Jérôme Sans

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Jérôme Sans (born 1960[1]) is a director of contemporary arts institutions, critic and curator, living in Paris and Beijing.


Jérôme Sans is an art curator who has curated numerous exhibitions around the world. He was the former director of the ground breaking Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing and co-founder of the acclaimed Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Between 2006 and 2013, Sans was also the Global Cultural Curator for Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts; and, in 2012, he created the French cultural magazine L'Officiel Art, as creative director and editor-in-chief.

Sans is currently artistic director of Rives de Saône-River Movie, and has been named recently as co-artistic director to the Grand Paris Express project - France's largest urban redefinition through culture initiative since Haussmann. He is also the co-founder of Perfect Crossovers ltd, a Beijing-based cultural consultancy group. Sans remains on the advisory board for UCCA, as well as a member of the committee of Sam Art Projects foundation in Paris.

Jérôme Sans began his career in the early 1980s as one of the first independent curators in Europe, aiming to rethink the question of the contemporary art exhibition through an engagement with young emerging artists. Sans devised "pop up" exhibitions, such as: "Fictions", that took place in Mirabel International Airport (Montreal) in 1989; "Escales "in the rural and coastal landscape from the Côtes-d’Armor (France) in 1991; "On the Road - between Besançon and Belfort" in 1994; "Infrasound" in 1995 in Munich, taking place in several public spaces delivering sound to diffuse contemporary art sound pieces. In 1993, with "Before The Sound of The Beep", he invited artists to create sound works diffused through the dial tones of contemporary art galleries in the Marais. "Shopping" was first presented in Bordeaux (1995) where it was produced by the CAPC, and then relocated to New York (1996), to be produced by Jeffrey Deitch Gallery. There, it involved various commercial locations in SoHo, a district that at the time was significantly undergoing cultural change. "Street Life" in 1999 invested 7 "shotgun houses", developed in collaboration with Project Row Houses in Houston. "Wide Screen" exhibition in 2000 presented video works within the streets of seven cities in Japan.

Sans received his diploma from the ICART (Institut Supérieur des Carrières Artistiques) in Paris. In 1982 he was guest teacher at the College of Art and Design at Central Saint Martins between 1998 and 1999 and has furthermore published many books in collaboration with notable artists, photographers and fashion designers. Since 1983, he has written articles for more than 30 international art magazines. He also has contributed to numerous exhibition catalogues for museum and art centers. In 1998, he published a book of interviews with the artist Daniel Buren. In 2002, he was the author of "Araki on Araki" series of photographic works by Nobuyoshi Araki (Taschen). He has also produced a book of photographs by Hedi Slimane (Pitti Immagine).

Exhibitions (selection)[edit]

Jérôme Sans has curated over 300 solo and group shows worldwide, in art institutions and outside, among others:

