In Dunkirk, an Exhibition Showcases TotalEnergies-Oleum’s Industrial Heritage
Donovan Le Coadou’s RUN TEST exhibition recently drew to a close at FRAC Grand Large in Dunkirk. The exhibition showcased the works of the sculptor, who took on a two-year residency at the TotalEnergies-Oleum site as part of a corporate artist-in-residence program supported by the French Ministry of Culture.
This former refinery has been transformed into a training platform for industrial professions, with some equipment – in particular tanks 15-20 meters tall – currently being dismantled. On site two days a week, Donovan Le Coadou was able to talk with staff and get a feel for the place. Inspired by the bending, overlapping and folding of the pipes at the facility, Le Coadou has created a series of works – formed of bent tubes assembled in closed loops and sheets rolled up like carpets – bringing the components of the oil industry to the fore.
In order to move and work with these pieces of considerable size and weight, the artist was often assisted by site employees. Two working sessions were also organized in collaboration with the Welding Institute of Dunkirk – one with young people in training and the other with more experienced students looking to obtain qualifications. Around 20 young people took part in the project.
Committed to promoting the vitality of its host regions and dialogue between cultures, TotalEnergies Foundation was delighted to support this exhibition. In his exploration of the connections between art and industry, Donovan Le Coadou is following in the footsteps of Gigantisme (also led by FRAC Grand Large), part of a three-yearly event previously backed by the Foundation. In addition, building a bridge between the past and the future, RUN TEST will promote the transformation of the Total-Oleum site while supporting vulnerable young people in their entry into the workforce.