Originating in Berlin at the beginning of the twentieth century, the concept of a ‘library of artwork’ (artothèque) was introduced in France in the 1980s. These establishments allow everyone to discover contemporary art by living with it at home or at work.

Beyond creating collections and lending artworks, which are the driving pillars of artothèques, they also organize exhibitions, produce artworks in close collaboration with artists, and offer art mediation and training. It is the combination of these manifold endeavors in addition to the daily interaction with borrowers that enables arthotèques to reach their dual objective of supporting artistic creation and increasing public awareness.

L’Artothèque de Caen, Espaces d’art contemporain (‘Caen’s Artothèque, Contemporary Art Spaces’) was started in 1986 thanks to the initiative of the City of Caen. Today, with a collection of 2,500 works, it allows the population of 20,000 inhabitants to enjoy art in their private and professional surroundings. The establishment supports artists’ creative activity through purchasing and producing works as well as by offering residencies.

Claire Tangy, Director of the Artothèque in Caen

ETIENNE BOSSUT, Gamme 51234, 2005, 120 exemplaires

PAUL COLLINS, Lustre, 1993, monotype, 100 x 70cm

CHRISTOPHE ROBE, À vous de jouer, 1994, Dessins, (polyptyque), 5 éléments de 16x16cm

ANNE HÄMÄLÄINEN, Milk, 2007, photographie, 60×60 cm



Talk Prix SOON & R.L.D. Éditions, feedback
Saturday, December 2nd at 3pm, with Matthieu Dufois, laureate of SOON Award 2015

Talk « Arthotèque, vous avez dit Arthotèque ? » (Library of artworks, you said library of artworks ?)
Sunday, December 3rd at 3pm with Claire Tangy, Director of the Arthotèque de Caen and Isabelle Tessier, Director of the Arthotèque of Vitré. 


The BnF and contemporary prints, a forward-looking decision

The National Library of France (the BnF) holds no less than 40 million books, prints, periodicals, manuscripts, photographs, sound recordings, and further items. More than a quarter of these are contained within the Department of Prints and Photography. Led by Cécile Pocheau-Lesteven, the dynamic section of contemporary prints and artist’s books is developing future-oriented initiatives in support of contemporary print art and the increasing number of young artists taking significant interest in this medium.

For its upcoming second edition, SOON, the contemporary limited edition art fair will present a selection of prints, in alliance with the BnF, from the national library’s collection to showcase the latter’s endorsement of this artistic production. Without the pretense of being entirely exhaustive, the group of works thus assembled will appeal to artists (Jean-Michel Alberola, Jean-Charles Blais, Jasper Johns, Lamarche-Ovize, A.R. Penck, Markus Raetz, Ed Ruscha, Barthélémy Toguo…) for the wide array of styles and techniques that it encapsulates. Displaying lithographs, etches, aquatints, drypoints, and screen prints, amongst others, will mirror the multifaceted nature of contemporary art. Maintaining this degree of diversity contributes to contemporary art’s perpetual renewal.

Philippe Piguet, artistic director of SOON PARIS/ Le Salon de l’OEuvre Originale Numérotée

Jean-Michel Alberola, Arpenter l’intervalle, 2014, impr. idem, éd. item, lithographie, 88,2 x 60 cm. BnF, Estampes.


Everyday at 3pm, Philippe Piguet, the artistic director of the fair, invites an artist or an expert to discuss about the wide range of practices linked with the production of multiples.

Friday 11th at 3pm: “From a practice to another” 

Pierre Buraglio, artist

Saturday 12th at 3pm: “From a practice to another”
Marie Aerts, artist

Sunday 13th at 3pm: “The profession of publisher”
Grégoire Robin, Éditions Dilecta