The Room Projects x La Maison d'Odile | A residency to bring the public closer to the creative process

While having our conversation with Alessandra Chiericato, founder of The Room Projects and curator, she talks about her vision of the project and the artistic dialogue she wants to create.

Can you tell us more about The Room Projects’ residency program for artists and authors in collaboration with La Maison d'Odile?


A place of research, creation, and encounters, La Maison d'Odile was founded in 2021 to provide the contemporary art scene with an atypical venue that fosters exceptional, unexpected, and intercultural connections across the world. Since 2022, The Room Projects has been working on the development of a program of residencies, exhibitions, and symposiums around arts and knowledge. Three artists are invited each year after a selection process that consists in submitting their portfolios to an international committee. As the artistic director and head of The Room Projects, I am in charge of finding the artists to propose to the committee. 



How did the idea of its creation come to your mind?


From the very beginning, I have focused the research and the activity of The Room Projects around the places for artistic production and creation. Naturally, the residency program was part of the vision I had back in 2019 when I first started to build this curatorial project. I have always been fascinated by the ateliers as the places where one can feel the essence of an artist. Bringing the public closer to the creative process is the main objective of The Room Projects' residency programs. Speaking with artists, I have realised that the urgency was to create a place where they could focus on their research for a new project, far from the "jet set" of the big city. That is why, despite the challenge, when I was proposed to direct La Maison d'Odile I immediately said yes: being surrounded by nature, in a small village of 150 inhabitants, but still in a prolific region, it was exactly what I was looking for. 



Please explain to us quickly the concept behind La Maison d’Odile. Can you describe the place where it is located?


La Maison d'Odile is a tribute to Odile, an incredible woman who turned this house and other places she occupied into a home, a refuge, and a shelter from which she supported young adventurers who were lost and daring in their endeavors. At the age of 17, Odile left the village of Bernède to go to Paris with the desire to become a nurse. But she would become much more: an anesthetist and head of an established hospital department, she would use her knowledge, time, money, and empathy to help young people with psychological difficulties. Her flats in Paris were the scene of her generosity. The owner of La Maison d'Odile wanted to extend her vocation, making a tribute to this extraordinary person. 


So, La Maison d’Odile has been imagined as a dynamic place of art and encounters. Located in the Gascon village of Bernède, La Maison d'Odile consists today of different spaces located in the middle of the corn and sunflower fields of the Gascony region - in the heart of south-western France - a few hours from the capital. These spaces are made available to artists and authors to promote international dialogue.



What artists are currently residing there? What about its future residents?


The residency invites two to three artists each year, from April until October, for a minimum of two weeks.  In this first year of activity, we opened the residency to two artists. We have currently hosted Adrien Van Melle (Paris, France) and Kelani Abass (Lagos, Nigeria). For each of them, I created a small podcast/interview available on The Room Projects website. It gives an insight into the residency and artists' stay. 


We have confirmed three other artists for next year and we are already working on the finalisation of artists for 2024. We'll reveal their names soon, but I can anticipate that we have selected three different visual artists coming from Austria, Italy, and Egypt. 



What can you tell us about the private collection TaNy & PaWo that supports the project?


TaNy & PaWo - La Collection was founded in 2016 in three cities - Taipei (TA), New York City (NY) & Paris (PA), and around the world (WO). It can be read like “tiny” and “power” in English, two words that reflect the collection’s mission: tiny actions that empower emerging talent in both the artistic and corporate worlds. 


The collection has been developed into chapters. Each one includes different objects, books, artworks, and old vinyl. Artists can dive and explore the collection and are allowed to use some of it to develop their research. Sometimes, they can use the collection as a tool for production - for example, Kelani Abass took some of the tampons of the collection to Nigeria with the aim to produce some new works. 


TaNy & PaWo - La Collection is also open to the village as an alternative and cross-cultural archive around Art and History.