“Guillaume Piens”

Fair play

There are plenty of art events on in Paris this March: five remarkable fairs and exhibitions a gogo. Everything you need to plan an enthralling itinerary, with stops dedicated to drawing, contemporary African art and design… Are you ready for a suite of springtime fairs? From 30 March to 2 April… It’s THE must event: Art Paris Art Fair, this year welcoming 139 galleries from 29 countries. Half of the exhibitors are from overseas, and the fair has attracted many new faces this year, with 50 % of the participants being new galleries. An unmissable gathering for the art world and the general public, this fair, held at the Grand Palais, allows visitors to discover what’s happening in the art world with an ever-savvy focus on overseas scenes. This year, its general curator, Guillaume Piens, is backed up by exhibition curator and cultural consultant Marie-Ann Yemsi (also to curate the next Bamako Encounters), who has helped to select top galleries from the African continent – including the Maghreb – and its diaspora, most of which are exhibiting for the first time in France at the event. Amongst the twenty or so galleries singled out for this African focus, a few come from very diverse horizons: Uganda is present via the Afriart Gallery from Kampala; there’s also Nigeria, with Art Twenty One based in Lagos; the Ivory Coast is represented by the Fondation Charles Donwahi from Abidjan; not forgetting South Africa, with Whatiftheworld Gallery from Cape Town. The October Gallery from London, representing El Anatsui in particular, and Parisian gallery Magnin-A, namely exhibiting Chéri Samba, present great classics in modern and contemporary African art. Also of note: the solo show accorded to South African artist Kendell Geers by Barcelona-based ADN Galeria. Emerging African creation is also represented by stands in...

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Art Paris Art Fair: from Korea to Africa – Interview with Guillaume Piens

Guillaume Piens, fair manager of Art Paris Art Fair, discussed with Art Media Agency the highlights of this new edition as well as his new projects for the fair. Could you introduce briefly focus on Korea? The focus is of great magnitude; it includes eighty-eight Korean artists, who are represented by 26 galleries. We present both historical and contemporary artists, which is quite rare in Paris. We also organize many ancillary events like the monumental installation Kiwon Park, Flash Wall, an evocation of the wall that divides Korea and questions the notion of ‘border’. Flash Wall is a ‘peace’ wall, installed in front of the Grand Palais, on which visitors may submit peaceful messages. Initially this installation was performed in Berlin, another divided city. This is a message I am glad to convey these days … We also present a program designed by Sang Chun-A, which includes performances at various facilities across the space of the fair and in the VIP club. I refer in particular to the performance of Sulki & Min, Materials,  Yeesookyung with When I Become You which addresses the issues of tradition and modernity, and  Young in Hong’s Let Us Dance, is a flash mob inspired by student demonstrations that took place in Seoul in 1988. At that time, they accused the younger generation of passivity during the transition to democracy! The artist was inspired by this event and asked high school girls to choreograph, forming a group that will unfold in the central aisle of the fair. There will also be a conference at the Korean Cultural Center about the Korean scene, bringing together the best experts on the subject. Finally, there is the spectacular installation of Chung Hyun at the Palais Royal Man Standing, which rounds off this celebration of the Korean scene. How did you prepare for the event? Many trips. This edition is the result of three...

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An interview with Guillaume Piens, chief curator of Art Paris

Whilst Singapore comes to France to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Art Paris Art Fair dedicates its latest edition (which is to take place from 26 to 29 March ) to Singapore and South-East Asia. The Modern and Contemporary art fair is to host around 145 galleries hailing from 20 different countries. Art Media Agency found out more about the fair by talking to Guillaume Piens, general curator of Art Paris. Could you tell us a bit about your career? How did you end up joining the Art Paris team? I started off by studying history of art, and then did a variety of different international work afterwards. I then came to FIAC in 2006, whilst working at Paris Photo at the same time, from 2002 until February 2011. I finished my work there working as director of Paris Photo. I already had an inclination towards the East as we’d done three editions with one on Japan, a second on the Arab world Iran, and a third on Central Europe. The East therefore wasn’t anything new for me. Straight afterwards, the owners of Art Paris asked me to take over and to give them a new identity. This is what my work has constituted for the last three years, as it’s my fourth edition working as a curator for this show. Art Paris seems to be getting bigger and bigger, with 40,000 visitors in 2013 and 60,000 last year, which is a significant increase. What have you got planned for this year’s edition so that this trend can continue?                                                                                ...

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Eastward bound! Interview with Guillaume Piens, general curator of Art Paris

Paris, 27 March 2013, At Media Agency (AMA). Established in 1999 in order to promote the French artistic scene, Art Paris Art Fair changed management in 2012 and ever since has striven to promote European artistic scenes. Guillaume Piens, currently the general curator of the event, is the one who impulsed that change and shaped the identity of the Parisian spring fair today. Art Media Agency met with Guillaume Piens on the installation day, in order to know more about the range of the 2013 edition. 120 galleries in 2012, 144 in 2013 with over 74 newcomers… How do you explain this renewal of the Art Paris Art Fair since you arrived? Since I arrived in 2012, we have surpassed 50% in renewal. Today the fair is brand new, with only 35 galleries issued from the Old Art Paris. This sprang from the strong will of the selection committee, and the new management which I embody. Should we expect such a high renewal rate in years to come? We travel a lot, we prospect a lot, therefore we have the opportunity to meet new professionals each time. Our gaze towards the East, and our focusing on one specific region each year drive us to restlessly contact new galleries and artists. This year we have chosen to spotlight Russia, and in 2014 it will be China. Next year we shall see so many professionals of the Chinese scene! This renewal is on the go because we wanted it and worked for it. Your arrival in the Art Paris team is also marked by a selection committee. What are your criteria to choose them? Since 2012, the Art Paris Art Fair selection committee is comprised of six gallery owners: Bernard Ceysson, Ernst Hilger, Catherine Issert, Priska Pasquer, Barbara Polla and Bernard...

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