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Centre d’art contemporain Le Creux de l’Enfer


Curator: Sophie Auger-Grappin, artistic director of the Creux de l’enfer

Located in the picturesque “Vallée des Usines” (Factory Valley), the Creux de l’enfer is a former knife factory that became a contemporary art centre in 1988. Since 2001, the venue has offered a showcase for new work from the region. Over the years, the venue has made its mark from Moscow to New York, becoming the ambassador of the town of Thiers.


Notre-Dame de France, a 22-metre-high virgin with child in Le Puy-en-Velay, was created in 1860 from the iron of the 213 cannons captured at Sebastopol. At the time, the sculpture was a “super-synthesis” of the interests of the Church, the Army, the French Empire, industry and tourism. Scarlet, metallic and penetrable in appearance, it draws on the motif of the female giant, a mixture of mercy and domination. To climb into her head is to contemplate the panorama that she permanently occupies.
Step into her history and you also perceive, inside her bloody and conservative confines, the grumblings of emancipation. The exhibition is devised as the physical and sensory experience of a critical remounting of the statue, mobilising its mass and structure in an abstract way. Spread over the venue’s levels, immersive structures will host a film in several parts. With them are an ensemble of new works made for the exhibition: these will depict a stained landscape where the material and local dimensions will be linked with the powers of politics, symbolism and the imaginary realm.


12 Oct. 2019 — 2 Feb. 2020
Opening night: Friday 11 Oct. at 7pm

Guided tour on demand by email at info@creuxdelenfer.fr

Vallée des Usines
85, avenue Joseph Claussat
63300 Thiers