French town holds street exhibition as galleries are closed

The artistic centre of Collioure is hosting a giant street exhibition so members of the public can enjoy art despite Covid-19 restrictions

28 December 2020
By Joanna York

The town of Collioure in Occitanie has transformed into a giant outdoors art gallery, while more traditional galleries are closed due to the Covid-19 health pandemic.

Visitors to the current exhibition, called Art à ciel ouvert (“art under open sky"), can see 32 different contemporary art works displayed in the town’s medieval streets until January 6.

The paintings, based on the theme of the circus, have been printed on triangular banners around two meters in size, and are for sale.


Event welcomed by locals and artists 

The event, which was organised by the association of artists in Collioure, has been welcomed by locals. One passerby told news source FranceInfo: “I find that it brightens up the town. It’s a change from normal, and it’s prettier.”

Another added: “It’s varied, colourful, well-coordinated and Collioure is the city of painters so it makes sense.”

One of the participating artists, Vincent Pulpito, told FranceInfo that his artwork depicting a clown was “a little nod to a magic circus. Come to Collioure to see our little hearts [the artworks]. 

“This clown loves to see happiness, and that is here. It’s very simple.”

Long history of art in Collioure

Collioure is known as "the city of painters" as it has been home to a number of famous modern artists including Matisse, Derain, Picasso and Rennie McIntosh. 

Artists were said to be enchanted by the special light in the fishing town, which is typically bright and sunny, and many views of the town are now well known via famous Impressionist paintings.

Today the town has 30 galleries, including the Museum of Modern Art, and is home to many artists. 

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