Interview with Baudoin Lebon at the Art Paris Art Fair 2016

Founded in 1976, the Paris-based gallery Baudoin Lebon dedicates itself to modern and contemporary sculpture, painting and photography. The gallery has been representing a significant number of Korean artists for twenty years, born out of a long-established partnership and personal ties between Baudoin Lebon and Korea. Four Korean artists are featured at their booth at the Art Paris Art Fair: Kim Tschang-Yeul, Shin Sung-Hy, Chae Sung-Pil and Oh Se-Yeol. AMA spoke to Baudoin Lebon himself about the gallery’s experience at the fair. Are you a regular at the fair? We’ve been here for twelve years. At the beginning, Art Paris Art Fair was held at the same time as FIAC. So I was at FIAC then. Then they decided to do the fair in spring, so I went there for the second year. How has this year’s fair been compared to the others? For business, it’s been very slow. I think it’s been the same case for many other galleries. It’s usually uneven for business. For me, art fairs are more a kind of vitrine or advertisement to promote the artists the gallery represents. But the audience is very good, we see a lot of collectors and people interested. People have shown interest in the Korean artists this year. There was a significantly international audience at the opening, a few Americans, Belgians and Germans. Todays it’s been more French. Where is the gallery heading to next? The AIPAD Photography Show in New York in April, and after that the Art Busan in South Korea in...

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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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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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Sea Hyun Lee: Korea’s real sceneries

Sea Hyun Lee is a major Korean painter, born in 1967 on Geoje Island, Korea. In his paintings, Sea Hyun Lee endlessly reconstructs and reconstitutes the landscape of the DMZ — The Demilitarized Zone cuts across the Korean Peninsula —, in a vibrant and mysterious red. To find out more, Art Media Agency encountered him. Your works largely depict Korean landscapes devoid of people, but are they totally detached from humanity or is humanity implicit in the works? I would say I haven’t dissociated landscape and humanity in my mind although I recently started to paint people in my works. The landscapes in my works are not the imaginary paradises once often depicted in oriental paintings. They are Korea’s real sceneries where some of us live or lived earlier. Some of those landscapes which I chose to paint in my works could have changed in reality, but they still once existed despite changes and will always make up part of the lifetime of some Koreans. I didn’t see how fast everything changed when I was in Korea. Maybe because I was watching it every day. I had become insensitive to these changes. I spent years in London and when I came back, so many things were gone — including a little village where I dispersed my mother’s ashes. This is my work: watching various — social and political — accidents and incidents, how they change landscapes, and how people’s lives are affected by tragic accidents and through those changes. I keep thinking about life and death, especially the tragedy of the April 16 ferry disaster which killed hundreds of people. Your works have been linked to both utopia and dystopia. How do these two elements overlap in your work? Utopia can be expressed as the beauties of nature and...

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Thomas Bernard, the gamble to leave Bordeaux

The Galerie Thomas Bernard – Cortex Atlantico recently moved to Paris after earning its stripes in Bordeaux. This was the opportunity for Art Media Agency to ask Thomas Bernard about the prospects opened up by such a change and to hear his lucid, critical views on the art market. You recently moved your Bordeaux gallery to Paris. Can you tell us what motivated this decision? The move took place in two stages. We arrived in Paris in 2013 as a branch of our Bordeaux gallery. The idea was to arrive gently in Paris, to take the time to test, observe, take stock of this change and this new city. I don’t like rushing into things, going too fast, and above all imposing myself. We needed to take our time. In 2015, we acquired this new space and we closed the Bordeaux gallery for good. Why did you close the Bordeaux gallery? We’ve come to a more functional venue. The gallery has four spaces: one for exhibitions, one for offices, a showroom, and a storage space. It’s also a warmer, more convivial, larger, more comfortable place. Our initial experience revealed a few things. First – and perhaps it’s surprising for me to say so –, everything’s less expensive in Paris! I’m talking about the gallery’s structural costs. The professionals are very specialised – for example accountants or framers who work only with galleries – and this allows them to offer more attractive prices. Above all, the professionals here have skills that are specifically adapted to our needs. Secondly, inviting people to Paris is more practical, especially when they come from overseas. If you bring over an Australian artist to Bordeaux, it’s very likely that he doesn’t even know where Bordeaux is… Finally, there are structures that allow us to exist....

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