“interview”

Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi: an influential collector

“100 Masterpieces of Modern and Contemporary Arab Art”… This is the title of the exhibition currently showing at the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris, unveiling part of the Sooud Al-Qassemi collection. We meet the young collector behind the Barjeel Art Collection based in the United Arab Emirates. The IMA exhibition presents modern and contemporary Arab works in two parts. The first, “Exhibiting”, is based on the curatorial model of the traditional exhibition; the second, “Curating”, offers a scenography inspired by a museum’s reserve collection. Here, we find figures from the international scene: Adel Abdessemed, Etel Adnan, Walead Beshty and also Hayv Kahraman. But we also discover modern artists less well-known by the French public, such as Ahmed Cherkaoui and Achraf Touloub. Let’s bear in mind that Sooud Al-Qassemi has already organised exhibitions in Singapore, London, Toronto, Teheran… and others opening shortly in Amman, Washington DC and Dubai. As well as launching the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates in February 2010, the energetic collector produces and presents a television programme (Art Plus, on AJ Plus Arabi).   How many works make up your collection? The Barjeel Foundation conserves around 600 works – as well as artists’ editions –, mainly modern and contemporary works. Works date from 2015-2016 back to the 19th century. My idea, in setting up this foundation, was to promote and present Arab art everywhere in the world. I find that foundations and museums aren’t active enough. We’re the opposite of that, and we really want to exceed the current limits, even if it’s much more difficult at the moment with the situation in Syria and elsewhere. We want to show another face of the Arab world, not just a negative one. In the Arab world, many works have been destroyed,...

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Xavier Veilhan: Studio Venezia, an immersive experience

The artist lives and works in Paris but it is in Venice that he welcomes us today. At the heart of the French Pavilion, where he is representing his country at the 2017 Biennale. A Venetian interview… Xavier Veilhan was born in 1963 in Lyon. He studied at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, then the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. Since the end of the 1980s, he has developed a multidisciplinary practice composed of sculptures, paintings, installations, but also videos and performances, in which music plays a key role. His work is also a reflection on modernity – its history and forms – and the very definition of an exhibition space. His work Studio Venezia is representing France at the 57th International Art Biennale of Venice.   Studio Venezia is an immersive experience that picks up on the essence of your work through its relationship to music, but also sculpture, with constructivist forms and a link with Italian futurism. Does this project synthesize many years of work? Yes, of course, but at the same time, I see it more pragmatically. It’s as if I brought together preassembled elements or the pieces of a puzzle. As if the project were there to conceptually serve scattered experiences that had perhaps been a little overlooked, like one-off performances that the public didn’t so much see as being the core of my work. Even if I went about these projects rather discreetly, I’ve realised that they’ve fed my work a great deal, intellectually, but also through the meetings and discoveries that they’ve triggered. This has enabled me to join different networks, as with the films that have travelled to festivals. Live performance opens up doors I didn’t know existed and leads to certain things coming round again, in the way that Pedro...

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The wheel of fortune

Elegant and persuasive, she embodies the discreet charm of private banking as the head of one bank’s art department. An hour with Mathilde Courteault of Neuflize OBC. Former director of the Asian art department of Ch­ris­tie’s in Paris, Ma­thilde Cour­teault, thirty-nine years old, welcomes us into the muffled rooms of a big private bank. Holder of a master’s in art history on “the European influence on Mughal miniatures”, this lively, enthusiastic woman has been managing, for three years now, the art assets of a clientele subject to France’s ISF (wealth tax). We talk about culture and investment strategy, collections and assets. It’s also a chance to discuss major trends on the art market, the concept of pleasure-investment… All this with the discretion and poise that are characteristic of wealth-management companies.   What exactly does art-wealth expertise involve? What does this profession consist in? The profession has existed in our bank for twenty-five years. We deploy our expertise in an integrated structure, wholly dedicated to consultancy and the management of art wealth. This, incidentally, is a specificity that is written into our company’s DNA. As the owner of a photograph collection and also as a sponsor of the Cinémathèque, a partner of the Palais de Tokyo, moreover holding ties to the Musée Jacquemart-André, Neuflize OBC is firmly anchored in the cultural domain. Let’s say that expertise is developed in three areas. First, the concrete management of collections which encompasses a full range of services for art assets, including storage of artworks in reserved strongboxes, offering museum-like conservation with controlled hygrometry. We of course offer insurance packages. We can also offer advice to clients wishing to make copies of their paintings or to get restoration work done. When we have collection-management mandates, we can also administer the loans of works to...

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Revelations 2017, when excellence springs up

Held in a spirit of harmony embracing the design universe, R3, the third edition of Revelations, an international fair for fine craft and creation, will be on at the Grand Palais from 4 to 8 May. And paying homage to Chile’s artisanal production… 2017 marks the year of a biennial that will go down in history for all lovers of fine craftwork and exceptional savoir-faire. A biennial that will gather a large community of protagonists including designers and craftworkers, all of whom share a love for objects and the materials composing them, whether precious or not, innovative or traditional. Above all, Revelations has represented, since 2013, a veil lifted on a breeding ground of talent gathered under the glass dome of the Grand Palais, drawing a plethora of practices in which handiwork reigns supreme, in a stimulating atmosphere of exchange. This is an event with weighty significance and economic fallout for the whole of the profession, supported by artisan-creators, the “guardians” of French and international excellence. Recognition for artistic professions – finally! Set up in 2013 by Serge Nicole, president from 2006 to 2016 of the Ateliers d’Art de France (French professional union representing the craft professions), the Revelations fair has since taken up its quarters at the Grand Palais, an iconic spot for contemporary art… Whose choice may incidentally be a source of amusement for craftworkers given that the art of today has shown relative indifference to them, if not rejected them outright! Whatever the case, the event sets out to be the finest showcase for artistic professions offered to the world. Since its outset, it has defined itself as providing strong support to the sector’s visibility. Indeed, three years ago, the sector seemed to suffer from a lack of definition in the eyes of public authorities in...

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Ready Art, “the Hermès of the French artistic scene”

Launched in 2015, Ready Art may well become the indispensable tool for collectors who wish to encounter the French contemporary scene over the Internet. This selective website is a place where handpicked artists meet galleries. The platform Ready Art sets out to present top artists from today’s French scene to cybernauts from every country. The founders of this wonderful project, Tristan Vyskoc and Albane Rouvière, come from the universe of finance, but have always maintained close links with contemporary art. They are collectors themselves, and Tristan Vyskoc, also an artist. We talk strategy and artistic creation, collection and start-ups …   What originally inspired you to launch the Ready Art site? Tristan Vyskoc: We both worked in consultancy for fifteen years. We sold our business in 2014 and really wanted to work in art. We’d already invested in art-related web sites such as Artips and Barter. At the same time, we’ve always been collectors, and I’m also an artist. We noticed that artists close to us had trouble being represented on the Web. So we looked for a viable economic model with a very strong positioning. We worked for twelve months before launching Ready Art, in February 2016. We want to show the French scene exclusively and to support it internationally, with the idea of becoming the Web leader on the French scene in five years’ time. Many people told us that we were “crazy” and that we wouldn’t succeed… Albane Rouvière: Our site promotes the French artistic scene but our spectrum is fairly broad. Our artists are French, whether born or residing in France, or having a strong link to France. In addition, Ready Art is a networking platform. Works can be placed on the web site by galleries, or artists directly when they aren’t represented by a...

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