  • "New French Painting" (1983), travelling exhibition in England (Riverside Studios, Londres; Modern Art Oxford; John Hansard Gallery, Southampton; Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburg);
  • "F. Four French" (1986), (with Sophie Calle, Bernard Frize, IFP )Lang & O'Hara Gallery, New York;
  • "Viennese Story" (1992), Wiener Secession, Vienna (with Douglas Gordon, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Erwin Wurm, Chen Zhen, Eric Duyckaerts, Sam Samore, Wendy Jacob, Kendell Geers, Angela Bulloch, Rainer Ganahl...);
  • "Life style/International Kunst - Mode, Design, Styling Interieur und Werbung" (1998), Bregenz Kunstmuseum (with John Armleder, Daniel Buetti, Dejanov/Heger, Sylvie Fleury, Peter Kogler, Pipilotti Rist, Gerwald Rockenshaub, Cindy Sherman, Heimo Zobernig...);
  • « Pierre Huyghe » (1999), Fundaçao de Serralves, Porto;
  • « The Snowball » (1999) for the Danish Pavilion at the 48th Venice Biennale, where he invited the American artist Jason Rhoades and Danish Peter Bonde to work together (questioning for the first time in this international event, the nationality issue);
  • « Pierre Huyghe, The Process of Leisure Time » (1999), Wiener Secession, Vienna;
  • The Taipei Biennale, entitled « The Sky Is The Limit » (2000), Taipei Fine Art Museum (with Candice Breitz, Loris Cecchini, Claude Closky, Meschac Gaba, Kendell Geers, Hsia Fei Chang, Shu Lee Chang, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Henrik Plenge Jakobsen, Wang Du...), developing this event to an international dimension.
  • « My Home is Yours, Your home is mine » (2001) co-curated with Hou Hanru (at the Rodin Museum in Seoul, Korea & at the Tokyo City Opera Art gallery, Japan);
  • « Voices Over, Arte All'arte » (2001), co-curated with Pier Luigi Tazzi) taking place in several cities in Tuscany (with Marina Abramovic, Cai Guo Qiang, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Jannis Kounellis, Surasi Kusolwong, Nari Ward);
  • « Tutto Normale » (2002) in the gardens of the Villa Médicis (Roma, Italy), (with Alighiero Boetti, Olaf Breuning, Claude Lévêque, Gianni Motti, Mimmo Paladino, Giuseppe Penone, Paola Pivi, Barthélémy Toguo...);
  • « Intermission » (2002) at the Pitti Foundation in Florence (Italy);
  • "Jan Fabre, Save Your Soul" (2005), Maison Jean Vilar, during the Festival d'Avignon;
  • « Here Comes the Sun » (2005), co-curated with Daniel Birnbaum, Rosa Martinez and Sarit Shapira), Magasin 3, Stockholm (with Pilar Albarracín, Francis Alÿs, Ghada Amer, Tacita Dean, Elmgreen & Dragset, Olafur Eliasson, Tobias Rehberger, Jeroen De Rijke & Willem De Rooij...) ;
  • « Restlessness » by Jan Lauwers at Bozar Brussels (2007);
  • « It’s Not Only Rock’n’Roll Baby ! » (Bozar Brussels, 2008 and Milan Triennial, 2010);
  • « That's fucking awesome » by mentalKlinik at Haskoy Yarn Factory (Istanbul) in 2011;
  • « Le coup du fantôme » (2013) with Sun Yuan & Peng Yu in Lille (France).
  • « AS I RUN AND RUN, HAPPINESS COMES CLOSER » (2014) some selected pieces in Laurent Dumas's collection by Jérôme SANS, Hotel Beaubrun, Paris; (France).

Between 1994 and 1996, Jérôme Sans is adjunct curator of the Magasin 3 in Stockholm, Sweden, and from 1996 to 2003, of the Institute of Visual Arts in Milwaukee, United States.

In 1997 and 1998, he is the art director and curator of two editions of the Printemps de Cahors event (France) : "One Minute Scenario" (with Dennis Hopper, Doug Aitken, Thomas Demand, Pierre Huyghe, Valérie Jouve, Ken Lum, Jonas Mekas, Jack Pierson ...), and "La sphère de l'intime".

He co-curated with Nicolas Bourriaud, the Contemporary Art Biennial of Lyon (2005), titled « L’expérience de la durée » ; and the Parisian Nuit Blanche in 2006 (a public event taking place during one night in the streets of Paris).

Institute of Visual Arts (INOVA), Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1996–2003)[edit]

From 1996 to 2003, Jérôme Sans was adjunct curator of the Institute of Visual Arts in Milwaukee, where he presented a serie of solo exhibitions of artist of the new generation of artists, shown for the first time in an institution in the US: Maurizio Cattelan, Pierre Huyghe, Erwin Wurm, Kendell Geers, Philippe Parreno, Barthélémy Toguo, Steve McQueen, Kimsooja, Joachim Koester, Annelis Strba, Lars Nilsson, Annika von Hauswolff...

