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TOHUA  PAPA NUI

Cultural Center Gauguin

CULTURAL CENTER PAUL GAUGUIN

 

ATUONA -MARQUESAS ISLANDS

OFFICIAL OPENING

MAY 8, 2003 at 3.00 P.M.

The Paul Gauguin cultural center, beeing built, Atuona mars 2003.  
(photo E. OLIVIER)

On Thursday May 8,2003, round about 3.00 pm local time, at the same place and time when Paul Gauguin died 100 years ago to the day, the Municipality of Hiva Oa in the Marquesas archipelago, French Polynesia, has officially open the Cultural Center to honor the memory of the artist.

The purpose of this new Center, located on a piece of land Paul Gauguin had purchased from Monseigneur Martin to build his famous “House of Pleasure ”with his own hands, is threefold :
-Honoring the memory of the Artist through a Space for evocation;

-Offering a place for artistic creation and cultural exchange via an Artists ’Residence;

-Making a Center for cultural activities available to the population.

 AN ITINERARY BASED ON THE CONCEPT  REPRODUCTION OF THE WORK

1 –THE SPACE FOR EVOCATION

This space is dedicated to Paul Gauguin and offers visitors a thematic itinerary that is specifically designed and adapted to reveal a man in conflict with the society of his time and also an artist and his works from a novel and enriching angle. The visit also offers commentaries in French, English and Marquesan to serve the largest number of visitors.

Centering on three main themes presented in three adjoining buildings, the Center proposes an itinerary based essentially on the concept of reproduction of works as chief mode of display on all kinds of media : copies, photographs, fac-similes, replicas, electronic editions, mouldings, etc. The exhibition resources have therefore implemented all the techniques pertaining specifically to museography and scenography while being unambiguous as to the non museum status of the Center.

Even before engaging in the thematic discovery and so that no possible frustration may arise due to the absence of original works, the visitors will proceed through a “directions for use ”space in the reception bungalow that will explain what the exhibits truly are. The three themes in that space for evocation were named after three quotations by Gauguin as representative of the major steps in his life.

“ESCAPING TO REACH ART ”

In this sequence the visitors have the opportunity to discover and understand, through reproductions of works, letters or writings, what the artist ’s motivations were behind his various departures to new destinations and the resulting achievements. In that same space, Paul Gauguin ’s chronological journey between 1848 and 1903 is viewed against the major events in his lifetime and the evolution of art, in order to put the artist ’s approach into context. .

 

Extracts from  Jacob wrestling with an angel or The vision after the sermon .1888

  

“ THE RIGHT TO DARE ANYTHING IN ART ”

As a dedicated member of the French artistic Avant-garde movement, Paul Gauguin took an active part in the building of a new relationship between the artist and painting. As such and away from any classification, he was one of the very first artists to put together painting, sculpting, ceramic or monotype. This space, above all, highlights his desire to experiment and shows how his artistic search developed, while offering a panorama of the plastic and literary Avant-garde in France at the close of the 19th Century.

 

Extract from  Arearea, Amusement.1892.

   

“ BECOMING PART OF A PRIMITIVE CULTURE ”

This third step in the thematic itinerary enables visitors to understand Gauguin’s intense desire to be immersed in “exotic ”cultures and societies, searching for the impact they may have on his art. This particular space also gives visitors an idea of what the village of Atuona was like in the early 20th Century through photographs and archive documents. It also reveals the artist’s stand against the colonial authority and displays a selection of objects recently found in the well situated by the “House of Pleasure ”.

 

Extract from Parahi te Marae, 1892

 

LA MAISON DU JOUIR, THE HOUSE OF PLEASURE

A faithful reconstruction based n the plan known as the “Le Bronnec Plan ”of the artist ’s last abode, the “House of Pleasure ” is an integral part of the overall thematic itinerary. As a matter of fact, the upper floor in the house will be used as a temporary exhibition room to display works by local artists or other artists invited as part of the Center ’s cultural activities.

Maison du Jouir

A plan drawn by «Le Bronnec » of the “House of Pleasure ”

 Paul Gauguin's tomb on  death day
(Photo Eric OLIVIER)

 

2 THE ARTISTS' RESIDENCE

The second major element in this innovative cultural place is the creation of an artists ’residence which materializes the project so dear to Van Gogh and Gauguin to create their “Atelier des Tropiques ”.

Situated in the middle of the Pacific, Atuona seems to hold some power of attraction on artists and in this respect Paul Gauguin and Jacques Brel are but most symbolic examples. With a view to offer other artists the opportunity to experience the magic appeal of the Marquesas, provisions have been made by the Municipality of Hiva Oa for famous international artists to be able to stay for a while in one of the three residential fa’e .

 

3 CULTURAL ACTIVITIES 

As well as being a place offering documentary resources to both visitors and the local population wishing to improve their knowledge of the artist or discover the world of art whether Oceanian or not, the Cultural Center will also stage temporary exhibitions. A mode of operation including the loan of works may possibly be set up and, generally speaking, any and all initiatives likely to establish the Center firmly in the life of the local community will be welcome.

Web  pages created by Eric OLIVIER                                               artists in Hiva Oa web pages

               photos from official opening                     informations on the cultural center

 


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