In Valréas, cardboard becomes a work of art!
You may not know it, but for over a century Valréas, at the heart of the Enclave des Papes, was the European capital of cardboard (the manufacture of packaging). From this golden age a factory still remains today, MMP Packetis Valréas, and the Cardboard and Printing Museum. A place with an industrial history of this recyclable and biodegradable material, within which an attractive showroom has been created for artists who elevate paper and cardboard to the rank of noble material for their creations (which for 31 years have sometimes left us speechless), the purpose of our visit being to discover the 2023 exhibition, entitled “Transparencies”.
As a prelude, the museum
Cardboard in Valréas has a beautiful history that the museum shows us.
It takes up the whole ground floor of the building, with 2 environments: cardboard and printing, to create boxes of all shapes. We thus discover the industry that contributed to the economic prosperity of the Enclave and the region. This boom was owed to Ferdinand Revoul, a Valréas merchant and ingenious inventor.
With machines in reconstructed workshops, the lives of cardboard workers, typesetters and printers are shared, who added the final tough to the simplest to most luxurious commercial packaging, which made its way all over Europe.
It is a great introduction before entering the exhibition space, which will live up to expectations!
Did you know?
The production of boxes was entrusted to women, who had a corporate song, “la chanson des cartonnières”, the oldest version of which was created in 1905.
2 female artists
A conscious choice by the museum, it shows that contemporary creation is combined with the feminine plural, with sensory universes where cardboard and paper are beautified. It allows us to get to know each of them, to better understand their creative processes, what led them to choose this material and their works, which we are about to discover.
Angélina Maia, who recently exhibited at the Carrousel du Louvre and in Dubai as part of “Art Connects Women” during which she won an award, explains: “Creation is my oxygen, cardboard is a true passion: its texture, its delicacy, its transparency are all assets that I like to share.” We also learn that Angélina creates busts of women to raise awareness of the fragility of the body and of cancer, from which some women in her life have suffered.
Sarah Bathélémy-Sibi, whose work has been exhibited at the Maison de l’Artisanat et des Métiers d’Art in Marseille and at the Château de Flers Museum, describes her art as “Cutting as one draws to create worlds. Cutting as one sculpts, to create volumes, to reveal the shape through the voids. Cutting as one engraves to reveal the texture, the grain. Cutting for the gesture, for the music, for the emptiness that we create in ourselves.”
Sensory, musical, a reflection of the soul, bodies and revealing worlds – cardboard and paper suddenly take on another dimension!
“Transparencies”: works of art between shadow and light, discretion and flamboyance!
Our top tips
To better contemplate the mobiles suspended from the ceiling, a soft carpet invites you to lie down (it is there for that reason). Get comfortable and let yourself be transported
You can see the works from the ground floor.
In the exhibition space, the gaze is caught on all sides, the white of the kakemonos and mobiles by Sarah Barthélémy-Sibi contrasting with the brown of the bases and walls from which the gold and silver busts by Angélina Maia seem to stand out and come to life.
The white kakemonos and mobiles resemble works of haute couture in lace and Provençal quilts, and the busts look like sculptures in steel wire. You only need to get a little closer to confirm that they are made of cardboard and paper, which are the raw materials of these works of art!
The ingenuity, the finesse of the gesture, the delicacy of the forms, the beauty in the transparency and the poetry that emerges from it – we are captivated!
We take the time to contemplate each work, to imagine the shaping of the material, the time for meticulously cutting each micro-space with a cutter to create the perfect play of light and shadow, these effects which make the cardboard and paper almost alive and vibrant.
One last look (no, no, we’ll come back!) and we leave this exhibition which proves that cardboard, which has too often become trivial in our lives, in fact offers a material of choice for inventive artists.
The exhibition can be viewed until the 30th of September 2023
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MuseeCartonnageImprimerie
3, avenue Maréchal-Foch
Open from Tuesday to Saturday and on the first Sunday of the month
from the 1st of April to the 30th of September: 10:00 to 13:00 and 14:30 to 18:00,
open all year for groups by reservation (from 10 people).