Espace Claude Berri

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Espace Claude Berri
Olivia Rutherford / Time Out
Espace Claude Berri
Claude Berri, who died in January 2009, was for many years best known as one of France's most successful film directors and producers - he directed the international arthouse hit Jean de Florette and produced France's second biggest box office success, Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis. But in 2008 the 74-year-old made a name for himself in another field, the world of contemporary art, when he opened the Espace Claude Berri - a showcase for exhibitions by up-and-coming talent and Berri's own impressive collection.

The film mogul had been buying paintings and sculptures since the 1970s and by the time of his death boasted one of France's biggest collections. His first purchase was a Magritte, followed by works by Picasso, Dalí, Giacometti and Fernand Léger, but the bulk of his collection is made up of living artists. Robert Ryman was a favourite; others featured include Richard Serra, Bruce Nauman, Dan Flavin, Daniel Buren, Jeff Wall, Christian Boltanski and Paul McCarthy.

Berri had long wanted to share his collection with the public. Back in 1991, he opened a small gallery space in Paris. This time around, he invested in premises in the Marais, a stronghold for art galleries and dealers. Dominated by a high, sloping skylight, the interiors were redesigned by Jean Nouvel, architect of both the Fondation Cartier and the Musée Quai Branly.

The aim of the space is to alternate themed exhibitions of works from Berri's private collection with solo shows organised around artists, critics or gallery owners - for one show, the whole ground floor was filled with giant, irreverent installations by Frenchman Gilles Barbier. Other exhibitions have been dedicated to Indian artists, and to trees in contemporary art.

Posted:

Venue name: Espace Claude Berri
Address: 4 passage Sainte-Avoye
3e
Paris

Opening hours: 11am-7pm Tue-Sat. Closed Aug
Price: free
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