The Portrait Room. Portrait#1: Sylvie Zavatta

Sylvie Zavatta

Me and Sylvie Zavatta shared one hour, two coffees, and a lighter.

Sylvie Zavatta became a curator while she was still studying modern literature and art history. Director of FRAC Basse Normandie when she was only 25 years old, and currently director of FRAC Franche Comté, she knows exactly what the pros and cons of being an institutional curator are. Her debut as a freelancer seems to have influenced considerably her approach to curating and her considerations about the role of the museum. Her motto for the recently opened FRAC in Besançon is “no to immobility:” its program includes the production of site-specific artworks, new purchases, and the promise of collaborations with local realities. She is aware that “what is in the underworld makes the art scene vivid and interesting,” and that there are things that a museum cannot afford. ‘The public must be accompanied to the discovery of the plurality and diversity of cultural expressions, from the largest to the smallest, from the well-established to the emerging ones,” she says. Therefore, if this is the end of nomadism for FRAC (Regional Fund for Contemporary Art) of Franche Comté, nevertheless this new stability will not be stagnant, according to this brilliant director. Both the ground floor, devoted to new productions, and the installations placed around the structure are conceived with the same vocation of support towards artists. The curator’s intention is to communicate with her audience through a simple but attractive organization of the exhibition space. This is quite evident from the inaugural exhibition, entitled Des mondes possibles: the show is articulated around the valuable contribution of Mathieu Herbelin’s scenic design (a glass box that contains artworks and is itself an artwork, entitled Sans soleil \ Satellite 01 (2013) as a tribute to Chris Marker) and puts a considerable number of pieces from the FRAC’s collection into a flexible dialogue. The main theme every work has been requested to confront with is “time,” its guidelines chosen by Sylvie Zavatta for the multiplicity of interdisciplinary connections that this subject may offer.


Useful links I went through getting ready for this interview:

What is a FRAC?

FRAC Franche-Comté’s website

Exhibitions now on view

Photo credit: Yves Petit.



Sat 05/18/2013, 9° C, Cafeteria of FRAC, Besançon, France

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by Michela Alessandrini
in The Portrait Room

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