Emma Lavigne has been appointed president of Palais de Tokyo
She will take over the reins at the beginning September, replacing Jean de Loisy.
As an art historian, Emma Lavigne holds degrees in history, and the history of art and architecture, from both the Sorbonne and the École du Louvre.
She started out as a curator at the Cité de la Musique in Paris in 2000. In 2008, she entered the Centre Pompidou as a curator of contemporary art, before being appointed head of the Centre Pompidou-Metz in December 2014.
Emma Lavigne is an exhibition curator and has worked in both France and abroad, most notably as the curator of the French Pavillon at the 2015 Venice Biennale and was guest curator at the 14th Lyon Biennale (2017), entitled Floating Worlds.
Art historian, she studied history, history of art and architecture at the Sorbonne and the École du Louvre. After having worked at the ICOM International Council of Museums, Monum/Caisse nationale des Monuments historiques, and having taught at the École Supérieure dArchitecture de Paris-Belleville, she became a curator at the Cité de la Musique in Paris in 2000, where she set up a cross-disciplinary programme.
During this time, she curated numerous exhibitions dedicated to the relation between music, sound and contemporary art, including Electric Body, which examined the body's place in music, and Espace Odyssée, which explored the notion of space in contemporary music and was staged by the artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. She also presented solo projects dedicated to artists from the music and artistic scene including composers György Ligeti, Chen Zhen, Christina Kubisch, Saâdane Afif and Christian Marclay. The highly commented Marclay Replay exhibition was staged in various venues in Australia, Spain and Canada. While she was at the heart of this Parisian institution dedicated to contemporary music, she organised, for the first time in France, shows on the pop-rock music scene including Jimi Hendrix Backstage, Pink Floyd Interstellar, John Lennon Unfinished Music providing a historical take on the important figures of pop music. Based on these experiences and the associated programme of concerts by Kraftwerk and Sonic Youth for instance, she is invited by the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal where she was asked to design the Warhol Live exhibition in 2008, followed by Imagine Peace with Yoko Ono in 2009. The I am a cliché exhibition on the heritage of punk aesthetics staged at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, then in Brazil in 2010/2011, followed along the same lines of historical reinterpretation.
In 2008, she joined the Centre Pompidou as a curator of contemporary art, where she continued to specialise in the relationship between visual arts, music, dance and performance. She contributed to the elles@centrepompidou exhibition, dedicated to women artists, and organised the show for its presentation in Brazil. While working on the collection and acquisition of emblematic works, such as The Clock by Christian Marclay which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennial in 2011, she curated several exhibitions, including Dancing through life (with Christine Macel) which examined the links between dance and visual arts and included a rich events programme related to the exhibition. In charge of the inaugural La Couleur exhibition for the Centre Pompidou Mobile, she was also behind the much-talked-about retrospective of Pierre Huyghe at the Centre Pompidou, which introduced living organisms into the museum environment. This show was then presented at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne and at the LACMA in Los Angeles (2014). In 2015/2016 she also curated the Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, which toured at the K20 Düsseldorf in 2016.
Since 1st December 2014, when she was unanimously appointed Director of the Centre PompidouMetz, she has curated several exhibitions and installations like the greeted by the press Warhol Underground, Kimsooja- To Breathe - installation of the Korean artist Kimsooja presented as part of the France-Korea year, Musicircus. Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou collection, Oskar Schlemmer. The dancing artist and Infinite Garden. From Giverny to Amazonia. Between 2016 and 2018, she curated a trilogy dedicated to the artist Jean-Luc Vilmouth punctuated by the presentation of the film Lunch Time, and the installations Jungle Science and Café Little Boy. It is also under her curatorial that the exhibition The Adventure of Colour. Masterpieces from Centre Pompidou Collection, devoted to the persistence of reflections on colour in the history of modern and contemporary art, was presented between 2017 and 2019. In 2018, she was the curator of the exhibition Modern Couples, produced in collaboration with the Barbican Art Gallery of London. In June 2019, Emma Lavigne is the curator of the exhibition Rebecca Horn. Theatre of metamorphoses. In October 2019, in Poitiers, she initiates with Emmanuelle De Montgazon a new contemporary art event entitled Traversées with Kimsooja as a guest artist. For 2020, she is preparing the exhibitions Susanna Fritscher and The Sky as a Studio. Yves Klein and his contemporaries.
Along with the artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, Emma Lavigne was likewise selected by a panel to represent France at the Venice Art Biennial in 2015, with their project rêvolutions, which offered a subtle reflection on the systems of control by man and nature, on the notions of hybridisation and of living together. She was guest curator of the 14th Lyon Biennial, Floating Worlds, which redefined the word "modern" in the current creation and the context of a rampant globalization, generating a constant mobility and acceleration of flows.
On April 19, 2016 Emma Lavigne was awarded the medal of the Legion of Honour, highest French order of merit, which she received from Mr. Serge Lasvignes, President of the Centre Pompidou, Paris. She is a member of various Boards of Directors including the Centre Pompidou, the Higher School of Art of Lorraine and the National Choreographic Centre - Ballet of Lorraine. She has also been a member of several juries including Artagon, Artissima, Sam Art Project, Luxemburgish Pavilion at the Venice Biennial.