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Artist Residency: Jardin Rouge

For the past ten years, the Montresso* Foundation has invited artists from around the world to its “artistic laboratory”, Jardin Rouge. We had the pleasure of speaking with Estelle Guilié, artistic director of the Jardin Rouge artists’ residence in Marrakech. 

What makes Jardin Rouge a unique Artist Residency? 

First of all, we think it is the willingness to accompany artists in the long term… the Foundation inscribes its relationship with the artists over time. 

Secondly, it is an open place where, beyond borders, artistic practices and fame of the artists, special encounters happen. Artists, visitors, art lovers, journalists and the teams of the Foundation, make it a living place.

Finally, it is a hybrid place where exhibition spaces allow artists to present their residency work to the network of Friends of the Montresso* Foundation. In this sense, the Foundation is a place for the support and promotion of artists.

How do you select artists?

We organize a request for applications during the cultural season. Applications are then evaluated by the artistic committee and we formulate a response.
The Montresso* Foundation can also reach out to a particular artist to suggest a collaboration.  

Discover Michel Mirabal’s experience at Jardin Rouge

What are the key elements of a successful Artist Residency?

Obviously, first and foremost: the vision of a project. The founder wanted to create a place dedicated to artists, a creative laboratory, a place free of the constraints of time and space. He was accompanied by passionate teams to get it in shape!

“Isn’t the fixed idea the condition of the maker? I believe so… This unique place was first imagined then built over the years to serve art and artists. It was born from a modest spark in the mind of a discreet man to become the cathedral of a whole team”.

Cédrix Crespel

What impact do you think the Montresso* Foundation has had since its creation?

The Montresso* Foundation has contributed to the emergence of multiple talents and the realization of numerous artistic projects within and outside its walls.

By going beyond standards and borders, the Montresso* Foundation became a cultural platform that enjoys its primary ambition as a conduit for art.

What are your long-term ambitions for the Moroccan art scene? 

The place is anchored on the issue of territories. A place where territory is not seen as a border, rather it promotes encounters and avoids divisions linked to nationality or artistic practices. The Montresso* Foundation aims to open up to the public in the short term, allowing it to defend not only the Moroccan art scene but also art and culture. 

Again and again, we see a story of encounters. The founder came to Morocco for the first time in 1970, he made strong friendships that led him to return regularly before settling there. Marrakech is a cultural crossroads, a city of exchanges. It is ideally placed on the map to develop a dialogue on the continent but also with neighbouring continents.

For you, what is the role of art in today’s society? 

Art is an invitation to stay, to linger. It seems more than necessary to challenge and support the work of creation in order to question our experience to the world and reveal our mutual connections. Culture is, and must remain, an essential common good.


How has COVID-19 impacted Jardin Rouge? 

COVID-19 has shaken the planet. For the moment, it is too early to see the extent of COVID-19’s impact. The Foundation closed its doors between March and August 2020. The residencies will start again in October 2020 but the sanitary situation does not allow us to have visibility.

Faced with these new vulnerabilities, our socio-cultural links and proximities are being redefined. The Montresso* Foundation has had to rethink and modify its initial programming in order to reinvent itself in order to continue its activities to support and promote artistic creation. 

What is your most memorable moment at Jardin Rouge?

There is not one but many precious treasures! Many moments will be forever engraved in our memories. Seeing ideas being born and then existing, exchanging and seeing encounters take place; the accumulation of all these moments makes Montresso* a singular place.

If there were no limits, what would the dream Artist Residency look like to you? 

Jardin Rouge! Let’s continue to dream together.