“Christine Phal”

Drawing Lab, a place for experimentation

Not far from the Louvre, the brand new Drawing Hôtel is home to… the Drawing Lab, a private art centre wholly dedicated to the promotion of contemporary drawing. An encounter with Christine Phal, founder of the Lab and the Drawing Now fair, held at the Carreau du Temple. Until 20 May, the Drawing Lab’s exhibition space is presenting Strings, a show featuring artist Keita Mori, accompanied by curator Gaël Charbau. The drawings, covering the walls and using thread, are projected in the air, stretch out across paper… or else turn into video performance. A subtle art, a metaphor of crossings and migrations, that one could say sums up the evolution of contemporary drawing in the last decade or so. Ever since, that is, the creation of Drawing Now, the fair currently being held in Paris, from 23 to 26 March. Your choice of showing Keita Mori to launch your new venue, the Drawing Lab, is no accident. It reveals how drawing has evolved in recent years. The Drawing Now fair which you’ve been organising since 2007 was quick to integrate this evolution… When I set up the fair, the type of drawing that artists wanted to present tended to be graphic works on paper, and the fair’s configuration was such that most propositions went in this direction. But the evolution of our gaze, of the way in which artists express themselves, and of the relationships that we’ve set up with other venues, have enabled us to move on. I remember that when Carine Tissot (editorial note: her daughter and partner in Drawing Now and Drawing Hôtel, who manages the hôtel – private mansion in French) and I were in New York for the Armory Show in 2009, we discussed the definition of drawing with Brett Littman, director of the Drawing...

Tags: , , , , , ,

A Drawing Lab in Paris

A Drawing Lab will be set up in Paris at the end of 2016, on 17 rue de Richelieu. The Paris Drawing Lab is a private art centre entirely dedicated the promotion and dissemination of contemporary drawing. Created by the founder of Drawing Now, Christine Phal, the Drawing Lab aims at promoting contemporary drawing throughout the entire year and will be funded by the Fonds de Dotation pour le Dessin Contemporain (Endowment Fund for Contemporary Drawing). Benefiting from an exhibition space of 150 square meters, the new centre will also have a shop located on the ground floor of the Drawing Hotel. An exhibition program is currently being defined by a selection committee, which will be responsible for selecting three projects a year bringing together an exhibition commissioner and an artist. This committee will be composed of Daria de Beauvais, curator at the Palais de Tokyo, Agnès Callu, curator of the Graphic Arts Department at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Sandra Hegedus, collector, Marc Donnadieu, curator in charge of the contemporary art at the LaM (Lille Métropole, Musée d’art moderne, d‘art contemporain et d’art brut) and Philippe Piguet, art critic and artistic director of Drawing Now...

Tags: , , ,

Christine Phall, a real feel for drawing

Interview with Christine Phal, president of Drawing Now, on her first impressions of the fair’s 10th birthday, possibly marking a new stage in its evolution. This is also the opportunity to review the announcement of the winner of the 6th Prix Drawing Now, this year awarded to Jochen Gerner, represented by the gallery Anne Barrault (Paris). How did the opening go? The VIP opening was very successful with high-quality visitors including institutions, collectors and a very enthusiastic public. We felt a real desire in them to discover the fair’s latest edition. How do you see the fair’s energy? We are reaping what we sowed in the last nine editions. We agree that there is relatively little theory on drawing in Europe, and we have contributed to promoting research on drawing. We are very close to and feel a great deal for this medium that we defend. We set up a contemporary-drawing donation fund five years ago to accompany the Prix Drawing Now, promoting an artist under fifty years old. When we place the spotlight on a country, we do so in an in-depth manner to explore a territory demonstrating true drawing expression. This is done by reflecting on graphic creation in this country but also on the structures bearing this creation, in other words the institutional network including galleries, museums and collectors. This year, we are presenting a transversal focus on Germany because German gallerists were amongst the first foreigners to take part in Drawing Now. There is also a very strong graphic tradition in Germany, with graphic-arts cabinets that gather 17th century drawings as well as contemporary drawings, unlike the far more compartmentalized approach in France. Old drawings were often preparatory works, or accompanied other works being produced. But contemporary artists treat drawings as works in themselves, an...

Tags: , , , , , ,

Interview with Christine Phal, director of Drawing Now

The day after the vernissage of the ninth edition of Drawing Now 2015, the president and founder, Christine Phal, gave us her perspective on the evolution of the Parisian fair, and on the positive feedback from visitors and exhibitors. What feedback did you receive after the vernissage? The main feedback on the part of the visitors was about the high quality of the show. This year we limited the number of galleries to 73, and put all the exhibitions in the Carreau du Temple. There are 22 emerging galleries on the lower level and 51 galleries upstairs. That allowed us to be more rigorous in our selection process than usual, which obviously affected the overall quality of the show. For us, what matters most is that the visitors have enough choice, and that the exhibitors are happy with their sales. I think that having a friendly atmosphere is also really important. We got some really positive feedback regarding the atmosphere of the fair, which is all down to our team. We’re more like a family than a large business, so we all give 200%. Could you tell us a little about Abdelkader Benchamma, the winner of the Drawing Now prize? We’re really pleased that an artist who’s been involved with the fair for a while has won the prize. It’s the fourth time that he’s participated in fair. In 2009 his drawings were part of Agnès B’s private collection, and since then his works have been exhibited on various different stands, with his Spanish gallery, ADN Galeria, and his old gallery in Montpellier, Boîte Noire. This year he is represented by his Italian gallery FL Gallery, which is exhibiting at the fair for the first time this year. Benchamma is an artist who really embodies our definition of drawing: his works exemplify the...

Tags: , ,

Drawing Now, contemporary drawing fair at the Carrousel du Louvre

Paris, 10 April 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). In the middle of the Parisian drawing week, the contemporary aspect of this medium is waiting to be discovered at Drawing Now held at the Carrousel du Louvre until 14 April, offering an abundance of propositions and ideas going far beyond the sheet of paper. AMA met with Christine Phal, the president of the fair. What is there waiting at the 7th edition? Drawing Now opens this week. What are the special features of this edition? The most innovative is the fact that Drawing Now covers the last 50 years of contemporary drawing in its different variants and ways of expression: contemporary drawing is not only paper but also creations in space, videos, wall drawings… This year we host 85 exhibitors who fit in this pluralist definition of drawing. There are 71 galleries gathered in the “référence” section and 14 in the “émergence” section. The latter was established 3 years ago in order to support young galleries. We offer special prices to those that are less than 4 years old and represent artists under 40. This year is marked by internationalisation for the reason that we reached 30% of foreign participants within the “référence” section and 50% within “ emergence.” It is an international vision of drawing that we are presenting. 2013 innovation: we are set for Switzerland! We focus on Swiss contemporary drawing, thanks to our partnership with the Swiss embassy, the Centre Culturel Suisse and 7 galleries issued from Switzerland. Talks concerning Swiss drawing, scheduled on 12 April at 5pm, will host Swiss artists and institutions to broach the subject of Swiss drawing’s particularity. There is a strong graphic tradition in Switzerland with a network of museums and galleries presenting graphic works. Why did you decide to focus on...

Tags: , , , , , , ,