At Art Paris Art Fair, all galleries are not from Paris

While 18 of the 33 national museums are located in the Paris region, art galleries in French regions are more than elsewhere real cultural locomotives. This year at Art Paris Art Fair they represent 10% of the total number of galleries present at the fair. All very different, they present situations that vary according to their geographical situations and their history. For the  Petits Carreaux gallery which migrated to Saint-Briac in Brittany after being located for years in Paris, the displacement was not binding, quite the opposite. For his owner Philippe Benadretti, this has allowed them to get closer to their clientele with an unprecedented concept: “We work much more casually, we have relations with our collectors who feel much better because they visit us during the weekend or while on holiday, so much more relaxed. Moreover it allowed us to choose a space closer to our home and to display in our house and garden sculptures and canvases that remain on sale for collectors who come to visit the gallery or simply have a drink at home. In addition to these spaces we have a small house which allows us to welcome artists in residence. Thus we decided to present their work at Art Paris Art Fair. And the best thing about a fair like this is that the busy collectors do not say that they will come to see us at the gallery since it’s far away, so they decide right away on the stand.” Although located in a region, it is mainly Parisian clientele that still meets the Petits Carreaux Gallery. This is also the case with AD Gallery – located in Montpellier they participate at the fair for the 8th consecutive year. To quote David Garcia, the owner of the gallery, “The aim of this...

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Entering Tinka Pittoors’ world

It is impossible to walk past Galerie Caroline Smulders at this year’s Art Paris Art Fair without doing a double-take. With plush green carpet below, walls adorned with artificial flora and flamingoes, and a life-sized model of Michelle Obama, attendees are immediately drawn to this new world. A solo presentation of Belgian artist Tinka Pittoors, the space blends everyday references with the whimsical, creating an amalgamation of reality and fantasy. Caroline Smulders, owner of the eponymous gallery, is also from Belgium and views working with Tinka as a return to her roots. The collaboration came about as it often does for Ms. Smulders, from personal admiration to an established working partnership. She explains, “I often fall in love with an artist’s work before I meet them and then form a relationship. This is what happened with Tinka. I saw her work at a fair and bought it. Next, I invited her to take part in the major exhibition “Unlimited Bodies” at Palais d’Iéna in 2012. After that, I knew I wanted to create a solo exhibition with her at Art Paris”. While many galleries chose to show multiple artists, Smulders’ focus is solo, as she prefers “to give one artist the chance to really develop a project rather than exhibiting a group of people. It’s a big risk but I prefer it to large group shows that people often forget”. Since Tinka Pittoors is interested in creating entire landscapes that combine natural and man-made elements, the decision pays off well. The artist’s formations, a cross between sculpture and installation, have room to breathe and viewers are provided opportunities for in-depth meditation. When asked about Pittoors’ intention, Smulders notes that the oeuvre is about creating a poetic landscape, through pale tones, spatial plays and free shapes, that offer new considerations when...

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Africa Guest of Honor at Art Paris Art Fair

Guillaume Piens explains the purpose of the fair: “Displaying the works that have never been shown in Paris.” After focusing on South Korea in 2016, this year the fair offers an eclectic selection of 21 galleries, featuring African artists. Among them, 14 galleries are based in Africa and 7 are based in Europe, presenting a group of artists from both North and Sub-Saharan Africa as diasporas. The focus on Africa is placed in a rich array of events, including the multi-disciplinary “100% Afrique Festival” at La Villette, “L’Afrique des Routes” at the Musée du Quai Branly and the upcoming Louis Vuitton Foundation exhibition, which will present the collection of Jean Pigozzi, included nearly 10,000 works discovered largely by André Magnin, who is also present at the show. While there is a new trend turning to the West and North America in the Western art market, it is important to remember that it took years before it is possible. London’s niche art fair 1:54 makes France seem behind in the race of art fairs; however, the different variety of African galleries offered in Art Paris Art Fair allow us to catch up the race. Marie-Ann Yemsi, who piloted the African focus of the fair is delighted by her enthusiasm, while tempering it. “Rather than talking about fashion, I think it’s more about catching up. We were lagging behind compared to other European countries, like Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom … not to mention the United States.” Guillaume Piens and Marie-Ann Yemsi preferred to mix the African galleries with the other participants at the fair, rather than segregate the galleries based on their locations. The Best-known Signatures Among the 21 galleries that feature African artists, some have chosen to showcase the most renowned artists. For an example, André Magnin offers visitors the...

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Art and Heart at Art Paris Art Fair

Among all of the gallery booths, award giving, and collecting going on at the Art Paris Art Fair, there is a humanitarian project catching the eye of the visitors. Gallerist Claude Lemand proposes to raise funds to build up to five schools in Lebanon for the Syrian children who have found refuge there. According to Lemand, about half of the 400,000 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon do not have the opportunity to go to school. In partnership with Art Paris Art Fair, he would like to change that. If you have the chance to visit the fair this week, you will be able to find Galerie Claude Lemand. Furthermore, make sure to visit the north and south end walls of the Grand Palais. On these walls, we see the works  Lemand and the artists have selected to sell in order to raise sufficient funds for these schools. The highlighted artists include Shafic Abboud, Youssef Abdelke, Etel Adnan, Mahjoub Ben Bella, Mahi Binebine, Manabu Kochi, Najia Mehadji, Antonio Segui and Vladimir Velickovic. Lemand explains the plan with precision, stating that “it is especially these ten artists from the gallery who have offered an important artwork. My goal is to generate enough money to guarantee the financing of these schools for one whole year.” Beyond the sales of these special artworks, Lemand points out that he has also organized a way for the public to donate to the cause with the collaboration of the Collectif de Développement et Secours Syrien, or CODSSY. The tax-deductible donations can be made online, and although they are separate from the actual sales of the artworks, they too help finance these future...

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Young Talents Exhibited at Art Paris Art Fair

The promises section in Art Paris Art Fair 2017 is comprised of twelve young promising galleries from all over the world. Given that Africa is the guest of honor for this year’s edition, lots of African artistic talents are being showcased, putting the spotlight on the continent’s rich artistic production. Cecile Fakhoury Gallery, from Ivory Coast, is showing three African artists that have left Africa — Jems Robert Koko Bi (Ivory Coast), Sadikou Oukpedjo (Togo) and lastly Dalila Dalléas Bouzar who is this year’s winner of the L’art est Vivant 2017 prize. 50 Golborne Gallery (London), is showcasing three emerging African artists; Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Olalekan Jeyifous, and Emo de Medeiros. Both Ogunji and Jeyifous’ works are about their personal relationship with their African heritage, manifested in contrasting ways through their works. Medeiro’s work creates a link between the African culture and Pop culture while being very concerned with the connection of the viewer with the artwork, as well. For gallerist Pascale Revert, “I think these artists are all totally contemporary, even if their backgrounds and languages differ from the spectator’s, they all talk about this moment of post globalization, in their own way, which is totally relevant and relatable for everyone.” Also from London, Tiwani Contemporary features works by Gareth Nyandoro who finds inspiration in the local markets of Harare. The other two artists featured are Virginia Chihota and Délio Jasse. Tyburn Gallery (London) displays Moffat Takadiwa’s wall sculptures made from found objects which relate to hygiene as a critic towards the importing of these goods from other parts of the world, and the spending on these products when there’s not even enough money for food. Also showcased is Mohau Modisakeng’s photos, and the young sensation, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami. Not showcasing African artists, but still worth looking at are the SODA...

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