Xavier Wrona and the Méthode Room residency program
by Laurence Geannopulos
- Photo Collage Est-ce ainsi from a picture of James W. Toftness
CHICAGO, IL – Rebuild Foundation, in partnership with independent curator Guillaume Désanges, EXPO Chicago, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and the Institut français, are pleased to welcome Xavier Wrona as an architect-in-residence of the Méthode Room residency program. On August 15, 2015, Wrona will begin a ten-week project, Georges Bataille, Architecture, Chicago and World Order – An Essay on General Economy. The project, the first in the Méthode Room residency series, will feature an exhibition at Rebuild’s Archive House and the launch of an architecture TV channel.
A practicing architect and associate professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Saint-Etienne, Wrona has long been interested in the connection between architecture and social justice. His exhibition will explore French intellectual Georges Bataille’s definition of architecture as a tool through which an ideologically dominant order manifests itself in space and time. Balancing theory with practice, Wrona’s goal is to “move away from this theoretical edifice…to get back into a less theoretical, closer contact to reality. I wish to be able to talk with people of the South Side…to be able to engage, discuss, debate.”
To that end, Wrona and two assistants will build a temporary television studio in the heart of the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood. Neighbors, community leaders, local business owners, aldermen, and City officials will be invited to the studio to share their definitions of the word, “architecture.”
Wrona is the first of three guests selected to participate in the Méthode Room residency program at the Rebuild Foundation, a project conceived and curated by French curator Guillaume Désanges. While in Chicago, residents will live at the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, a 32 unit mixed-income housing complex redeveloped through a partnership between the Chicago Housing Authority, Brinshore Development and the Rebuild Foundation.
Rebuild Foundation is a nonprofit organization that endeavors to rebuild the cultural foundations of underinvested neighborhoods and incite movements of community revitalization that are culture-based, artist-led, and neighborhood-driven.
Guillaume Désanges is an independent curator and art critic. He is the Founder of Work Method, a Paris-based agency for curatorial projects. Désanges coordinated the artistic projects of Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers from 2001–2007. Recent projects include: Concrete Erudition (2009-2011, Le Plateau-Frac Ile-de France, Paris); Wander (2011, Centre Pompidou Metz); Amazing ! Clever! Linguistic! An Adventure in Conceptual Art (2013, Generali Foundation, Vienna); A Universal Exhibition, documentary section (Louvain-la-Neuve biennale, Belgium, 2013), Curated session: the Dora Garcia files (Perez Art Museum, Miami, 2014). Désanges is currently the curator at La Verrière (Fondation Hermès, Brussels), where he is organizing a series of exhibitions entitled Gesture of the Mind.
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy provides a platform for exchange and innovation between French and American artists, intellectuals, educators, students, the tech community, and the general public. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the US including Chicago, the Cultural Services develops the cultural economy by focusing on six principal fields of action: visual and performing arts, literature, cinema, the digital sphere, French language and higher education.
The Institut français
The Institut français is the agency of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for cultural action outside of France. As an agent of cultural diplomacy, the Institut français is a unique brand throughout 96 countries and in France. It ensures the promotion of artists, architects, ideas, works and industries that together present an innovative and dynamic image of creation in France. The Institut français contributes to the dialogue between cultures and enlivens professional communities in each sector of its activity, all the while participating in France’s cultural networks abroad.