Jean-André Viala, a man of culture from the Pays Fort

“I have always worked in the cultural organization”, underlines Jean-André Viala, president of the Singularités association, creator of the contemporary art project Allons Voir! in Paese Forte.

From Japan, Laos, Mauritius to Bilbao in Spain, Jean-André Viala spreads his love for culture and art. Established for 10 years in Tokyo, he returned to France to take care of the national scene of the cultural organization, then went abroad to become the cultural attaché of the French network. Finally determined to anchor himself in the French countryside, he fell “a bit by chance at Pays Fort”. It is for him the France of dreams. “After 10 years in Japan, I dreamed of hilly landscapes, forests, beautiful houses, softness … and I found all this here”. For several years he continued his comings and goings abroad, especially to Bilbao, due to his profession. At the time he was director of the French Institute in Paris.

Create a path of contemporary art

Now retired, Jean-André Viala is based in Vailly-sur-Sauldre in the Pays Fort and is in charge of Allons Voir! that he is so dear to him. “Once I retired, I wanted to consolidate a cultural project in Pays Fort and thought that a contemporary art course combining culture, heritage and tourism would be interesting for the region. I initially went to see the DRAC and the region to convince them on the subject and they were hooked right away. We were therefore able, with my partner Roland Schar, artist and teacher at the École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, as well as with a friend from Pouilly, to give life to the Allons Voir! Project. Ceci grâce à aide de la DRAC, de la région, de la CdC Pays Fort, Sancerrois, Val de Loire, des communes, des élus, des établissements Martignon (détenteurs des silos de Badineau) et du département “, révèle-t -they.

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This contemporary art path has existed for four years now and reveals new artists every year. The sites also remain perennial, such as the Grange Pyramidale de Vailly or even the Polyrythmie work visible on the Badineau silos for a few weeks, which allows organizers to always enrich their path without changing their finances. “We have a curator every year who is in charge of finding new artists for the project. He changes every year, so the path is always different. We try to present a variety of artistic practices. This time, for the 5th edition of the course which will take place between the first weekend of July and the third of September 2023, I called Yves Sabourin who is an inspector of cultural creation. In 2022 we began to integrate a work that lasts over time, the Badineau silos. The goal is to repeat it every year to permanently have a work of art that remains over time and to broaden our path. “

This formula allows to satisfy visitors from near and far, as well as the owners of the premises. “The dimension of the heritage of the path is very important for me, as a territorial delegate for the foundation of the heritage. Art is part of the history of heritage and is an integral part of contemporary creation. The owners are very attached to their sites and are happy to see the story continue. “

But the Allons Voir! don’t stop there. Jean-André Viala also intervenes in schools to present his activity to the youngest and introduce them to a part of contemporary art culture in the Pays Fort.

More and more cultural projects

Other ambitions guide the president of the Singularités association. “We would like to develop the course by expanding the territory. I am also President of Antre Peaux de Bourges, a multiple programming space. There is therefore talk of creating a research laboratory relocated to Badineau, but nothing has yet been done. Then, in addition to the Allons Voir! Project, perhaps we will work in collaboration with a collective of designers specializing in rural areas. Their goal is to create unlikely connections between the actors of the territory to give life to new objects. The idea here would be to make known the know-how around the earth, in particular the pyramid barns, and to try to create a street furniture path for hiking trails for example. For the moment the collective is looking for funding. “
The various hats of this Vaillysois allow him to multiply his social network. “It’s great to be able to meet different audiences through my projects. I can also exchange with the festival committee, the Tourist Office, the artists … or even people in general. It’s really rewarding for me ”, concludes Jean-André Viala.

Angelique Pereyron

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