“At once regional, national, and cosmopolitan,” as Guillaume Piens, director of the fair since 2011, likes to put it, this year’s Art Paris brings together 134 galleries from twenty-five countries. Following an environment-themed iteration, the 2023 edition continues to explore topical themes, firmly anchoring the fair in the present.
Art & Engagement
The guest curator Marc Donnadieu, former chief curator of the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, presents Art & Engagement, a focus driven by the desire to emphasize the importance of the role of the artist in society in our war-ridden times. The twenty artists include Prune Nourry (Galerie Templon), Angèle Etoundi Essamba (Galerie Carole Kvasnevski), and Laura Henno (Galerie Nathalie Obadia) dealing, respectively, with the theme of illness, the condition of African women, and members of communities that opt to live in the margins of society.
These three artists all put the human being at the heart of their analysis, whether through installations combining sculptures, photographs, videos, and performances, a gallery of classic black-and-white portraits or large-format color prints featured alongside film screenings.
Another guest curator, Amanda Abi Khalil, founder of the curatorial platform named TAP (Temporary Art Platform) in 2014, brought together seventeen artists around the urgent theme of exile. Roberto Cabot (Galerie Anne de Villepoix) tackles this delicate subject through photographic collages featuring tourist attractions from different countries, for example the Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro and Notre Dame in Paris.
By way of these imaginary landscapes, the artist offers a visual representation of the ambivalence felt by those who live in exile. The artist himself is no stranger to the experience, having lived, outside his native Brazil, in Argentina and the United States, and currently residing in France.
Don’t miss, in the same exhibition sector, Boris Mikhailov at the Suzanne Tarasieve Gallery. The Ukrainian artist had remained in his country during the Soviet era despite the difficulty of practicing his profession during that period of oppression. His unpublished series Sots Art, created between 1975 and 1986, shows how, by applying watercolors to his black and white photographic prints, he managed to transform reality into fiction, and thus escape the yoke of censorship.
Photography is not left out in the “Promises” sector dedicated to galleries less than six years old. Among the nine present this year are Gaep (Bucharest) with the Croatian Damir Očko and his surrealism-inspired photo-collages, as well as Hors-Cadre (Paris) which brings together three artists, including Lucile Boiron and her unsettling, raw work on human flesh.
Elsewhere in the fair, we find the same diversity, reflecting the richness and creativity of the medium today. Take, for instance, Thibault Brunet and his 3D models of clouds from video game sites at Binome Gallery; Thomas Jorion’s photo-sculptures at Esther Woerdehoff; the dreamlike images by the Japanese Hideyuki Ishibashi at Ibasho (Antwerp); the mysterious work of the Italian Renato D’Agostin at Bigaignon, a gallery participating for the first time; and Lucien Hervé’s architectural views at Camera Obscura.
Art Paris Art Fair, March 30 to April 2, 2023, Grand Palais Éphémère, Paris.