Interview with Chloé TOURNIER, MAIF Social Club’s Art Director

2020, June

Written by Lou Ancelin
After having spent 7 years abroad, in the French cultural network, Chloé Tournier took office 4 years ago, at the MAIF Social Club, a hybrid cultural venue, opened at the initiative of the MAIF in January 2017. Her mission was to direct the opening of the place and the establishment of its editorial line.

What are the objectives of the MAIF Social Club ?
The MAIF Social Club affirms with conviction that contemporary artists and creators are those who help people to build the structuring imaginary of tomorrow’s world because they are able to detect trends and innovations and reflect current and future social challenges. In this sense, the MAIF Social Club aims to take the pulse of our society, today and tomorrow, listening to the noise of the world. It is also a living space and a social foresight place, totally free and accessible to everyone. We develop cultural proposals that are aimed at both children and adults and we make sure that our projects are for everyone, at the same time we propose topics whose content may interest both experts and novices.
The MAIF Social Club values learning through experience and "just do it" way, so we pay special attention to stimulate the body and the senses of the visitor.
The MAIF Social Club activity is based on an equal programming focused on contemporary and multidisciplinary creation. We constantly question social innovation around specific themes that give rise to exhibitions of 5 to 6 months. In this way, the exhibition "Champs libres" (Free Fields) fits into the environmental preservation topic.
In addition to artistic and cultural programming, the Club is also a bar, a shop and a coworking space.

How was the "Champs Libres" project born?
This project is the embodiment of the MAIF Social Club considerations on the theme of ecology.
It is an exhibition that questions the great environmental challenges of today and tomorrow through a dozen contemporary artists.
As I usually do for each exhibition, I have looked for a scenographer to design this project in collaboration with the curator.
The MAIF Social Club values a lot the scenery for two main reasons: to offer the public a truly immersive experience and to set a clear spatial differentiation of the different areas and activities and plot the route between the bar, the coworking space, the shop and finally the exhibition.

How did you meet Isabelle Daëron?
We met through a friend we had in common. I was immediately impressed by Isabelle’s work because it reflects her desire to harmonize her ideals with practice.
I think it is vitally important that what is being proposed is in line with what is being proposed. Isabelle is very concerned about the environmental impact of her work, as well as giving great importance to the aesthetic finish of her projects. I was really fascinated by the multiplicity of her skills: in addition to being an incredible scenographer and designer, she subjugated us with her wonderful drawings by hand, such as the drawing she made for the carpet installed in the "Champs Libres" exhibition.

How about "the floor as a territory of expression"?
Actually, we had not really considered that way because we were just focused on verticality (build walls or partitions, or even cabins) and on the variety of materials, but we had never thought that the floor could be a guidance system and a "territory of expression".
But it’s definitely very intuitive, the public is very comfortable with this horizontal way of orienting themselves through the different ecological universes by means of the drawings printed on the TecSOM carpet. The children also love it: we proposed a little girl to visit the aquatic universe and she said: "but I don’t know how to swim! "

What do you want us to remember about the exhibition?
Maybe that this exhibition is a flowery clearing that offers the visitor the opportunity to "make his honey", that is, to make his own opinion on ecological and environmental issues, while enjoying the artistic work exhibited and, if you feel like it, lie down on the carpet to contemplate the blue sky through the canopy.

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