Interview with Patrick Gyger, Director of Plateforme 10
PLATEFORME 10 opened its doors this summer and welcomed three museums in the canton of Vaud: mudac, Photo Elysée and MCBA, as well as the collections of the Toms Pauli and Félix Vallotton foundations. We had the pleasure of meeting its director Patrick Gyger and asking him a few questions.
Is it fair to say that with PLATEFORME 10, Lausanne has created a huge success?
Patrick Gyger The canton of Vaud made the opening salvo, but Lausanne is a front-line partner. It’s not so much a question of positioning ourselves in relation to other Swiss or French-speaking cities, but rather of showcasing our heritage and local skills. Clearly, the opportunity to open a new district in a city doesn’t present itself very often, and furthermore to dedicate this district entirely to the arts. So it is an ambitious, even daring, project that we’re presenting and of which we can be proud, along with all the teams of the public foundation that now manage the museums at Platforme 10.
The PLATEFORME 10 project has all it takes to win visitors’ approval: it is on an enviable scale, but above all it has an unprecedented ambition to take visitors on a journey between the disciplines of design, photography and fine art. How will this cultural offer be presented?
PG The offer will be both unique and multi-faceted. It will be made up of numerous exhibitions, but also of all kinds of artistic events, conferences, festivals, meetings, performances. All these elements aim to be of high quality, as befits the museums that make up this district, yet also accessible; this is not a contradiction.
Each museum retains its own distinct character and programme. Would it be possible in the future to have projects with a common theme across all three museums?
PG The district’s opening exhibitions were based around a common project this summer, in this case on the theme of the railway, as a tribute to the history of the district where we are located. There will be other common subjects, or at least subjects that will be treated in different ways across the various institutions, but not necessarily on this scale. It is not so much a question of speaking with one voice as of creating a meaningful dialogue.
In addition to the three museums, Plateforme 10 has also involved the restauration of arcades, the development of an active travel route and the opening of several restaurants. Finally, how should we look on this open-air living space?
PG Like a neighbourhood that’s as friendly and as welcoming as possible, and one which facilitates access to high-quality artistic offerings for as many people as possible. We want the public to come here to have a drink and for the atmosphere of the place to encourage them to visit a museum. There must be a variety of points of entry for the diverse audiences we want to attract.
A possible reading between the lines of this unprecedented project is that the canton’s authorities wish is to make this site a cultural hub.
PG If that means a central point, a place which reaches out generously and leaves room for other cultural players, then I share this wish. It is not our place to monopolise resources and audiences, but to be a gateway to other projects.
Some cultural players believe that Platforme 10 will breathe new life into a sector that is currently in turmoil. What do you think?
PG Breathing new life into the sector is a wonderful idea, of course. We will tackle that; but first of all, we shall attempt to interrogate the place of museums in society today, and consequently the place of artistic projects in our environment. Much is currently in turmoil, and museums cannot separate themselves from the world in which they evolve.
Who will visit Platforme 10?
PG First of all, the local public, in the broadest sense of the word: the people of Lausanne, Vaud, Romandy, Switzerland. Plateforme 10 exists primarily for them. We are also clearly well placed to be a driving force in raising the visibility of our region and attracting visitors to it. If we can contribute to making the capital of Vaud more visible, to attracting foreigners to the Lake Geneva region, that is undeniably a plus.
Interview by Thierry Dime, Editorial Director of Le Monde Economique