We invited Shane Lynam, who we supported with a residency in 2019 to share his experience of the Centre Culturel Irlandais and the benefits to his artistic career below.
"I was the recipient of a six-week residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in November 2019. This opportunity was co-funded by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and the CCI. It is hard to overstate how rewarding an experience the residency turned out to be. I would not hesitate to recommend it to any artist considering applying for future calls.
The CCI is located in the heart of the Latin Quarter in Paris. This ensures that residents are completely immersed in the unique atmosphere of the city and makes it easy to engage with the abundance of culture on offer. The historic building surrounds a courtyard which is an oasis of calm in an otherwise busy neighbourhood. Having lived in Paris between 2006 and 2012, I was already aware of the important role it plays in promoting Irish art abroad.
The residency is open for applications from artists of all types and fellow residents are from a range of different backgrounds. For example, during my residency, two musicians, a composer, a theatre director and a visual artist were present. Spending time with people operating in different disciplines was of great benefit to my own practice.
Conditions at the ICC were ideal for getting work done. I had access to a studio in the courtyard, there was a shared resident’s kitchen and breakfast was provided by the CCI. Director Nora Hickey M'Sichili and the CCI team were a great help in preparing my stay and on site during the residency and were very welcoming and approachable. I enjoyed attending the events that make up the varied and busy CCI cultural programme, including concerts in the stunning chapel.
During my residency, I was involved in two events: Firstly, my gallery, Galerie Bertrand Grimont was showing my work at Paris Photo, an annual International art fair at the Grand Palais. A second exhibition at the CCI, featured works loaned to the CCI by the Gallery and some work-in-progress images that I had made at the beginning of the residency. The opening took place during a night of events put on at annually at the CCI to coincide with Paris Photo.
I was also able to make progress on a previous project entitled Contours, dating back to 2010, when I was living in Paris, about green spaces in the city’s suburbs or banlieue. I made significant progress during the six weeks and had enough material to add a new layer or ‘contour’ to the project. I plan to go back and finish this work in 2023.
Finally, I was able to promote and distribute my first book, Fifty High Seasons (published in 2018), about modernist resort towns in the south of France, to local book shops.
At the time of the residency, because of personal obligations, I was struggling to find the time and space to focus on my own practice. The residency was the catalyst that led me to re-engage with my work. It allowed me to function as a full-time artist for six weeks. This was a particular privilege as I usually try to fit my art work in between the day to day of commercial work.
Looking back now, I can see how the residency affected my practice generally and specifically. Generally, it was the beginning of a process that ultimately culminated in me receiving the Arts Council Bursary Visual Arts Bursary this year. It was exactly the injection I needed at that moment in time. It allowed me to reflect on the process of making my first book and consolidate some of the progress I had made in order to start planning towards a more sustainable future for career. Specifically, it allowed to cement my relationship with my gallery in Paris and to maintain the relationships that I have built up in Paris over the years. It forced me to go back to a body of work that had stalled and give it a new lease of life.
The residency at the CCI is a unique International opportunity, that I would recommend to any Ireland based artist looking for a change of surroundings and an inspiring engaging cultural experience."
2019 Centre Culturel Irlandais Residencies
In partnership with Centre Culturel Irlandais, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council the recipients of the 2019 Artists Residency in Paris were Musician Nick Roth and Visual Artist Shane Lynam.