Xavier Douroux tragically passed away on 28 June. He was one of the most influential and most astute figures in the world of contemporary art in France with Le Consortium in Dijon, which he co-founded with Franck Gautherot as well as a book publisher via Les Presses du Reel.
He’s been moving mountains since the 1970s.
With his team, The Consortium showed from early on artists including Richard Prince, Daniel Buren, Christian Boltanski, Dan Graham, Rodney Graham, Maurizio Cattelan, Pierre Huyghe, John Currin, Yayoi Kusama,Xavier Veilhan, Alex Israel and so many others. I wrote about several remarquable shows which took place at Le Consortium recently.
Xavier Douroux was also a film producer working alongside Charles de Meaux at Anna Sanders Films.
The film Uncle Boonmee by Apichatpong Weerasethakul they produced won the Palme d’Or in 2010 and Xavier Douroux was very proud of that.
The mass held in his honour in Dijon began with the Nick Cave song ‘Into My Arms’ with the following lyrics:
« I don’t believe in an interventionist God
But I know, darling, that you do ».
Here is an homage from some artists who knew him well.
*YAN PEI MING
*RACHEL FEINSTEIN sent me this story:
I remember the first moment I met Xavier, he was the one picking me up from the TGV station in Dijon for my first solo show at a museum and I was very excited and nervous. It was in 2006 and I was not a very good traveler, an American who did not speak any French. Just coming off the plane and figuring out how to get to the train station to take the TGV was a daunting feat.
When I arrived at the station overwhelmed, Xavier greeted me but was openly frustrated and cross. He told me that all my sculptures had arrived but the crates were too large to be delivered directly to the museum in the center of town. He said that we would have to deal with this right then and there. I was so jet lagged and wanted a shower. I couldn’t believe that the director of the museum himself and I were the ones to have to figure this out, having been used to art handlers taking care of these details.
Xavier immediately drove me to the side of a highway on the outskirts of Dijon where a gigantic truck was parked. This scene was nothing like I expected when I imagined arriving for my solo museum show! The two truck drivers were sitting in the front smoking and Xavier and I proceeded to open up each crate and carefully move all the sculptures just the two of us one by one into a much smaller van which we drove into the inner city of Dijon.
After this, I felt that I « passed the test » to earn Xavier’s respect. From then on he loved showing me the art he grew up with and studied, like « the Well of Moses » and taking me to eat frogs legs and foie gras over glasses of the best red wine I have ever had.
I love Dijon and my time there because of Xavier. I feel very special that he cared about me and my art. He was so rare, having one foot in the past and one in the present yet also looking towards the future for new artists. There was no one like him and his passing will without a doubt leave a large hole. I am deeply saddened that Dijon does not offer the chance to have a glass of Mercurey over a plate of foie gras with my good friend Xavier anymore.
They did a show at Le Consortium in 1996 and Mathias Augustiniak wrote: »
« We’ve found a place inhabited by people enamoured with art and whose creative processes are constantly renewed in their scale, their consistency and their reality. »
When I asked DOMINIQUE GONZALEZ-FOERSTER her memories about Xavier Douroux she just said: « who else could have supported such a project? » about Cosmodrome ( 2000)
*PHILIPPE PARRENO dedicated his new show in Shanghai at the Rockbund museum, to Xavier Douroux.
*BERNARD BLISTENE,The director of the musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, gave a speech in his honor at Le Consortium in Dijon.
FRANCOIS PINAULT the french collector, businessman and owner of Christie’s wrote in Le Quotidien de l’Art:
« Xavier Douroux was a wonderful organizer, a wonderful builder and a wonderful entrepreneur in the most noble and rigorous sens of the word ».
*Finally, the dealer MASSIMO DE CARLO shared a few words in front of the Maurizio Cattelan piece currently exhibited at Le Consortium. The Italian artist has shown there in 1998. This work called ‘Grave’ belongs to the institution.