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March 2024

Sophie Joissains & Barbara Satre

The genesis of the biennial

For students at the Ecole Supérieure d’Art, the Biennale is synonymous with encounters, experimentation and sharing. Barbara Satre, Director of the school, and Sophie Joissains, Mayor of Aix-en-Provence, tell us all about it.

By Mathilde Hingray

Barbara Satre © ESAAIX
Sophie Joissains © D.Kapikian

Why did you come together to set up this collaboration? 

Sophie Joissains: The Ecole Supérieure d’Art is a key cultural player in the region. It was obvious that the Biennial should forge links with its teacher-artists and students. What’s more, the co-construction process put in place by the Biennial encourages and nurtures new ways of looking at things, highlighting to the public the challenges and vitality of contemporary creation.

Barbara Satre: The city has a particular relationship with contemporary art. The school has trained some of the world’s leading artists. Our mayor has always been a member of the school’s board. She knows what art means for the people here and the city. For my part, the heart of my project was based on opening up the school to the local area. Taking part in the Biennale means spotlighting artists emerging from the school and being in tune with the teaching artists’ commitment to collaborating with local players.


How are students involved in this event?

Sophie: Seven projects are run by the school and financially supported by the biennial. The creative periods take place in different contexts, in connection with neighbourhoods and villages, with heritage or at the crossroads of different artistic disciplines with a production presented to the public.

Barbara: The students are completely integrated into the partnerships: the Franco-German centre for a publishing project, the Bois de l’Aune theatre for an exhibition on the district, the “A comme Animal” exhibition, experiments in the garden of the Pavillon Vendôme with the Voyons voir association and many others...


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