Palais de Tokyo, Paris (1999–2006)[edit]

Jérôme Sans was from 1999 until 2006 the co-founder and director of the acclaimed Palais de Tokyo (center for contemporary creation) in Paris (France) with Nicolas Bourriaud. This place became one of the most important art institution in Europe, contributing to the international large audience for a lot of French artists.

For the Palais de Tokyo, he has worked with the architects Anne Lacaton & Jean-Philippe Vassal to make the reopening of the place, and with the architect Stéphane Maupin to make the restaurant. Jérôme Sans has imagined new economical strategies for the managing of artistic projects, involving brands for the first time in such art institutions.

In 6 years, the Palais de Tokyo has welcomed more than 1 million of visitors. It was the pioneer of a movement of reconciliation between the City of Light and contemporary art. It has been emulated as a model and for its programming well beyond the frontiers of France, both among specialists, art-lovers, and the wide public.

During this period, the Palais de Tokyo presented more than 80 solo exhibitions (Tobias Rehberger, Chen Zhen, Wolfgang Tillmans, Kendell Geers, Candice Breitz, Wang Du, Bruno Peinado, Katharina Grosse…), 8 group exhibitions (Translation, Hardcore, Live, GNS, Notre histoire…), and more than one hundred events, concerts and performances (Laurent Garnier, Marina Abramovic, Jan Fabre, Christophe).

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2006–2008)[edit]

Jérôme Sans was from 2006 until 2008 the artistic director of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, one of the most important art place in Europe, which he contributed to re-establish Baltic as the most creative place in UK. In a former flourmill, the Baltic is an international centre for contemporary art, it presents a constantly changing programme of exhibitions and events. Jérôme Sans has curated numerous solo shows there, as Kendell Geers, Subodh Gupta, Brian Eno, Kader Attia and Wang Du…

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2008–2012)[edit]

From 2008 to 2012, Jérôme Sans was the former director of the ground breaking Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing (UCCA), created by the Belgian collector Guy Ullens as the first private art center in China. Jérôme Sans has established a new economy for the art center to make the UCCA a place of reference for Chinese and international contemporary art (more than 67 exhibitions & 1500 events in 4 years). Jérôme Sans has collaborated with the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte to redefine the structure of the center and adapt its Bauhaus style to flexible exhibition spaces. Jérôme Sans has been serving as an ambassador for Chinese contemporary art. He was devoted in the building of local and international profile of the UCCA with a world-class program of exhibitions, actively promoting Chinese contemporary art globally by fostering a vigorous dialogue between local and international artists and audience. He helped to bring a new economy to the art center, working with local and international partners. He is now a member of the Advisory Board of the UCCA.

Le Méridien (2006–2013)[edit]

From 2006 to 2013, Jérôme Sans was Global Cultural Curator for Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, a première in the hospitality industry.

Gathering a community (LM100) of interdisciplinary creators/ambassadors (artists, architects, chefs, filmmakers, photographers, perfumes designers... each of them recognized in its field for its innovation), Jérôme Sans reinvented the vocabulary of the company, around the three words "Chic, Culture and Discovery", placing it as a contemporary and unique hospitality group, engaged in today's culture.

Jérôme Sans appropriated all areas of life and the most everyday gestures, turning them into "moments" dedicated to a set of sensual and creative experiences ; from the olfactory identity of the brand, to its original soundtrack, through the breakfast signature and a creative wine menu or the in situ creation of works of art in the hotels. Jérôme Sans has also introduced the establishment of magnetic collector cards made by artists, not only giving access to the room but also to the opportunity to discover for free, the most creative cultural institutions of the cities in which the Méridien's hotels are based worldwide.

"River Movie", Rives de Saône (2010–2014)[edit]

Since 2010, Jérôme Sans has been appointed as artistic Director of the 50 km reorganization of the Lyon docks around the Saône river, one of the most important program of permanent art in public space in Europe.

