Grand bassin - La Piscine (c) A. Leprince M.A.I.A.D. Roubaix
©La Piscine


In autumn 2016, the city of Roubaix started work to enlarge the museum, with the aim of enhancing the current facilities and improving visitors’ overall experience. This extension gives the museum over 2000 m2 of additional space. The new areas will focus on the History of Roubaix, sculpture, the ‘Groupe de Roubaix’ artists and the younger public, promising a richer visitor experience and a wider range of services.
After 18 months of renovation work and six months of closure, in order to install the new presentations, La Piscine Museum is reopening on 20 October 2018.
In honour of its completion, La Piscine is to receive some highly distinguished guests! The much-needed and long-awaited extension brings even more of the treasures of the Roubaix collections to the public, in ever better ways. Retaining its well-known pace of three seasons of exhibitions each year, including 4 to 5 exhibitions and installations at a time, La Piscine will mark this reopening with an exceptional season, bringing together such highly prestigious guests as Hervé Di Rosa, Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti.
In addition to these remarkable exhibitions in autumn 2018, the public will also enjoy a renovated museum with three new spaces for the public: A new wing with a second temporary exhibition room, an overview of modern sculpture and an evocation of the city’s history, a new gallery devoted to the Roubaix Group artists and new art workshops for a variety of audiences. It also includes the renovation of the entrance lobby, ticket office and coat check room, as well as the creation of a restoration workshop, a new La Piscine patrons’ area and service areas for museum staff.
The La Piscine expansion project represents a total addition of 2,300 m2: 1,600 m2 of new constructions and 700 m2 of renovated buildings. Jean-Paul Philippon, the architect who transformed the swimming pool into a museum in 2001, has designed contemporary buildings in harmony with this historic site and supervised the rebirth of a lovely school building dating from the late 19th century, which is perfectly integrated in the essential heritage site that La Piscine forms in the heart of the city.
In autumn 2018, La Piscine will welcome its public in an area of 8,000 m2 entirely devoted to art and to the discovery, understanding and practice of art. It is a socially conscious museum that is completely open to the issues and missions of a cultural institution of our time.

