The contemporary art center

Trizay Abbey, a Romanesque monument in dialogue with contemporary art

In 1989, the commune acquired the conventual buildings of Trizay Abbey, which were then a farm, in order to restore them and the ruined church to save an exceptional architectural site. This major restoration project, which took around 15 years to complete, has restored all the magnificence of this late 11th and early 12th century monastery, which has yet to reveal all the secrets of its origins. Research is still ongoing.
The work was completed in 2004, and it was then that the destiny of the site was determined. From now on, it will be turned into a contemporary art center, while at the same time allowing visitors to discover a major site of Romanesque art.


Un centre d’art contemporain offrant un dialogue permanent entre art roman et art actuel

The cultural project for the abbey took shape very quickly. This exceptional12th century artistic site is home to today’s artistic creation. Firstly, in its architecture: in 2004, the restoration was completed with the creation and installation of stained glass windows by Richard Texier in the main apse of the church, followed in 2012 by those by Father Kim En Joong in the apses. Then there are the year-round exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and engravings…. in the monks’ dormitories on the first floor, which cover an area of almost 250m2, as well as in the church and refectory.

Titus Carmel, Philippe Guédon, Frédéric Benrath and Hassam Massoudy, among others, have exhibited at the abbey.

The art center

Cultural activities at Trizay Abbey and its contemporary art centre are run by an association under the 1901 Act: the Trizay Tourist Office. The monument is owned by the municipality.
An exhibition curator has been set up, made up of professional artists, an art teacher and members of the association.
The curators are responsible for making artistic choices appropriate to the site, and for organising the exhibitions, taking care to create a resonance between the monument and the artist’s work.
The artists selected are professionals with a certain recognition in their field, whether local, national or international.

Anual Program

This educational service was set up in 2015. It offers educational workshops from pre-school to secondary school. 9 educational workshops are offered, including a specific one on contemporary art in association with the artists exhibiting in the abbey: discovery of the works and practical art workshops related to the technique used by the artist are offered to kids.
The abbey is part of the regional network of abbeys « Abbatia » which has signed a partnership agreement with the Rectorat de l’Académie de Poitiers, benefits from the assistance of a teacher seconded 4 hours/week to help the network set up educational workshops adapted to each cycle.

An educational service

From February to November, every two or three months, exhibitions are put on by two or three artists.
The programme is drawn up two years in advance so that the project can be clearly defined with the artists and the material and scenographic conditions for the works can be determined.

Mediation for disabled audience

Art must be accessible to all, and disability must not prevent access to the works. Our mediators have received training in welcoming disabled visitors (all types of disability: hearing impaired, mentally handicapped, visually impaired, people with reduced mobility). These people are extremely receptive to contemporary art. Our tours appeal to the senses, especially the tactile and sensory ones, enabling everyone to have a real encounter with the works.
We also offer exhibitions accessible to the visually impaired.

Des expositions accessibles aux personnes malvoyantes sont également proposées.

The influence of the Trizay contemporary art centre on the region

The Trizay contemporary art centre is a partner of the Pays de Saintonge Romane association (70 communes / 93,000 inhabitants), hosting exhibitions of all the artists’ work created for the Saintonge sites as part of the “Résonances” programme, providing accommodation for the artists while their work is being installed at the Saintonge sites and acting as a meeting place for artists from the region to reflect on creative work and cultural dissemination in Saintonge Romane.

Contemporary Stained Glass

Richard Texier Stained glass windows

As part of its restoration work, the commune decided to equip Trizay Abbey with
contemporary stained glass windows in 2004. The project was entrusted to Richard Texier, a visual artist, and Gilles de Rousvoal, an artist and master glass-maker from the Ateliers Duchemin in Paris. This ensemble is completed by a smaller stained glass window on the south side, which directs light towards the choir of the apse, which has a semi-circular vault. The work has a “cosmological” inspiration (science of the laws of the universe and its formation) linking this site to the whole universe.

Père Kim En Jong Stained Glass

The apsidioles are lit by bays with stained glass windows designed by Father Kim En Jong and installed in 2012. What is striking about his stained glass windows is the absence of glass cuts and lead grids. Without these demarcations, the work takes on another dimension.

The artist explains , “With this line and these colours, I wanted my work to be like a flower in the forest and a bird singing in the mountains, so that visitors would feel soothed and relieved”.

Kim En Jong invented enamel-based painting on glass. After several firings, the stained glass takes on this luminosity, this airy transparency. Each subject has a dominant colour: in this case blue, the colour of the sky and purity, an invitation to infinity and immateriality.

The contemporary sculptures

 “La Source” œuvre du sculpteur Georges Charpentier
“Equi-libre” œuvre du sculpteur André Bemant

The Trizay contemporary art centre receives financial support from the regional council of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine and the Charente Maritime departement.