Billie Zangewa, from Blantyre to Paris

Billie Zangewa was born in Blantyre, Malawi, and later moved to South Africa in 1997 in order to complete her studies in Graphics and Printmaking at the prestigious Rhodes University of Grahamstown. She was exposed to a different kind of reality with regard to the political climate that was present at the time, and did not suffer from any form of segregation. She made a diverse number of friendships that were formed without barrier, which eliminates any form of political presence in her work, but rather that of being female in a world dominated by the presence of men. “Thematically, her work revolves around the female presence in an inherently male dominated society. It’s about the affirmation of a triumphant independent African woman that translates into a brand of daily feminism”, her gallerist explain. Every Woman, a piece displayed at the fair, is an affirmation to this statement. It depicts a working woman about to go out, dressed in fashionable attire picking up toys on her way out. There is no presence of a male figure in this scene. It is a piece where the woman depicted (as we imagine to be the artist herself) gets to explore her identity without being confined by social constraints. She turns the tables from male dominance to female dominance. Fashion plays an important role in her work, Zangewa started out making silk cut bags stitching together scenes of derelict buildings and the homeless, depicting the scenes of Johannesburg’s CBD. The contrast with the luxurious fabric used, as well as the clientele it was meant for, is evident. Her body of work comprises of around 120 pieces in total and only 5 are displayed, which took a lengthy 12 months to complete. That said the process is rather intricate, as she starts out with...

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DDessin or how to re-enchant the world

She’s the founder of DDessin. She’s also co-artistic director of this fair whose line keeps getting stronger and clearer every year. An hour with Eve de Medeiros, tracing the contours of a passion. It’s a place conducive to intimate passions, a spot that stands a little way back from the buzz, ideal for celebrating the aesthetics of drawing lines. It’s a fair, or more precisely, a cabinet dedicated to contemporary drawings. Welcome to the fifth edition of DDessin, a yearly event that is being unveiled from 24 to 26 March under the glass ceiling of the Atelier Richelieu, at the heart of Paris. In other words, 700 m2 wholly dedicated to paper. So much to say that this rendezvous is both a springboard and a joyful venture for the artistic scene working with this medium. Ball-point pens, graphite powder, watercolours, markers, charcoal… Anything goes. And to avoid tripping over its pencils, Art Media Agency has turned its attention to one question: what is the nature of contemporary drawing, and what issues does it face today? How did you come to drawing? How, by chance or by curiosity, did paper win a place in your life? Through people I met. First, a collector of old drawings, the cofounder of the Salon du Dessin at the Palais de la Bourse, then contemporary-drawing collectors in the context of my duties at the FIAC, working on the Prix Marcel Duchamp. What is the role or maybe even objective of such an event, beyond its commercial setting? The primary role of this fair was to rethink something that seemed problematic to me: gallerists and artists from the young artistic scene only had very few opportunities to be presented on the walls of the existing and dominant fairs. This is why I created this event....

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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...

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