The archives of the Art Centre Le Creux de l'Enfer

The archives of the Art Centre "Le Creux de l'Enfer"

1 - Le Creux de l'enfer, an emblematic place of artistic and industrial creation:

An emblematic and striking place in the town of Thiers, steeped in history and legends where the sound of sledgehammers and the roar of flames still dominate, Le Creux de l'enfer is traversed by the Durolle - a surging torrent that continually echoes through the space, to which no artist, no visitor can be indifferent. From the natural light of the first floor to the dark and humid atmosphere of the river below, Le Creux de l'enfer combines the qualities of a natural and historical site, which are particularly relevant for artists and the public who cannot escape this environment.


Created in 1988 in an exceptional industrial building in the Vallée des Usines, the art centre Le Creux de l'enfer is one of the pioneers of decentralisation. A completely atypical player in France, it has encouraged the emergence of significant works of contemporary art. Many of them were born of this context: the place has revealed itself as a territory of experimentation favourable to the production of new forms. Conceived as a place of research and creation, it benefits from an autonomy of programming and a great reactivity. As a true research unit, it is a place of projects and experiments conducive to the emergence of works that are often new and carried out by renowned or emerging artists. Like other art centres in France, it has contributed to the revelation of many young artists (Mounir Fatmi, Mona Hatoum, Claude Lévêque, Laurent Pariente, Maxime Lamarche, Aurélie Pétrel, Delphine Coindet, Anne-Lise Seusse, Sarah Tritz, Laurent Pernel, Marie Voignier, etc.) as well as to their national recognition, before their works were supported by the market and joined the collections of the Frac, museums, foundations and private collections.

Invested with the missions of production, distribution and mediation, the art centre has the vocation to create the most favourable conditions for the encounter between art and the public, notably through the annual programming of monographic or collective exhibitions, cycles of meetings and conferences, but also through exceptional public events in the presence of the artists.

The art centre creates the conditions for a fruitful exchange between artists and the widest possible audience. Located in the town of Thiers, in the Livradois-Forez Park, between the former regions of Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes, the contemporary art centre Le Creux de l'enfer is strategically located in the centre of a large region, in order to better assert an artistic identity of its own, independent of urban centres.

2 - Presentation of the project :

The historical and scientific approach to the links between manufacturing and artistic work will be carried out in collaboration between the team of the art centre Le Creux de l'enfer (project leader) and Anne Favier, professor in aesthetics and art sciences at Jean Monnet University.

At the end of this project, the aim will be to

  • Selecting and digitising the founding historical visual documents of the art centre Le Creux de l'enfer (historical films of the inauguration of the art centre during the symposium, digitisation and indexing of photographic documents of the exhibitions) in order to constitute a scientific and referenced database for the use of all audiences and which will in particular make it possible to illustrate a freely downloadable online publication.
  • To produce video sequences of interviews with artists, workers and industrialists who have worked at the art centre Le Creux de l'enfer. For this we will mainly rely on projects that have led to collaborations between artists and local entrepreneurs.
  • To carry out public conferences to present the results of the work, placing manufacturing work and artistic work in parallel.

Some examples of photographic archives :


Contact : Anne Favier (anne.favier @