René-Pierre Antille was born in 1948 in Sierre. He has spent his entire professional career in the real estate business, within the eponymous family company. At the same time, he has multiplied his activities in the cultural and artistic fields. In the 70s and 80s, he chaired the Sierre Comic Strip Festival, the Valais Real Estate Chamber, the Art School, and participated in the creation of the local television channel Canal 9. Currently, René-Pierre Antille is working to bring the Château Mercier to life.
It probably started as a misdirection. I probably never should have gone into this business. Out of ease, convenience, or filial love, I followed the path my father had envisioned for me. In return, he always trusted me. I went to HEC in Lausanne, but I realized that I wasn’t passionate about it.
For many years, I would get up in the morning at 5am. Artistic pursuits gave me the energy to take on all the burdens of the Regie. None of my children were interested in taking over the Régie. I handed it over to the Comptoir Immobilier and to Paul Epiney, with whom I had worked on the Cour de Gare and Chippis projects. I’m staying on for a few years to ensure the transition.
I opened this gallery at the Forum in Sierre in 1989. I wanted to show something else, contemporary art interested me, I went straight into this niche. Then we created the FAC Association (Forum D’art Contemporain), in which André L’Huillier, the Director of the art school in Sierre, the Lausanne Professor of Medicine Pierre Magnenat, a great collector of contemporary art, entered. We were able to give total freedom to the artists, who exhibited their works. After 17 years the care of the gallery was becoming complicated. I had the opportunity to sell part of the premises.
Art is a structuring element. It helps put things into perspective, it’s a source of balance! When you can get both hemispheres of the brain to work and network, one serves the other. When I say I’m a real estate agent, some people fall over themselves. But I like to organize, provide practical solutions, network people, be a facilitator. So today, I don’t regret that initial misdirection, because I wouldn’t have had so many rich experiences.
The Chateau Mercier came into the hands of the township following a generous donation. To take care of it, I offered a fixed-price mandate… and so it has gone for 27 years! Once the renovations were done by the Canton and the Commune, it was necessary to imagine artistic events.
The ones that are close to my heart today at Château Mercier are the Orient-Occident meetings. With my partners, we have already programmed the 9the edition in 2020 and that of 2021… With the end of my activities as a stage manager, a page of my life is turning. On the other hand, I can hardly project myself on the end of my mandate at Château Mercier. So as long as I have health, passion, I hope to continue this mandate.