“It will be a unique museum”. This was expressed by the director of the Rodin Museum Paris, amelie simier, who yesterday, together with a delegation from the French cultural space, visited the Viera y Clavijo Park, future headquarters of the Rodin Museum in Paris. Simier defended that the Tenerife headquarters of the Rodin Museum will not be a simple “copy and paste” of Rodin Paris, since “the capital will contribute its own vision of Rodin’s work”, thanks to the special relationship that Santa Cruz has with the sculptures.
The director defined the Viera y Clavijo as a “wonderful” environment, highlighting that the project of the Santa Cruz City Council, in which the Cabildo also collaborates, “fits perfectly with the vision of the Rodin Museum” to grow outside the borders of France . “We are discovering an extraordinary place that is going to be given continuity; that in the past welcomed many people and that it will continue to do so in the future hand in hand with the Rodin Museum”, added Simier.
The mayor, José Manuel Bermúdez, accompanied the delegation on the visit to the old Las Asuntistas school, in which the director of the Rodin Paris Museum was especially impressed by the building’s chapel. “The original museum in Paris also has a 19th-century chapel, so it’s easy for me to project Rodin’s sculptures on it,” he said. They were also able to access the roof of the building, which, according to the rehabilitation project being completed by the architect Fernando Menis, will have a terrace, with views that impressed the French delegation.
For Simier, the proximity of the sculptures of the Rambla, belonging to the International Exhibition of Sculptures in the Street, is the “continuity” of the museum beyond the walls of Viera y Clavijo. She commented that she was “surprised” by the world-class sculptures that dot the streets of the capital. “It makes all the sense in the world that the Rodin Museum is in Santa Cruz de Tenerife after verifying the great interest there is in sculpture, something rare today,” he asserted. Likewise, the director of the Rodin Paris Museum concluded her speech highlighting “the desire” to take the next step to face the subsequent stage to convert the Viera y Clavijo into the Rodin Tenerife Museum. “We are delighted to be here,” he said.
The mayor, who welcomed the Rodin Museum delegation, took the opportunity to insist “that this visit is the continuation of the work day that began last October in Paris, where we signed the agreement of intent with the leaders from the museum”. He also added that this “derives in the culmination of an administrative file that will allow us to rehabilitate a space that has been abandoned for many years and that we want to recover for the citizens of Santa Cruz, and, on the other hand, give the city an international museum first level”.
The councilor added that “this would make us the sculpture capital of the entire Spanish state and one of the most important in the world, since we would combine having sculptures in the street and the museum of the father of modern sculpture”, and argued that “it is the work of an artist who is an icon of this discipline at an international and local level”. Bermúdez confirmed that “for us it was very important that the directors of the Rodin Museum know the dimensions of the space and location in Santa Cruz, and add that the technical project of the building, by the architect Fernando Menis, is practically completed” and advanced that “our intention is to put the project out to tender this year to ensure that the works begin at the end of 2022 or the beginning of next year”.
On the other hand, the municipal councilor thanked “the collaboration of the Government of the Canary Islands, which will contribute the 10 million euros provided for in the signed agreement, and also the involvement of the Cabildo de Tenerife, which has insisted on its expressed willingness to participate in this rehabilitation , to the extent that the technical project tells us”. To conclude, José Manuel Bermúdez wanted to insist that “this space will continue to be for public use and, in addition, the location of this international museum will attract tourists from all over the world to our city.” Likewise, he ended up highlighting “what, without a doubt, is a commitment to generate economy and employment opportunities, while recovering a space for the citizens of Santa Cruz de Tenerife”. The Councilor for Infrastructure, Dámaso Arteaga, explained that the visit was made to a wing of the building, specifically the chapel, as well as to see the roof terrace. “We have made a tour so that they could have a global vision of the possibilities of the property. In addition, we have talked about the accessibility that will be guaranteed with elevators”, he said.
The architect responsible for the project, Fernando Menis, also present at the visit, pointed out that, without a doubt, the central element of the chapel “has been part of the history of the school and will continue to be an important part to house different sculptures of the museum”. He advanced that he is already working with the municipal technicians to finalize the details of the rehabilitation project, a collaboration that is carried out under the premise that “this project has to benefit both the museum and the local citizens, with the public prevailing, because that it is the main desire, that these spaces that we are treading now continue to be public”. He concluded his speech by emphasizing that “we are facing a unique opportunity to value a building like the Viera y Clavijo”.
After the visit to the Park, the French delegation toured the central promenade of La Rambla and the García Sanabria Park to see first-hand sculptures such as Feme Bouteille, by Joan Miró, or Goslar’s Warrior, by Henry Moore.
This first day of stay in the city of the French delegation was completed with the meeting at noon yesterday to learn about the progress of the Viera y Clavijo rehabilitation project through its director, the architect Fernando Menis, and, in the afternoon , a work meeting was scheduled to continue specifying aspects of the future museum installation in the capital.
Today there will be a meeting with the French community of the city. A meeting in which, like yesterday, the honorary consul of France, Bernard Lonis, who played a prominent role in the first contacts of the city with the Musée Rodin Paris, will also be present.
In yesterday’s visit to the Viera y Clavijo Park, the French delegation did not access the part where a dozen people live, spread over different rooms of the building. From the Santa Cruz City Council it is explained that they have already been talked to about the rehabilitation project and the need for them to leave the property when the time comes to start the work. “We have been working with them for a long time to find a housing solution”, explained the Councilor for Infrastructure. “They fully understand the situation and are willing to collaborate,” he added. The building has been occupied for years by various homeless people who have found a place to take refuge under the roof of the Viera.