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The inaugural edition of the Contemporaine de Nîmes, presented from April 5 to June 23, 2024, is entitled “Une nouvelle jeunesse” [A New Youth] and focuses on today’s youth, its concerns and relationships with preceding generations, through the concepts of heritage and transmission. Artistic direction was entrusted to the duo Anna Labouze & Keimis Henni.

The project conceived by the artistic direction revolves around four main axes: 

  • A major multi-disciplinary exhibition across the city, featuring 12 inter-generational pairs of artists in as many locations, entitled “La Fleur et la Force” [“The Flower and the Strength”].
  • 6 key events mainly focused on performing arts
  • 3 houses, places for encounters and conviviality, with artists and collectives in residence
  • An associated program developed in collaboration with a dozen of Nîmes’ cultural actors.

Most of the artistic projects were created specifically for the Contemporaine de Nîmes, in close relation with the local context and territory. Each project of the exhibition, events and houses includes a participatory dimension involving Nîmes inhabitants in its creation.

Key visual of the 1st Contemporaine de Nîmes.



For this inaugural edition of the Contemporaine de Nîmes, we have chosen to address the subject of youth, intergenerational transmission and heritage in today’s creation and society. 

We have gathered these ideas under the title “Une nouvelle jeunesse” [A New Youth]. It evokes both today’s new youth, that of art and the world, and the experience of living a new youth or a second youth in contact with it.

This theme is an invitation to discover new artistic and cultural horizons, while exploring intergenerational relations, aiming to foster unity and forge connections. Our objectives encompass envisioning new forms of conviviality, experiencing art collectively and bringing together, through creation, different generations that may sometimes find themselves at odds. We are also committed to engaging with today’s youth and addressing the key issues that affect them, to apprehending Nîmes in a new light, to focusing on the idea of transmission—such a lively and significant idea in the South of France and in Mediterranean cultures—and to accompanying the emergence of a young and ambitious artistic event in a city with thousand-year-old roots.

This guiding principle is embodied in all aspects of this first triennial: invited artists, subjects of the works and program, creative process, itinerary in the city, right down to the graphic identity, the cultural mediation program and the public participation process.

The program centers around a major exhibition entitled “La Fleur et la Force” [The Flower and the Strength], in reference to the prime of life, following an itinerary across the city center. It sheds light on some of the most promising emerging talents of their generation, from a wide range of creative fields. They were invited to conceive their projects along with established or historical artists: their heroes, their mentors, the artists who inspire them or with whom they share theoretical and aesthetic affinities. These latter tend towards a new youth by working in contact with these young artists, sometimes following a mentorship approach. With these pairs, the idea of transmission is central to the artistic process and the exhibition, rendering visible the dialogues between artists of different generations, which are many in the art world and inspire vocations, without necessarily being seen or known by the public.

These artistic dialogues also extend to the residents of Nîmes, whom we wanted to involve closely in the conception and production of the works, in a new approach to making art collectively. This is the triennial’s most distinctive feature: each project includes a participatory dimension, involving a group in its creation, be it an association, a school, a social structure… Intergenerational artist pairs and audience participation thus form a double chain of transmission.

Finally, the works exhibited all focus on the subject of youth or the idea of intergenerational transmission: this was already an important theme in the work of the invited artists. The theme of the works is thus a natural extension of the exhibition’s creative process. Issues addressed include the representations and concerns of youth, both past and present, intimate and collective heritage, and intergenerational relations within biological or chosen families, groups or communities. It is also an opportunity to explore the transmission of knowledge, culture and history over the generations, a return to childhood, and the quest for eternal youth.

The exhibition is enhanced by a series of key events dedicated to performing arts. Here, we’ve invited artists, collectives and art companies to revisit and reinterpret memories of childhood or youth: a dance party, an artistic funfair, a musical fugue, a night out at the theater… Once again, as with the exhibition, these are all projects involving various groups of inhabitants in their creation.

We felt it essential to extend the event beyond the city center, to other neighborhoods. For this reason, we came up with the idea of a series of “houses”, convivial and sharing places for events and artistic projects. Each is hosted and managed by a local cultural actor, and consists in welcoming an artist or group of artists in residence for the duration of the triennial, with the creation of a participatory project involving local inhabitants and socio-educational structures.

To broaden the perspective, an associated program calls on several of Nîmes’ artistic and cultural actors—the art school, the contemporary art center, an artist-run space, a cinema, a high school, etc.—to imagine a project echoing the theme of this first Contemporaine.

On a wider scale, we collectively questioned the meaning of a cultural event of this magnitude today, and the modalities that could guide its implementation. The Contemporaine tends to be more local and regional than global, without forsaking the opportunity to feature artists from all horizons. It is also focusing on a narrower selection of artists, to provide more in-depth support and guidance for projects. This also makes it more environmentally friendly—for instance, no air travel is planned for artists, works or teams—and anchored in its place and time, with almost exclusively new creations, conceived on and with the territory, and with significant work periods for artists on site. It’s an important commitment to fully integrate the social and educational dimension into the artistic project, and not alongside or afterwards.

We have brought generations together, giving emerging artists the same means of production as more established ones, and decompartmentalized artistic disciplines as much as possible. All artistic fields are thus invited to participate in the same program.

Finally, the Contemporaine aims to be accessible, inclusive, generous and popular. The entire program and professional mediation that accompanies it are driven by this desire, to make this triennial a new and vibrant laboratory for the connections between art, territory and society.


Anna Labouze & Keimis Henni are a duo of artistic directors, curators, teachers and cultural project leaders. They are the founders and directors of Artagon, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting emerging creation, notably through a network of three resource and production venues in France: Artagon Pantin near Paris, Artagon Marseille, and Maison Artagon in the Loiret region. They are also co-directors of the Magasins Généraux, an artistic and cultural venue founded by communication agency BETC in Pantin in 2017, where they have curated a dozen exhibitions and festivals.

Anna Labouze & Keimis Henni.