Posted 4 September 2018

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From swimming pool to museum
Under the impetus of mayor Jean-Baptiste Lebas, Roubaix’s old municipal swimming pool, with its public bath wings, was built between 1927 and 1932 by Lille-based architect, Albert Baert, based on the symbolic design of a Cistercian abbey. For about 50 years, it was the only real place in Roubaix where social classes could mix. Whether in the baths or in the large pool, all segments of the population were there side by side. Abandoned in 1985, this magnificent site, coupled with the old Hannart-Prouvost weaving plant, was renovated by the architect Jean-Paul Philippon. This renovated site was opened in October 2001, transforming “France’s most beautiful swimming pool” into a museum, while retaining the integrity of its spaces: The lobby and temporary exhibition room were built on the former plant site, while the large pool was redesigned as a decorative sculpture garden, highlighting the lovely glass mosaic tiles. Thanks to modular installations, it can be transformed into an incredible space for fashion shows, balls or concerts. This large nave provides two levels of unique spaces for presentation of the ceramics, decorative arts and fabric collection in the older shower stalls now equipped with glass cases. The old baths wing is home to the painting and sculpture collections from the 19th and 20th centuries in a chronological and thematic sequence. In the cloisters space developed by Baert in his 1927 symbolist design, a botanical garden devoted to fibre plants has been created. A gift shop, a restaurant, a library, a fabric library and an auditorium round out the facilities available to the public and reflect the ambition of this cultural site.
Since it opened in 1835, the museum, marked by Roubaix’s industrial adventure, is a location where the Applied Arts can be placed side by side with Fine Art. The presentation is both chronological and thematic, creating a dialogue between forms and disciplines: painting is compared with the decorative arts, sculpture with architecture, fashion and furniture...
The old shower rooms are home to the textile collections: clothing, designs, models, fabric swatches and sample books presenting styles, materials and techniques ranging from Coptic Egypt to more contemporary creations.
Vuillard, Bonnard, Dufy, Van Dongen, Marquet, Foujita, Gromaire... The painting collection, exclusively devoted to the 19th and 20th centuries, primarily focuses on expressions of fascination with the beauties of the world: bodies, objects, nature, pleasures of form and colour, fighting all biases based on a hierarchy of aesthetic values.
The modern sculpture collection (Rodin, Carpeaux, Claudel, Bourdelle, Picasso, Lachaise…) is a major part in the visitor’s journey. The most spectacular works form a sculpture garden in the impressive volumes of the pool room.
Thanks to the wealth of its decorative arts collection, the museum can showcase objects, techniques and forms: ceramics from Sèvres, Picasso, Chagall and Dufy, Grüber stained glass, Gallé glassware, furniture and jewellery
The architectural project
In 2001, the museum’s programme was on the cutting edge of a new museum concept focussed on economic life, the textile industry and fashion. Jean-Paul Philippon’s design made the site’s central feature, the large pool, into a magical space, where a large mirror-like water surface can be adapted to all exhibition or event designs.
To reach the heart of the museum, the architect created a number of transparent surfaces, allowing visitors to see glimpses of each part of the site as they make their way through.
You enter from Avenue Jean Lebas via a long brick wall, which is the façade of the old Hannart textile plant, discreetly decorated with a light sawtooth pattern, marking a high point in the project and its integration into the public space. The building is highly representative of the architectural, economic and social heritage of this textile-producing city. This façade is a good surface for the building’s signage, creating an equilibrium with the silhouette of the engineering school across the street, where the museum was located until 1940.
The visit begins, with a panorama in the old neighbouring building, showing unique perspectives of the pool, baths and garden, and showcasing the well-lit spaces and the tactile qualities of the materials.
The applied arts collection is displayed in the old pool area, with the showers and changing rooms transformed into glass cases and consulting rooms. The Fine Arts collection follows a chronological and thematic sequence in the former bath wings. The old pump room has become the museum restaurant, and the gift shop is now housed in the spectacular setting of the filter room. The sea-themed mosaics around the pool provide boundaries for the new modular design, combining a decorative and monumental sculpture garden and a 40-metre long water basin fed by a sandstone Neptune (Lion). The cloisters garden has been transformed into a botanical garden focussing on plants used in the textile industry (fibres, dyes, mordanting). The “fabric library”, with its computer database, on the first floor above the pool, and a specialised library are both accessible by appointment.
In the new spaces of the extension, museographic and architectural choices were made to preserve continuity with the existing museum. This is characterised by the choices of materials, lighting and fixtures suitable for museums, with the difference that today’s choices are more sober and resolutely contemporary. The spaces are high-ceilinged and enjoy a great deal of natural light, the walls are light in colour, interspersed with a few areas painted in delicate colours, the floors are a polished grey slab, and the fixtures are powder grey.
Jean-Paul Philippon’s design is immediately appealing thanks to the spaces created and also to the obvious consistency between the successive parts. This can be seen in the simple, open routing that allows visitors to stroll through the museum in a way that is both poetic and meaningful.
Useless partitions have been bbanished, but the pace of the visit is still defined in spaces that enjoy surprising intimacy. While certain monumental effects have been wisely chosen, they never detract from a harmonious contact with the works displayed along this new circuit. Impressions of space, light, comfort, abundance and discovery grab hold of the visitor to the new La Piscine.
A rich programme for the reopening
Each year, the life of La Piscine is divided into three seasons of exhibitions. Each one is focussed on a flagship exhibition and includes other exhibitions, attractions and events.
This programme complies with the museum’s scientific and cultural objectives and should express the consistency of these choices. The relationship between the artist and the object’s environment has been at the heart of the museum’s approach since Victor Champier’s curatorship in 1902. Since the opening of La Piscine in 2001, an homage to Francis Jourdain, a painter turned decorator/interior designer, has been permanently on exhibit. Since then, unique readings of Dufy (2003), Picasso (2004), Pignon (2006) and Chagall (2007), for example, have continued this commitment by calling on essential figures of modernity.
In addition, the question of the decorative and applied arts has often been raised, with Michel Schreiber (2002), Sandrine and Benoît Coignard (2005), “Une histoire de paravents” (A History of Screens) (2005), Guidette Carbonell (2007), Jacques Le Chevallier (2007), Marimekko (2006), Leleu (2007), Bloomsbury (2009), Agatha Ruiz de la Prada (2009), “Mille et un bols” (One Thousand and One Bowls) (2010), “Eloge de la Couleur” (In Praise of Colour) (2016) … This open-minded approach to modern art, in the spirit of the collections, has made it possible to discover “Carolus-Duran and the Nationale des Beaux-Arts” (2003), Robert De Niro Sr. (2005), Pierre-Victor Galland (2006), Sébastien (2007), André Maire (2008), Francis Harburger (2008), and Albert Braïtou-Sala (2016) among others.
Lastly, in light of the importance on three-dimensional forms in the history, constitution and presentation of the collections, sculpture has become a true speciality of the museum and a pillar in its programming, with Gaston Lachaise (2003), Agathon Léonard (2003), Jane Poupelet (2005), Omar Estela (2006), Jedd Novatt (2008), Henry de Waroquier (2009), Edgar Degas (2011), Camille Claudel (2014) …
20 October 2018 - 20 January 2019: Five exhibits will mark the reopening a.o.:
Hervé Di Rosa is from Sète.
He was born in 1959 on this singular island, as it was called by Paul Valéry, another famous native of Sète. More than anything else, Sète has been a sea port for over 350 years. Could that be the explanation for the artist’s taste for travel, for his attraction to the world at large?

