neil cummings


Founded in October 2013, Lafayette Anticipation of the Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette will open its doors in 2018 in the Marais district of Paris. This public interest foundation aims to support contemporary artists, design and fashion, recognising their potential to participate in social change, and also to anticipate that change.

Lafayette Anticipation is structured around 'production' and is the first multidisciplinary centre of its kind in France. A place of experimentation and research, Lafayette Anticipation offers new tools for developing prototypes, implementing projects and in addition to exhibitions, a variety of forums - encounters, conferences, conversations, performances, screenings, visits, workshops and an online presence, will facilitate exchanges between artists and various publics. Lafayette Anticipation will be permeable, a constantly evolving space, motivated by a desire to surprise and be surprised.

I contributed to:

anticipations: a manifesto on the challenges of contemporary production in the arts


The publication concludes the pre-launch programme organised by the Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette which begun in October 2013 - 2016. It presents the institutional and curatorial research initiated by the Fondation through production residencies, exhibitions, commissions, workshops and events as well as through numerous projects in France and abroad.

My contibution was a series of letters that emerged from conversations and research in the archive of the Galeries Lafayette, letters exchanged between Theodore Bader co-founder of the great Parisian store, and Gordon Selfridge, proprietor of Selfridges in London.

Here is a translation of the letter that initiated the exchange:


13th May 1929
My dear Gordon
It was wonderful to see you for lunch at Benoit. I hope luck was kind to you in Nice, and that Jenny, Rosie and Francois enjoyed the opening of the Palais de la Méditerranée. I heard it was quite an event.
Business is generally good here with us, despite the general air of caution. We have taken on more women for our garment factory, I do believe we are close to 4000 machinists, and as you know I have interests in a fashion house, Vionnet & Cie. I am curious to see what is possible when we will be able to create new lines, produce and sell quickly to a large audience, to be better able manage the whole process.
I write in haste, in part because last week I heard a Mr. Pierre Lacau speak at the Ecole des Beaux- Artes. Mr. Lacau was formerly director of the Institut français d'archéologie orientale, and he gave a fascinating account of the moment when Mr Carter entered the tomb of King Tutankhamun in 1923, in the Valley of the Kings, in Egypt. Mr Laclau described the tomb as a time-capsule, a window onto the deep past, a description which inspired me into thinking.
What if we could create a window and look, not backwards, but forwards. What if we could look one hundred years into the future; a window to 2029? What I wonder, will our our enterprises consist of? What will we be selling? And indeed, what of the future for London or Paris, or Europe?
My dear Gordon, you are truly the most innovative businessman I know, full of novelty and invention. I wonder if you would indulge me, and speculate a while. I eagerly await your response,
Yours Sincerely





The rest of the extraordinary letters are in the publication


With contributions from: Rem Koolhaas and RoseLee Goldberg, Chris Dercon and Lidewij Edelkoort, Howard Becker and franck leibovici, Charles Aubin,  Anna Colin and Hicham Khalidi, Guillaume Houzé, François Quintin, Judith Wielander and Matteo Lucchetti, Neil Cummings, Simon Fujiwara, Olaf Nicolai, Emmanuelle Huynh, Anja Aronowsky Cronberg, Jerszy Seymour, Gabriel Sierra, Ulla von Brandenburg, Anicka Yi, Rotor, Paul Kneale and Raphael Hefti, Flora Katz / Editathon Art+Feminism

Editorial direction: Guillaume Houzé, François Quintin
Bound, 220 x 320 mm; Full colour; 312 pages; October 2016
Co-published with JRP Ringier; French and English versions
Graphic design by Yorgo&Co (Paris)
French ISBN: 978-3-03764-484-3
English ISBN: 978-3-03764-462-1
EUR 35 / £ 28 / US$ 45

Buy it here

See the related research in Re-source, More things can happen and Self Portrait; Arnolfini



48.856614, 2.3522

Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette
9 rue du Plâtre

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