FRAC Grand Large



The cultural partners of the Hauts-de-France region will offer singular extensions to the themes explored by GIGANTISME — ART & INDUSTRIE.


The Greater Dunkirk Area boasts an exceptional constellation of artistic and cultural entities actively participating in GIGANTISME — ART & INDUSTRIE, notably: the ESA (“Higher School of Art”) of Nord-Pas de Calais / Dunkirk-Tourcoing, the Dunkirk Port Museum, the Halle aux Sucres Learning Centre, the Dunkirk Archives – Municipal Centre of Urban Memory, La Plate-Forme, Fructôse, the municipal network of libraries, the Château Coquelle cultural centre, etc.

Thanks to the programme for artist residencies at private firms, supported by the DRAC Hauts-de-France and sponsored by the FRAC Grand Large, Donovan Le Coadou will spend four months at the Total-Oleum Training Centre in Dunkirk. The artist will carry out a creative exploration of this complex and outsized industrial infrastructure, paying particular attention to its history and evolution, while moving from a refinery to a training centre. His work will be publicly exhibited and echo his Mer agitée (see below).

La Plate-Forme – an artists’ initiative in the centre of Dunkirk – will present, starting 4 May 2019, the installation by Mika Rottenberg entitled Squeeze (2010). This dreamlike, almost farcical video presents working women within different production cycles, linking separate worlds (the globalized art world, latex manufacturing in India and a farm in Arizona) and giving birth to a mysterious material… In partnership with the Cnap (National Fine Arts Centre). 

The Dunkirk Port Museum hosts an exhibition of photographs of Dunkirk’s shipyards, as well as an exhibition entitled “D’EAU RÉ MI”, with the collection Sonata di porto of audio postcards of ports by Émilien Leroy and the sound machines by Frédéric Le Junter reproducing the sounds of waves and seagulls.

The Halle aux sucres Learning Center Ville Durable presents an exhibition: the “Black Gold” exhibition, running until June 2019, will explore the contemporary world’s capacity to do without petrol, despite the seemingly infinite possibilities of this dream-provoking, foundational material. This will be followed by a fascinating exhibition focusing on wind: we measure its force and exploit its energy…

On 27 April 2019, the Parc Coquelle in Dunkirk will inaugurate an outdoor exhibition of photographs entitled “Contemporary ironworks”. From 1959 to 1963, the rural municipality of Grande-Synthe was opened to gigantic development projects, eventually giving birth to a new landscape, as well as new lifestyles, as illustrated by the selected snapshots.

The Gothic chancel of the Bourbourg church welcomes an ensemble of monumental sculptures by Anthony Caro composing a surprising, one-of-a-kind baptistry. Created in 2010, the Choeur de Lumière (“Chancel of Light”) in Bourbourg has become a centre of sacred art comparable to the Rosary Chapel of Vence, adorned and lent international renown by Henri Matisse.

Other works already present within the Dunkirk region will also be spotlighted: 

– Grand Large District

To further complement GIGANTISME — ART & INDUSTRIE, the LAAC has commissioned new works by Steve Abraham and Nicolas Messager and by Morgane Tschiember.

The LAAC sculpture garden was designed by the landscape architect Gilbert Samel and completed in 1980, just prior to the construction of the museum, whose lines were inspired by the port’s cranes. Ringed by protective walls and situated between the outlet canal and the site of the old shipyards, the garden covers four green, rolling hectares. From amongst its rounded mounds echoing the movements of Dunkirk’s dunes and winds, emerge some two dozen sculptures by Arman, Eugène Dodeigne, Bernar Venet, Karel Appel, Charlotte Moth, Claude François-Xavier Lalanne, Paul Van Hoeydonck, Claude Viseux, Sergio Storel, Pierre Zvenigorodsky, Albert Féraud, Geneviève Claisse, etc.

– On Mole 1

Le Colisée (2017-2018)

This public-space installation was created from scrap materials, under the aegis of the EN RUE project and in collaboration with the Aman Iwanarchitects collective. The project comprises three stone circles creating public gathering spaces and serving as gardens, rehearsal areas, stages for openair spectacles, etc. Today, the site affords a view of the port basins and the Grand Large district.

La forêt du petit mince (2010)

Eastern Port, Mole 1. For this industrial wasteland, Steve Abraham & Nicolas Messager created La forêt du petit mince,
facing the Grand Large district built upon the site of the old shipyards closed in 1987. This installation protects a palisaded garden of 100 m2, whose soil full of seeds from all four corners of the globe evokes the intense port activity of the past century.

