Bryan Reeves, a forward-looking view of London’s tribal-art market

Bryan Reeves has stood for a certain vision of tribal art and culture ever since he launched the Tribal Perspectives fair in 2007. Since then, the event has grown, changed its name and venue by moving into The Mall Galleries to become Tribal Art London. At the start of September, Art Media Agency went to London, winding through the fair’s alleys, to meet Bryan Reeves. Can you introduce Tribal Art London to us? What is your fair’s angle? I like introducing Tribal Art London as a cultural fair. Our exhibitors cover all fields of tribal art around the globe, and we have a well-developed conference programme, offering debates in fields as wide as culture or ethnography — the aim being to increase understanding of tribal art without contenting ourselves with merely being a strictly commercial fair. Today, the fair is heading to its ninth birthday. When we started, we were no more than a small exhibition with three dealers — “Tribal Perspectives”. We gradually developed the fair, then moved to a fantastic spot, The Mall Galleries. This has meant that we can host over twenty exhibitors from all over the planet. A majority of the exhibitors come from Great Britain. Do you aspire to an international status and to welcome more exhibitors? It isn’t possible for us to welcome more exhibitors without leaving The Mall Galleries. I think that our current size is reasonable. Twenty dealers can assemble enough pieces to make up a fine exhibition. London is not Paris or Brussels in terms of economic vivacity in the tribal-art field. I’m happy to be able to give opportunities to British galleries specialised in tribal art; there aren’t so many of them. A majority of the objects on display also come from Britain. This is another way of working,...

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Christo & Jeanne-Claude, mastabas and freedom

For almost 50 years, Christo & Jeanne-Claude have used confrontation or dissimulation as a tool to charge places with new meanings. Until 27 November 2016, they exhibit a mastaba of nearly 1,000 barrels in the courtyard Giacometti of the Maeght foundation (France). From June 18 to July 3 2016, the Floating Piers (2014-2016) were visible on the lake Iséo (Italy). The artist has talked with Art Media Agency about these projects. What is the history of the mastaba that you are currently displaying in the courtyard of the Maeght foundation? Everything started in 1967. Jeanne-Claude and myself were already in New York. The director of the Kunsthalle de Berne, Harald Szeemann, organized an exhibition ‘‘Living Art. 1965-1968’’ in the Maeght foundation, which had just been inaugurated in 1964. He invited me to create a temporary work — at the time I was preparing the wrapping for the Kunsthalle Bern, our first public wrapping that we finally created in 1968. For the Maeght foundation, I proposed to Harald Szeemann to wrap the trees and create a mastaba in the courtyard I created the wrapping of the trees but not the mastaba. In 2014, during the 50th anniversary of the Maeght foundation, Olivier Kaeppelin exhibited the artists who had made the history of the foundation and he found several early drawings of the mastaba project of 1967. He then invited me to realize the project, and I accepted with great pleasure. The exhibition is interesting because it echoes the mastaba with the work that we had conducted on barrels which started at the end of the 1950s, and continued when we blocked the rue Visconti  (Wall of Oil Barrels, 1962), then later with projects of mastabas in Texas, Holland, and ultimately in Abu Dhabi. There is a genealogy of the barrel...

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Bourgogne Tribal Show, the Quai Branly and the tribal-arts market with Julie Arnoux