Since 1993, he has travelled around the world in 19 steps, a geographic world, an intimate world, an artistic world, a humanistic world. A journey in space and time.
But let’s go back even more in time. In June 1981, before moving out, Bernard Lamarche- Vadel made the walls of his loft available to eight young painters, including Hervé Di Rosa. The exhibition was called “Finir en beauté”, or “Ending on a High Note”. During the summer of the same year, Ben invited two of the eight artists, Robert Combas and Hervé Di Rosa, to his gallery in Nice for the exhibition “2 Sétois à Nice”, or “Two Sète Artists in Nice”. On 29 September of that year, in the newspaper Libération, he invented the term “Figuration Libre”, or “Free Figuration”, to describe the approach used by these artists: “30% counter-culture provocation, 30% Free Figuration, 30% outsider art, and 10% madness. All together it yields something new.”
In his work, Hervé Di Rosa returns to figuration, in response to decades of conceptual and intellectual art. He combines all forms of art without any cultural and geographic preferences, without any hierarchy of values between culture and sub-culture. His works draw on the fine arts, the applied arts, outsider art and cultured art, Western art and non-Western. He borrows from graffiti, poster art, comics, Pop Art, rock, punk and the culture of the inner city. For several years, he exposed his art in Europe and the United States, notably with Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. In the year 2000, Hervé Di Rosa founded the Musée d’Art Modeste, MIAM or Museum of Humble Art, in Sète, because: “Everything is art” and “Whether it’s a Kinder chocolate egg or an ex-voto, you have to know how to look at it. Humble art is not a genre, it’s a different way of looking at things.”

Globetrotter, vagabond, pilgrim, nomad and lover, Hervé Di Rosa travels. Not as a tourist but like a journeyman, criss-crossing the globe to meet others, to learn and to share his craft and art, curious and attentive to others. Hervé Di Rosa does not create a dichotomy between artist and craftsman, he interlaces the particular know-how of each to create a shared work of art, rich in cultures, experiences and meanings.
In this work in the world, there is nothing exotic or colonial. Rather, it’s an incessant quest for the popular images and know-hows of the Other. No clichés and no platitudes, just a special attention to pushing the envelope of cultures, a profound desire for exchanges, a multitude of cultures sought out and showcased.

From Sophia to Kumasi, from Porto-Novo to Patrimonio, from Havana to Seville, Tel Aviv to Miami, from Durban to Mexico City, from Binh-Duong to Tunis, from North Paris to Little Havana, from Foumban to Reunion, from Addis Ababa to Lisbon, with canvas, paint, telephone wire, lacquer, sequins, embroidery, stones, bronze, gold, clay, wood, shells, ceramics, silver, tanned hides, glass, paper, watercolours, pearls... In partnership with the finest craftsmen, Hervé Di Rosa, patiently and generously pursues the work started decades ago, perhaps in the port of Sète.

Roubaix, a city open to the world, wanted to host a selection of these productions and to present them for the first time to the public. The heart of the exhibition includes the latest ceramic works by Hervé Di Rosa, completed during the 19th stage of his creative world tour, alongside the exceptional craftsmen of Viúva Lamego, one of Portugal’s most renowned manufacturers of azulejos.

Curator: Sylvette Botella-Gaudichon
Designer: Cédric Guerlus/ Going Design
Catalogue published for the exhibition by the publisher Éditions Snoeck, with support from Art to Be Gallery.

This exhibition has received significant support from the Hauts-de-France region, the Métropole Européenne de Lille (Lille’s metro government) and exceptional sponsorship from Viúva Lamego and the Portuguese Embassy in France. The exhibition design was completed thanks to generous support from the Flanders Colours range of paints distributed by Tollens.

La Piscine
23, rue de l’Espérance
59100 Roubaix, France
+33(0)3 20 69 23 60

©La Piscine

©La Piscine

Hervé Di Rosa, Guerrier et robot -Etiope 15 : Tunis, Tunesie, 2006
Peinture sous verre
Collection particulière
©ADAGP, Paris 2018, Photo: Pierre Schwarz

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