In Depth

The Pompidou Centre celebrates 40 years

Paris's eminent cultural institution marks its anniversary with an entire year of events right across France

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When the Pompidou Centre first opened its doors 40 years ago this month, no one could have foreseen its immediate success and overwhelming visitor numbers. Four decades on, it is still among the most recognisable and important landmarks of modern Paris, with its once-revolutionary multidisciplinary approach to the arts proving as popular as ever. Today it continues to be a meeting place of literature, film, performance and the visual arts, home to a vast public library alongside the Musee National d'Art Moderne, one of the largest contemporary art museums in the world.

To mark this anniversary year, the Pompidou is taking the celebrations outside the French capital with an ambitious programme of events across the country. Forty cities, including Grenoble, Lille, Chambord and Nice, will host exhibitions, alongside special concerts and performances commissioned for the occasion.

Serge Lasvignes, the institution's president, said: "The Pompidou Centre has built up one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary art in the world, presented 325 exhibitions, and organised performances, conferences, debates and festivals.

"With this anniversary, I was not aiming for a self-celebration, but to make it a decentralised event – a festival of artistic creation throughout France, with all the institutions that are our friends and share our ambitions, and make up France's extraordinarily precious cultural network. This shared anniversary is a way of reaching out, not only to those who have always loved and helped the Pompidou Centre, but to new audiences as well."

Many of the celebrations will draw on the institution's vast collections: La Piscine in Roubaix will explore the little-known Colourists movement, of which the Pompidou Centre holds a large selection of works, while the Jeu de Paume in Paris will display a retrospective of photographer Eli Lotar, amassed mainly from its archive. The iconic architecture of the Pompidou Centre itself will also be explored in an exhibition in Nantes, examined within the architectural concept of megastructures that found favour during the 1960s.

centrepompidou.fr

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