© 2005 Fondation Jean-Paul Blachère - info@fondationjpblachere.org
The foundation

The foundation, which was initiated by Jean-Paul Blachère, Blachère Illuminations, company's president, falls within the scope of a company.
Its essential aim is to develop the exchanges and the cultural mutual understanding between Europe and Africa through artistic creation and promotion.
It favours communication and creativity for individual artists or groups of artists who work for the renewal of the forms and the contents of contemporary art.

Within the foundation, art is considered as a way to create and establish a more equitable and more beautiful world. It works for a harmonious and lasting development for which art represents the driving force. By the way, it is interesting to remind the opinion of the Indian Amartya Sen who won the Nobel Prize in Economy in 1998 and who expresses the fact that helping to produce and create is not sufficient anymore and that what is to be done is make sure that the production is sold on the international market under equitable conditions.

The Foundation encourages the cultural actors, artists, critics and students to set about their actions in Africa and elsewhere and it also supports them in their undertaking. In parallel to this, acquisitions lead to the presentation of works of art to the public’s assessments. You can find and have a look at some of those works of art in the rubric entitled Collection.

Furthermore, Jean-Paul Blachère’s Foundation acts and financially supports private initiatives in the following domains:

Cultural domain:


JP Blachère ­ the corporate foundation

Promoting contemporary African art

The JP Blachère foundation is one of France's rare corporate foundations (they number no more than 60 in France). It was the first foundation in the region of Vaucluse, it was registered by the Home Office in January 2004. The Apt-based foundation has committed itself to a five-year programme in a bid to provide support for and promote contemporary African art.

In agreement with his staff members, JP Blachère decided to take a significant step in his company's and his personal life by giving meaning to his action, elaborating the appropriate practical approach and giving it a place in history.
This immaterial investment opens up new horizons in the company's future, for it finds itself on the word stage developing on an international level.

JP Blachère was born in Apt and studied at the Benoit School on the Isle on Sorgue. He took over this father's company which specialized in sound and lighting systems. JP Blachère developed and pushed the company on an international level. Blachère Lights has become Europe's leading company for urban decorative lighting ­ for example, they were entrusted with the task of lighting up the Eiffel Tower for the millennium show.

The company boasts around one hundred direct employees and three hundred more contractual workers throughout the Apt department. Thus, the structure is developing from a locally rooted base to a global level. Although the company is opening up to the world to a large extent, it remains true to its humane, transcontinental philosophy - hence its humanist motives.

JP Blachère and his company have been assisting African countries for a long time; its humanitarian and cultural actions are carried out with the help of associations, companies and in partnership with non-governmental organizations. They take an active part in transporting medical material, equipping hospitals and schools with special equipment, promoting African art and design in Europe and spreading African art in all its forms on a local basis.

The underlying tenets of the project are both aesthetic and humanist. As a matter of fact, culture, identification, open-mindedness, origin and dialogue are essential ingredients to all kinds of development.
Our main task consists therefore of helping African people to achieve a higher degree of development through artistic work. At the same time, we need to help them to confront other cultures and gain equitable access to international markets.

As Amartya Sen, the Nobel-prize holder, puts it, it is not only about giving or helping to produce but to favour access to African work on all markets under equitable conditions. The foundation pursues the aim of helping African artists to make themselves known and to gain easy access to markets.

The foundation has two branches: One of them is located in Africa with Yacouba Konaté, art critic and professor of philosophy at the Abidjan University as its head. The second branch is based in Apt, at the company's heart. Stéphanie Hugues is in charge of coordinating the actions and Pierre Jaccaud acts as artistic advisor.

The foundation has been planning seven types of actions which complete each other to form a coherent whole:

ÿ The critic's columns on the web which are already underway; they are to reach a wide audience via internet and spread through publications, research results, promotional articles and further information.
ÿ The edition of a magazine dealing with cross-disciplinary themes and presenting the foundation's promotional and purchasing policy in a detailed manner
ÿ The organisation of a yearly themed exhibition presenting work from partner foundations, work from our own collections and the results of our workshops and residences
ÿ About three residences per annum allow African artists to work within our company for several weeks.
ÿ The organisation of workshops gathers around ten artists and brings different cultures and generations together. Students are also involved in the activities. The first of these workshops is to be held in Accra in Ghana in March, the second one in Joucas in June 2004
ÿ The collection receives as starting point the collection which has already been constituted by JP Blachère. (All works are borrowed) Each year, the results from our residences, workshops or acquisitions add value to this collection.
ÿ A number of partnerships are built up both in Africa (Dak'art, Biennale de Bamako) and in France (Friche de la Belle de Mai, MUCM in Marseille)

Each year is specifically dedicated to one particular discipline, that is one medium. The first session of 2004 was focused on sculpture, under the honorary chairmanship of Ousmane Sow. 2006 is the year of painting, 2007 will be that of installations and 2008 will draw our attention to videos and performances.

The foundation has blocked the amount of one million euro in order to fund this five-year programme. This allows our public or private partners to widen their leeway by granting financial support to artists or students.

Local artists, students and pupils are invited to make artistic encounters during their stay in Apt and some of them will be requested to participate in the workshops in Africa or in Europe. The workshops as well as the exhibitions are open to the public at large and the publications will benefit from high distribution.

Claude Agnel