More than 10 international artists (Tadashi Kawamata, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Didier Faustino, Lang-Baumann, Elmgreen & Dragset, Le Gentil Garçon, Erik Samakh, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Meshac Gaba) have created site-specific works that will be installed permanently on the docks, contributing to the artistic highlight of the City of Lyon. The program has been created through a unique dialogue between architects, landscape architects and artists. The first phase of the program was completed in September 2013 as more than 17 km featuring a dozen works was implemented in situ. The next phases will be executed in 2014 and 2015.

Grand Paris Express (2015-2017)[edit]

Jérôme Sans has recently been appointed as the artistic co-director of the Grand Paris Express together with José-Manuel Gonçalvès by the Société du Grand Paris. This future metropolitan "super underground" will extend over a length of 200 km and will include 68 stations conceived by different architects and designers. Within an integrated approach to the localities/territories and with the aim to accompany the transformation phase, the artistic and cultural direction will contribute together with the creators, designers, architects and the engineers already engaged for the construction of the new underground to the creation of a metropolitan artistic heritage.

Polygone Riviera, Cagnes-sur-Mer, (since 2015)[edit]

From 2015, Jérôme Sans has been named artistic director of the art program of Polygone Riviera (Cagnes-sur-Mer, France), designed by the Unibail-Rodamco group and Socri. Polygone Riviera is the first open-air shopping centre in France and is also a cultural venue that focuses strongly on contemporary art, with eleven works by world-renowned artists placed on display at the centre (Ben, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, Daniel Buren, César, Antony Gormley, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Pablo Reinoso, Pascale Marthine Tayou and Wang Du).

During the summer 2016, a number of works by Joan Miró were displayed at the heart of the shopping centre, thanks to a partnership with the Maeght Foundation located nearby.

L'Officiel Art (2012–2013)[edit]

In 2012–13, Jérôme Sans was creative director and editor in chief of the quarterly art magazine « L’Officiel Art », which is published by the Editions Jalou (Paris). By joining Les Editions Jalou to direct l’Officiel Art, he has bet on a new generation of art magazines in which art and artists narrate and encounter an interwoven world with fashion, style and all contemporary creative expressions. (« If art is a way of life, L’Officiel Art is its magazine »). L’Officiel Art aims to place artists at the centre of this cross-cultural debate. Jérôme Sans managed the first eight issues of the magazine. Eight artists have been invited to create a special cover : Daniel Buren, Farhad Moshiri, Bertrand Lavier, Yan Pei-Ming, Sterling Ruby, Marina Abramovic & Terence Koh, Loris Gréaud et Youssef Nabil.

Books and publishing[edit]

Jérôme Sans has contributed to various art publications. Such as : Flash Art, Artforum, Artpress, UOVO, Tema Celeste, as well as participated in the development of numerous exhibition catalogs for museums or private institutions.

In 1998, Jérôme Sans published the reference book "Au Sujet de" about Daniel Buren (Flammarion) followed by two others on the artists Jonas Mekas (Just Like A Shadow, Steidl, 2000) and Chen Zhen (Les entretiens, Presses du Réel, 2003). He also authored Araki by Araki (a compendium of pictures made by Nobuyoshi Araki), published by Taschen in 2001, In The Arab World Now published by Galerie Enrico Navarra in 2008 and Intermission 1 (a collection of photographs by Hedi Slimane), published by Pitti Immagine in 2002.

More recently, Jérôme Sans completed a series of pocket books that incorporate interviews with artists and architects (Kendell Geers 2013, Ma Yansong 2012, Jannis Kounellis 2012), published by BlueKingfisher Lmt. He is currently working on a new volume about the American artist John Giorno.


Jérôme Sans is the co-author with Pierre Paul Puljitz of the documentary "Jonas Mekas, I Am Not A Filmmaker" (2012), which has been screened at numerous films festivals. He is preparing another film about the artist Kenneth Anger. He is currently preparing a new documentary dedicated to the American author, movie director & artist Kenneth Anger.

