PRNewswire September 15, 2022

PARIS, Sept. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On September 17 and 18, Kering will take part in the European Heritage Days for the seventh consecutive year, opening the doors of its headquarters, the former Laennec Hospital, at 40, rue de Sèvres in Paris, including an evening event on Saturday.

As every year since Kering reopened this historic site in 2016, the Pinault Collection will be supporting the event, presenting a new exhibition by Belgian artist Edith Dekyndt. For the first time, the exhibition will be part of Women In Motion, Kering’s program that highlights women’s contribution to culture and the arts.

In the East Cross area of Laennec, Kering and Balenciaga will present archive pieces created by Cristóbal Balenciaga, giving the public a rare chance to delve into the House’s history and discover a new facet of this “textile heritage.”  

40 rue de Sèvres, the former Laennec Hospital

40, rue de Sèvres, is one of Paris’ heritage gems. Home to the Laennec Hospital until 2000, it then underwent a vast rehabilitation project, as the architectural masterpiece had been subjected to numerous changes to its original appearance in order to cope with the demands of hospital life.

The challenge was an immensely complex one: to restore the site without betraying its spirit, while at the same time respecting its listed areas, such as the chapel built during the reign of Louis XIII.

Since 2016, the site has been home to the headquarters of Kering and Balenciaga. The Group has actively contributed to the site’s rebirth and change of use, demonstrating the utmost respect for its architectural quality and historical dimension.

To mark the 39th European Heritage Days, whose theme is Sustainable Heritage, Kering wanted people to discover the history of this exceptional location and to make every generation aware of the importance of preserving and enhancing heritage.

Aria of Inertia: A new exhibition by Belgian artist Edith Dekyndt with the Pinault Collection

As part of the Women In Motion program for the first time, the Pinault Collection and Kering are particularly proud to present this year’s exhibition dedicated to the work of Edith Dekyndt. Entitled “Aria of Inertia”, it features a selection of works from the Pinault Collection and new pieces created for the very unique space of the former Laennec Hospital’s chapel.

Re-articulating what has been separated – appearance and reality, subjectivity and nature, the inert and the living – Edith Dekyndt’s work encourages us to rethink our expectations and our habits, and to open our eyes. The artist constantly reassesses the rightful place of humanity and its relationship with the environment.

One of the works presented in the chapel is paired with a choreography that visitors will only be able to view during the Heritage Days. 

By exhibiting a monograph by a contemporary artist at Laennec, Kering is significantly increasing its commitment to women in culture and the arts. Having started out in 2015 in the world of cinema, the Women In Motion program has since been extended to include photography, notably through a partnership with the Rencontres d’Arles, along with music, choreography, art and design.

An exhibition by Balenciaga: « Des robes, au-delà du temps »

In 2001, Balenciaga set up an archive and heritage department dedicated to preservation, promotion, and creation, establishing a policy of conservation and acquisition of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s works. Today, more than 900 pieces by the Spanish master enrich the collections of this heritage department.

As part of the 2022 European Heritage Days, Balenciaga wishes to highlight a selection of these unique creations. These disassembled, oxidized, open, discolored, or unfinished works provide an opportunity to study their skeletons and understand their assembly, shape, and movement. Because of their fragility, they must be handled with precision and care, while a number of conservation techniques are also deployed, such as the use of pH-neutral materials, which can slow the ageing process and give new life to a material that is fading away. These interactions are precious, enabling this ‘archaeology of memory’ to become not only a testimony of the past, but also a source of inspiration for future creation.

The tour of Laennec offers a unique opportunity to view a selection of these pieces. As part of a living dialogue between the past and the present, some of the dresses inspired the House’s 51st couture collection, which was presented in July 2022. A video of the presentation will be shown alongside the heritage works, providing a contemporary echo and illustrating the harmony between the radical style of Cristóbal Balenciaga and the innovative creative vision of Demna.

Throughout the whole weekend, restorers at Laennec will be working on pieces from the archives and heritage department, demonstrating the conservation techniques being used for works that have become fragile over time.

Practical information

Open September 17 and 18 from 10am to 7pm (last entry at 6pm), and in the evening on Saturday 17 until 10pm (last entry at 9pm).

About Kering

A global Luxury group, Kering manages the development of a series of renowned Houses in Fashion, Leather Goods, Jewelry: Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Brioni, Boucheron, Pomellato, DoDo, Qeelin, as well as Kering Eyewear. By placing creativity at the heart of its strategy, Kering enables its Houses to set new limits in terms of their creative expression while crafting tomorrow’s Luxury in a sustainable and responsible way. We capture these beliefs in our signature: “Empowering Imagination”.


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