without jeopardizing the movement pratices andtrends that influenced the life ok a passionate collector whose own eclectic tastes evolved over the years ?
Visitors will therefore be offered a profusion of works. All representative facets of the entire collection are there : anonymous craftmen from folk art, naive, autodidacts of raw singular art outsiders, artists of the New Figuration expressionists, surrealists, and many unclassifiable according to the most common conventions.
Without going so far as to describe the experience as a journey of initiation, these sometimes unique new samples will provide walkers with a chance to realize to what extent beyond its higgledy-piggledy appearence, this collection is consistent in its convictions, biases and relationships.
They might the be able to smell, feel, listen and watch the inventions of these artits similar to these fire-robbing poets dear to Rimbaud.
Dominique Polad-Hardouin (1952-2020)
Le GIP La Coopérative-Musée Cérès Franco has been established in 2019 to receive, keep, valorize and show to as many people as possible the Cérès Franco's collection. It is formed with La Région Occitanie, le Département de l'Aude, l'Agglomération de Carcassonne, Montolieu and l'Association pour la Valorisation de la Collection Cérès Franco.