He collaborated with Kiki Allgeier on the making of portrayals of the members of the creative community LM100 for Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts (between 2006 and 2013) ; and directed the movie « Breaking the silence » about AIDS in Mozambique, a special command from the UNICEF. For the website of Whitewall Magazine in 2012, Jérôme Sans made two video portraits of 3mn on the architect Ma Yansong and the painter Yu Hong.

He has also been the artistic director of a portrait of MadeIn Company (Xu Zhen) in his studio about a work made for the Biennale de Lyon 2013. This film, directed by Yang Bo (4.20 min) and produced for Zilli, is available on the company website and was screened alongside the work of the artist.[2][3]


Jérôme Sans is also the founder of the French electro pop band Liquid Architecture, created with Audrey Mascina. Their first album "Revolution is Over" was produced by the French record label Naïve in 2006. In 2009, as the first French band to be signed on the Chinese label, Modern Sky, they released their second album "I Love to Love."

Bibliography (selection)[edit]

  • Hand Grenades From My Heart, Kendell Geers edited by Jérôme Sans, Blue Kingfisher, 2013.
  • Smoke Shadows, Jannis Kounellis interviewed by Jérôme Sans, Blue Kingfisher, 2012.
  • Bright City, Ma Yansong interviewed by Jérôme Sans, Blue Kingfisher. 2012.
  • Raqib Shaw, Of beasts and super-beasts, Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery, Paris, 2012.
  • Peter Lindbergh : The Unknown, Schirmer/Mosel Verlag, 2011, 200 pages
  • Goudemalion : Jean-Paul Goude une rétrospective, Editions de la Martinière, 2011.
  • Farhad Moshiri, Editions Ropac, Janssen, The Third Line & Perrotin, 2010.
  • Wim Delvoye : knockin' on heaven's door, Tielt : Lannoo ; Brussel : BOZAR Books, 2010
  • China talks: interviews with 32 contemporary artists by Jerôme Sans, Beijing: Timezone 8, 2009.
  • In the Arab world... Now, Enrico Navarra Gallery, 2008, Volume 3.
  • Jonas Mekas: anecdotes, Paris: Scali, 2007.
  • Jan Lauwers, Mercator, 2007. Jan Fabre, Acte sud, 2005.
  • Chen Zhen: les entretiens, Paris: Palais de Tokyo; Dijon: Les Presses du réel, 2003.
  • Araki by Araki, Taschen, 2002.
  • Hedi Slimane, Intermission 1, Pitti Immagine, 2002.
  • Kader Attia, Alter Ego, Kamel Mennour Gallery, 2002 (Exposition, 19 April – 14 May)
  • Pierre & Gilles, Arrache Mon Coeur, Jérôme de Noirmont Gallery, 2001 (Jérôme Sans, Joram Harel)
  • Au sujet de..., Interview with Daniel Buren, Paris: Flammarion, 1998.
  • Erwin Wurm: One Minute Sculptures, Cantz, 1998.
  • Place de L'ecriture, cinq oeuvres par Joseph Kosuth, de 'One and Three Chairs' à 'Ex-Libris', J.-F. Champollion (Figeac)', Actes Sud, Arles, 2002, 46 pp. (Guy Amsellem, Joseph Kosuth, Martin Malvy, Jérôme Sans)
  • « State of Emergency » in Mounir Fatmi, Fuck the Architect, Lowave, 2009, 256 pp. (Pierre-Olivier Rollin, Frédéric Bouglé, Jean de Loisy, Paul Ardenne, Ariel Kyrou, Martina Corgnati, Jérôme Sans, Evelyne Toussaint, Nicole Brenez, Marc Mercier)


  1. ^ Debailleux, Henri-François (7 October 2006). "Leur ville la nuit". Libération (in French). Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  2. ^ "ZILLI Official International Website". www.zilli.fr. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-17. Retrieved 2013-11-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]