Julie Arnoux is executive director of the Friends Society of the Musée du Quai Branly. For twelve years, she has been in charge of this association that supports the museum’s development and renown. Alongside this role, she set up, three years ago, Delvoyeurs. This project, shared with three founding partners, aims to design and promote exhibitions, develop editorial projects, produce contemporary artistic works, and support cultural players in their development strategies. Art Media Agency met her also to discuss the organisation of the Bourgogne Tribal Show (from 26 to 29th May). Delvoyeurs is currently organising the Bourgogne Tribal Show. What is this project about? The Bourgogne Tribal Show comes from a fairly zany idea thought up by four dealers specialising in the so-called “primitive” arts: Laurent Dodier, Bruno Frey, Jacques Lebrat and Anthony Meyer. Their project was to set up a festive, convivial event in a different place. They discussed their project with Bruno Mory, a contemporary-art gallerist based in Burgundy with a strong focus on monumental sculptures and photography. These five dealers approached Delvoyeurs at a time when the agency was still very young. We had never organised any fairs, but the idea was really stimulating. We have a magical site in the Saône-et-Loire in Burgundy that won over everyone. Going far from the capital, major centres and big cities is a wager, and we wanted to create something that uses the codes of big fairs while also developing them — this is how we came to choose the visual symbol of a Charolais cow! We want to amuse, to be innovative while remaining extremely rigorous. Our list of participants includes established dealers and other more discreet ones, from France and overseas, from Paris or from outside the capital — this corresponds to our desire to represent the...

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Sadikou Oukpedjo,  Animal awareness

Since 2012, the Cécile Fakhoury gallery, based in Abidjan in Ivory Coast, has worked towards promoting contemporary art on the African continent. It hosts solo and collective exhibitions that aim to boost creativity and diversity on the African scene. Until 11 June 2016, the gallery is presenting, for the first time, the work of Togolese artist Sadikou Oukpedjo. Art Media Agency went to meet the artist at his “Anima” exhibition in Abidjan. What’s your background? I started sculpting with my art teacher in high school — he was a sculptor. He was the first to notice my drawings, and he asked me to help him in his sculpture workshop. I stopped school in Year 10, but continued sculpture. In 1998, I joined the workshop of Paul Ahyi, a sculpture master and one of the pioneers of contemporary art in Togo. He trained me for four years in painting, sculpture and ceramics. In 2002, my first exhibition was held at the Centre Culturel Français in Cotonou (Benin). After that, my works were presented in other countries, at the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair 2014 in London and the Art Twenty One space in Lagos (Nigeria). How did Paul Ahyi influence you? It may seem strange but he didn’t have any influence on my work. I fled what he did. Everyone trained by Paul Ahyi has had trouble pulling away from his work; many still sculpt and draw like him. I think that this is why I was noticed elsewhere. I do the opposite of what he did. It’s your first exhibition at the Cécile Fakhoury gallery. Cécile Fakhoury discovered my work at the Dakar Biennial a few years ago. At first, it was Koyo Kouoh, a Cameroonian curator living in Dakar, who noticed me. She put us in contact. Your...

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A newcomer to the Marais: Pact

Galerie Pact is new to the Marais. In presenting artists who are often unknown in France and Europe, the gallery sets out to be an “epicentre of newness”. With innovative projects and an original exhibition model in the form of a pact signed between artists and creators, scientists or intellectuals, the gallery intends to create a culture venue where different art periods mingle, as well as various fields outside of the art world. The gallery’s founders Charlotte Trivini and Pierre-Arnaud Doucède give Art Media Agency a few more details. Tell us the story behind this gallery… Charlotte Trivini: We are old friends and worked together at Artcurial. We had different backgrounds and parallel experiences, but common interests in terms of artistic tastes. Pierre worked in a gallery in the United States while I was in communications and working for Fiac. In August 2015 we agreed that it was a good time to get started. Pierre-Arnaud Doucède: In August 2015, I was still working at Martos Gallery. That’s when I reminded Charlotte about our plan to work together. My visa was expiring soon and I wanted to go back to Paris, my city, where I learned to love art. Things fell into place fairly quickly. We found the name PACT that comes from our initials Pierre-Arnaud and Charlotte Trivini. It suggests the passé (past) and the actuel (today), and sounds as good in French as in English. The pact is also the relationship that we wish to set up with artists. What exactly is this relationship that you develop with artists like? C.T: There are two aspects. The pact is synonymous with commitment and loyalty. It corresponds with the identity that we wish to develop and the segment in which we wish to be active. We design every exhibition as...

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