"Intime et Moi" at the Louvre-Lens: an exhibition designed by young people for the general public
The Intime et Moi exhibition is on show at the Louvre-Lens Museum until March 27, 2023. This pioneering participative project is set up in the museum’s Pavillon de Verre. The innovative nature of this exhibition lies in both the theme it addresses and in its creation as it was co-designed with young adults who are undergoing professional reintegration in the territory. TotalEnergies Foundation is a longstanding partner of the museum since its inauguration and is the leading patron of this initiative.
For the last 10 years, the Louvre-Lens has endeavored to participate in the rejuvenation of this former mining area. So the museum’s ambition goes beyond the purely cultural realm, to reach the spheres of urbanism, and socio-economic and human concerns. The Louvre-Lens is designed as a living space where people can share, meet one another, and in which a new kind of relation with the regional population is taking root. The museum aims to open access to artistic and cultural education for everyone, for the general public in all its diversity, and to take part in transforming the territory and in creating an environment where everyone can live their lives together, with a specific focus on young people.
As such, the museum is working to bring down the barriers between disciplines, take different perspectives on things and initiate innovative actions. And that’s how the Intime et Moi participative project was born. The museum entrusted the curation of the exhibition to 15 young people supervised by l’Envol, an Art and Social Transformation Center in Arras, France, and by the Lens Liévin local mission.
For six months, the youngsters were invited to visit several different museums, take in the works of art, discuss them with professionals in the sector and find out about their professions, as well as participate in writing and arts workshops. On the strength of these experiences, they brainstormed around the idea of intimacy in the world today – between lock-down and social networks – and how that notion is represented in art.
The young people then selected 26 works of art from different cultural institutions (the Louvre, the Hauts-de-France museums, etc.), that portrayed intimacy from three different angles: domestic, contemplative and how the outside world abruptly invades intimacy.
The teams at the Louvre-Lens all rallied to provide support to these new curators. Students from the universities in Lille and Artois also shared their knowledge in scenography, writing, expography, etc. Other territorial structures such as l’École de la 2e Chance in Artois were also associated with the organization of the exhibition. At the inauguration in December last year, the youngsters proposed guided tours to visitors.
Through its priority focus area, Cultural Dialogue and Heritage, TotalEnergies Foundation endeavors to help young people in socially vulnerable situations find fulfillment, in particular through the arts. The initiative by the Louvre-Lens Museum gives young people affected by insecurity to become players in a large-scale cultural project. An experience that gives them self-confidence, opens new perspectives, enables them to learn new skills (teamwork, oral expression, creativity, independence, etc.), and in the end, contributes to their integration in the world of work.