Mer agitée (2018) 

by Donovan Le Coadou is a temporary sculpture made from an abandoned yacht. Created in collaboration with the Fructôse association and with the support of S3D and the Guynemer vocational secondary school, this work can be seen from Rue Militaire near the FRAC Grand Large.

– Loon Plage

Saint-André des Marins Chapel, located next to the Seamen’s Club on the road linking the Western Port to Loon-Plage, was born of the meeting between a Filipino sailor and Father Delepoulle, who commissioned the architect Jérôme Soissons. Its unique design comprising an assemblage of 3 shipping containers, with one placed vertically, is well worth the detour.


In keeping with its mission to disseminate and promote contemporary art around the region, the FRAC Grand Large has invited its regional partners to share the same themes as those explored by GIGANTISME — ART & INDUSTRIE. The FRAC collection accompanies this movement via artwork loans and revisiting the relations between art and industry.

– WAAO – Centre of architecture and urban planning of Lille

has invited the architect and historian Richard Klein to design its exhibition Monuments of Growth. How has Gigantism manifested itself in architecture? During the years of economic growth and development, architecture was also subject to large-scale, volume-driven ambitions, within a context favouring the expression of new aesthetic and artistic values. What had been designated as “great architecture” in the monumental sense became “grand architecture” in the more literal sense of size and dimensions. During the decades of economic expansion, architecture expressed a new set of aesthetic and artistic values; this will be highlighted in the exhibition, thanks to a selection of edifices representative of this period’s large-scale projects.

– The Ronzier Art Centre of the Université Polytechnique Hauts-de-France in Valenciennes

As part of its collaboration with the FRAC Grand Large, the Ronzier Art Centre of the Université Polytechnique Hauts-de-France in Valenciennes hosts an exhibition, from 21 March to 5 April 2019, dedicated to art and industry. Visitors are invited to discover an environment comprising photographs and designer objects, within an exhibition illustrating the impact of art in industry and vice versa.
With: Archizoom, Walead Beshty, Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Peter Downsbrough, Sam Durant, Piero Gilardi, Rémi Guerrin, Frédéric Lefever, Marcel Mariën, Roman Signer, Barbara Visser. 

– Modulo Atelier in Esquelbecq 

Modulo Atelier in Esquelbecq is an artist-run gallery. Chain reactions, the world machine, out-of-control machinery, the beauty of mechanics and of fluids, automation, cyber-fueled fascination and fright… The exhibition “Ovomatic” gathers together ten artists and works from the Frac Grand Large collection under the theme of the machine. 
From May to September 2019.

– The MUMO 2 (Mobile Museum)

The MUMO 2 (Mobile Museum) will crisscross, from 27 April to 15 September 2019, Greater Lille, Dunkirk, Amiens and Avesnois-Thiérache, in connection to the 5th thematic edition of Lille3000. The exhibition “Eldorado” – based upon works from the FRAC Grand Large, as well as from the Frac Picardie / Des Mondes Dessinés and the CNAP (National Fine Arts Centre) – nurtures a dialogue between the myths of yesteryear (conquests, gold rushes, sunken cities, treasure maps…) with the Eldorados of tomorrow, thereby offering perspectives on current affairs and concerns.
With: Guglielmo Achille Cavellini, Tacita Dean, Rodney Graham, Bouchra Khalili, Teresa Margolles, Hans Op de Beeck, Gabriel Rico, Ida Tursic & Wilfried Mille, Christophe Vigouroux, Danh Vo.

– L’Espace 36 in Saint-Omer 

L’Espace 36 in Saint-Omer welcomes the artist Catherine Duverger from 30 March to 27 April 2019 for the exhibition “Urban Relations”. Her voluminous photographic experimentations explore differences of scale in resonance with a work by Dirk Braeckman from the FRAC Grand Large collection. In partnership with the “Local Contract for Artistic Education” programme of the Pays de Saint-Omer agglomeration.

– The art schools within the region

The art schools of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Greater Calais, Denain and Lille are all partners of the Archipel residency programme, which has allowed for the simultaneous stays of two artists: Emmanuel Simon at the “inland centre” and Jean-Julien Ney at the “seaside centre”. The latter’s approach transforms image-construction and -dissemination tools into coded sculptural systems, in resonance with Gigantisme. Two exhibitions spotlight his new productions, at Concept – École d’art du Calaisis, from 28 March to 16 May 2019, and at the École Municipale d’art de Boulogne-sur-Mer from 3 to 25 May 2019. 

Other cross-border partnerships have also been established: