“fair”

Marc Spiegler: Reflections

As Art Basel opens, we talk with the organization’s great Global Director, Marc Spiegler. He speaks very openly about his vision of his job, the Art Basel fairs, the market and its evolution, about art and the people making it. Marc Spiegler: the art market architect. Marc Spiegler, 48 years old, has always been a very fine analyst of the art market. He simply loves to understand it; and because we love that too, it is always a pleasure to speak with him.   How do you feel at the eve of your fair, a decade after taking on the job? I absolutely love the job and it’s tremendously rewarding, so it certainly doesn’t feel like ten years: it feels like yesterday. At the same time, this fair is my 26th with Art Basel. And if I look back, it feels like a lot has changed. Our organisation has certainly evolved enormously. When I started, we just had the Basel and Miami Beach fairs, we were solely coordinated from Basel, our digital presence was negligible… all we did was the two fairs. Ten years later, we’ve added an extremely strong fair in Asia, and built an extensive online presence – we now have an online catalogue with more than 20,000 artworks from past fairs, not to mention our very large reach on social media, with more than 2 million followers: eight times the 250,000 attendance across our three fairs. And the leadership structure shifted from being exclusively in Switzerland to spanning across three continents, with more than 80 staff making all that happen. When I started we were barely 20. At the same time, the business has changed greatly. The expectations for fairs continue to evolve. 10 years before I arrived, fairs were exclusively trading platforms. Now the international fairs are required to be events in the...

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Yesterday Is Aujourd’hui

After Brussels and before New York, the YIA fair is opening its doors for the first time in Basel. Romain Tichit, the dynamic founder of Young International Artists, here retraces his background, his projects, his doubts… And restates that Yesterday Is Aujourd’hui!   It often begins this way, as a passion, or an interest shared with friends. “Parallel to my job in advertising and the digital technologies, I used to organise exhibitions with artists in so-called nomad locations,” explains Romain Tichit, he of the unruly hair and three-day stubble. In the advertising world, he passed through Publicis, DDB and Lagardère. It was “Dynasty”, the show jointly presented at the Palais de Tokyo and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, that urged him to change direction. This mega-exhibition gathered around forty artists over nearly 5,000 m2, including Farah Atassi, Bertrand Dezoteux, Camille Henrot, Théo Mercier, Jean-Xavier Renaud, Bettina Samson and Oscar Tuazon. “In 2010, after ‘Dynasty’, I decided to set up the YIA (Young International Artists) concept, a fair to support the emerging scene.” In 2012, Romain Tichit founded the communication agency LFDAC (La Française des Arts Contemporains), which continues to be his instrument for steering YIA. In the first years, the initial concept was clear: exhibiting young artists represented by gallerists in (post-)industrial sites. For its first edition, it showed artists including Vincent Ganivet, Hsia Fei Chang, Lionel Sabatté and Guillaume Cabantous. It then worked its way across Paris, from the Cartonnerie to the Bastille Design Center, Loft Sévigné, the Espace Morin, the Espace Commines as well as the Galerie Joseph on Rue de Turenne. “After a number of editions in more or less confidential locations, we managed to get the hall of the Carreau du Temple, which we’ve been occupying for four years now.” This...

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“Volta, more flexibility for the system”

Rendezvous at Volta, a fair whose selection is both inventive and rigorous. Seventy galleries will be waiting for you, from 12 to 17 June, for the thirteenth edition of an event that is still high in the popularity stakes. A stroll through its alleys, in the company of Amanda Coulson. Prior to launching Volta New York in 2008, Amanda Coulson cofounded Volta Basel in 2005. Today, the art critic and exhibition curator is also Director of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas and resides in Nassau. So how does she approach the market? With a primarily curatorial vision and a gaze characterised by a critic’s eye… For its thirteenth edition, the artistic director is welcoming no less than 70 galleries from 43 different cities to Volta.   Can you tell us about this 2017 edition? What’s the atmosphere like? This is quite a difficult question because we see new things every year and that’s what’s interesting! Our galleries evolve, some take part in major fairs, others have different projects… But we work in a very organised manner. In New York, we only present solo shows whereas in Basel, we have more variety and we ask our galleries to change their programmes for every new edition. We’re not a fair that looks to gather as many people as possible, but our aim instead is to make Volta an attractive spot for curators and collectors who feel concerned. From the start, we thought that Volta would be held in a luxury hotel, a cheap youth hostel or else a boutique hotel… The idea was to create a well-groomed but human-sized concept because we always wanted to offer a break compared with the main fairs, a place where people also come to relax.   And have you tried to create links...

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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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