Museums in Rennes : The Frac Bretagne

Sarah Salem | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Coming from the city center by bus, by bike or after a walk along the canal, you will see this giant black building rise up before you. Welcome to the FRAC Bretagne, the most important public art center in Brittany.

What's a FRAC?

FRAC means Regional Collection of Contemporary Art. In the country, the FRACs are public art centers, whose development represent a strong initiative taken by the french cultural policies. Initiated during the eighties, those art centers were created to « decentralise » the exhibitions and resources in the field of contemporary art : until that time, if you wanted to see what a current creation was made of, basically you had to move to Paris. Regional institutions were established, so the work of artists from all over France can get shown, but also to exhibit major pieces of art history and to show the work of young artists.

Each region has its FRAC, which means that there are 23 FRACs all in all, including some in overseas french territories. The one you can visit in Rennes, the FRAC Bretagne, is the oldest of all and was created in 1981 ; therefore, its collection is one of the most important ones, as each year, a public budget is dedicated to buy several artworks. Now the FRAC owns about 5000 pieces, among which you will recognise the works of Christian Boltanski, Pierre Soulages, Jacques Villeglé, and many others.

Frac Bretagne, Rennes © Studio Odile Decq, Roland Halbe / Région Bretagne

Architecture and exhibitions

The architecture of the building might seem impressive at first sight: this massive volume made of concrete and dark glass stands above the Beauregard area, and just in front of the facade, 72 huge granit columns are rising to the sky. This is a monumental sculpture from the french artist Aurélie Nemours, called L'alignement du XXIe siècle, and it is crafted as a megalithic complex, spreading its shadows over the place; keep in mind it appears differently depending on the light, the weather or the time of the day.

Enter inside: the building, covered with stained glass, reveals a bright interior, bathed with light. You are surrounded by a stunning architecture composed with sharp angles and strong color contrasts; notably this huge red polyhedron in front of you shelters the auditorium of the FRAC. The architect, Odile Decq, elaborated a surprising construction, by taking the visitor's moves into account and inviting him to explore the place.

Upstairs, the three great galleries host between four and five different exhibitions per year. Each visit can be a different experience, with inspiring curating projects: this spring, you can visit a great exhibition of contemporary paintings made by about 40 artists, and discover a selection of editions and books from the FRAC's collection.

Frac Bretagne, Rennes © Studio Odile Decq , Roland Halbe / Région Bretagne

You can attend one of the guided visits or just have a walk, and then a coffee or a brunch at the restaurant to end up your visit.

For further information, you can check the website:

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