Little Stories: sharing the Collection
Revealing the artworks of the Société Générale art Collection and multiplying perspectives: that’s what “Little Stories” is trying to achieve. This new exhibition will be held in the Société Générale towers of La Défense, near Paris, from the 20th of September until the 30th of April 2020. Featuring more than a hundred artworks and 1001 stories and anecdotes about them, it creates just as many different ways of looking at, talking about, and ultimately sharing art.
Displayed in Société Générale’s headquarters, the artworks of the Collection offer a backdrop to the daily activities of the bank: they can be found in corridors, meeting rooms, cafeterias, or staff canteens. The question of reception is central to the issues tackled by contemporary art: the pieces of the Collection are watched during tours organised with schools, private individuals or groups and just glanced at by the employees and their collaborators. A part of their daily lives, they make it their own, setting up appointments next to Barry Flanagan’s bronze elephant, for instance. The range of gazes looking at the artists’ works is infinite: fleeting or curious, inexperienced or well-informed, all these outlooks create unique relationships with artworks ranging from abstract installations to figurative paintings.
The daily interactions with the works exhibited, the anecdotes people share about them, and the little stories they tell around them are at the heart of the “Little Stories” exhibition: although clichés depict contemporary art as abstruse, here, it is deeply relational. Each painting, installation, and sculpture comes with anecdotes told by our cultural mediators. Their role as facilitators is at the centre of the exhibition: their usual mission of explaining the artist’s work to the public – and to clarify the usual “I don’t get it” – is actually going both ways as they bring the reaction of the visitors back to the artwork. The possibilities of interaction with the pieces are endless: young visitors turn François Morellet’s 16 côtés du carré (16 sides of the square) into pick-up-sticks or lightsabers, and the abstraction of Zao Wou-Ki’s 19.10.76 becomes a landscape...
To encourage the viewers of the exhibition to share as well, a couple of things have been set up: first, a digital visitor’s book where they can leave their thoughts and comments on “Little stories”, and an application, “Collection d’art Société Générale”. Based on image recognition, it gives detailed information on an artwork and its author by taking a picture of it. It will be available for download on every app-store starting from the 20th of September. “Little Stories” will be part of the European Heritage Days and after that, it will be open and free for all, private visitors, groups and schools alike, upon simple reservation online on the Collection’s website. Ready to share your little stories with us?