It has now been two years since the plan for a Centre Pompidou in China was made public by the French museum (see Chinese Centre Pompidou Opening Soon?). Since May 2015 Serge Lasvignes has been in negotiation with the Chinese authorities. This week the institution announced that it had signed a preliminary agreement with the West Bund Group, a Chinese public company that develops the riverside area of the Xuhui district. The Centre Pompidou Shanghai is due to open in 2019. The Paris institution’s statement reports this to be the “most important long-term exchange project in the cultural sphere” between France and China.
“The West Bund Group and Centre Pompidou have signed a preliminary agreement for a unique project of cultural cooperation (2019–2024) between France and China”. The Centre Pompidou Shanghai will be built in a new wing of the West Bund Art Museum, in a building designed by British architect David Chipperfield. A programme of 20 exhibitions based on the Paris institution’s 120,000 artworks will be drawn up. A final contract should be signed before the end of the year.
In the newspaper Les Échos, Benoît Parayre of the Centre Pompidou explained that the partnership will also benefit the Paris museum. Its presence in China will allow it to keep an eye on contemporary Chinese creation and to buy “promising young artists before the art market latches onto them”. It will be the opportunity to stage exhibitions in France of this thriving art scene.
The Centre Pompidou Shanghai is not the only project being developed by the French institution. It also has plans to open in Brussels by 2020 (see Centre Pompidou Ready for Brussels).