Étoile de Pétri de SaraFiaschi © Nassimo Berthomme

Un Anglais à Marseille #14

Prof d’anglais et coursier à vélo à Marseille, Rory Launder livre son regard sur la ville tout en vous donnant une occasion de réviser votre anglais. Dans ce nouvel épisode, il part à la rencontre de la Fédération Artistique de Marseille, qui produit le PAC OFF cette année.



Trundling around the corner with Rue Vitalis I remark at the unusual fecundity of Rue Sainte-Marie, the old stomping grounds of Atelier Juxtapoz and Vol du Nuit, and currently home to Goal Volant, and Panthera. What makes this otherwise innocuous street, tucked away between Chave and Saint-Pierre so special?


This tiny protected sector is a haven of calm in an uncomfortably congested city. The miniscule impasse of Rue de Toulouse leading to Rue Benoit Malon are both so narrow and restrictive to cars they’re very rarely used. Maybe it’s that, this ‘slowing of the water’ that allows things to grow.


Founded as an association in 2021 by Julie Durand, Sara Fiaschi, and Morgane Hofner the Fédération Artistique de Marseille or FAM (a network of solidarity between independent art studios) has existed informally since their creation of PAC OFF in 2020.


PAC OFF 2023 combines 23 different places, 38 individual events, and unites 136 artists. Sara takes a break from screen-printing with the others to sit on a step outside and take the sun. She chuckles “I’m creating new spaces in my brain! New rooms to put things, I’m learning to keep my emotions inside . . . and to still be diplomatic with everyone”.


“The FAM started with meetings and talks, we wanted to set up a legal structure for what we were doing. We initiated photo sessions for artists, so we could have professional-quality photos of our work. There has been a lot of participation and enthusiasm – this is what brings people together – it’s a federation.


“No no! There’s nothing wrong with PAC.” (Provence Art Contemporain.) “We were graduating, and we wanted to have more visibility, more ways to exhibit. We were not ‘known’ enough to be included in PAC official, we wanted to create something, to make it go faster . . . our own rules to promote our works. These events are vital for the survival of small art spaces.


“This year’s programme takes place over a full three weeks, culminating in a banquet at Le Couvent on the 26th of May. It’s a record, it’s growing. We can now list the PAC as one of our partners. I have been invited to speak at the PAC conference ‘Competition or Cooperation’ on the 12th of May.”


Sara seems keen to go back to work as if she’s been skiving speaking to me. It’s impressive to see them working on a Saturday afternoon – baggy t-shirts serving as overalls – discussing, organising, losing things, finding things.


Julie and Morgane offer me Capri-Sun. I ask them too about their stress levels. They look a bit frazzled but explain that it’s ok. “We trust each other and share the work. We’ve been doing it for over a year now” Morgane reassures me.


Julie is the team’s graphic designer “The concept for the graphics is based around two photos, one from Frioul, the other from a plane coming back from Morocco. The text in ‘mercury’ is a nod to the heat, the changing of the seasons”.


I’m trying to dig a bit into the name FAM. With the same sound ‘femme’ is of course the French word for both woman and for wife. For man and for husband there are two different words: ‘homme’ and ‘mari’. My old sociology teacher from college would be livid.


“The name doesn’t come from us. Being three women or something. It was voted between the art studios, there’s no rapport” Morgane shoots me down. “There simply weren’t any boys who wanted to do it.”


But now that I’ve cajoled them onto the subject, they explain that it’s true that 70% of their audience are women. Those who are active, who run the studios, who follow, who ‘like’ etc. Julie explains “The statistics are there for everyone to see. On a national level 77% of art school students are women, while 80% of public funding for the arts goes to men.” I’m a bit stunned by how not 50/50 it is. Morgane adds as a supposition “Maybe that’s why so many women are following us? Maybe they feel like they need our support?”


Rory Launder,



PAC OFF – Printemps de l’Art Contemporain OFF : jusqu’au 26/05 à Marseille.

Rens. : https://pacoff.org/