“While art fairs represent a big investment, and therefore risk-taking for a gallery, they have enabled us to stand out and make a name for ourselves,” says Yan di Meglio, who founded Intervalle in 2014. Initially based in Belleville, a neighborhood he left in 2020, the gallery owner is currently looking for a new, more central space. Devoted to young photographers – the average age of the eight artists he represents is thirty-five or under – Intervalle’s goal is to feature “images that shed light on the way we see the world.” An artistic mission that hasn’t changed much since he started out seven years ago, except that Yan di Meglio has abandoned purely documentary works because “they are of little interest to collectors.”
On the program at Art Paris are British artist Antony Cairns, Belgian artist Lucas Leffler and French artists Julien Mignot and Julien Mauve, all of whom are emblematic of di Meglio’s broad and plural concept of the photographic medium, not limited to merely shots and prints. For the past few years, the gallery owner has been carving out his niche by selecting artists who tackle topical themes combined with plastic arts approaches, which can be called auteur documentaries.
For example, for his series “Zilverbeek,” Lucas Leffler began with a classic investigative approach carried out in the archives of the Agfa-Gevaert factory located near Antwerp, which was responsible for the pollution of the adjacent river. As with most of the artists in the gallery, experimentation holds a prominent place in his work, especially with regard to the reproduction of images. He developed his own photographic emulsion from the mud collected from the river polluted with silver salts. As the di Meglio explains: “It is a work that took two years of testing and experimentation. And, I insist, it is not the image that is printed on the mud, but rather the mud, that allows for the revelation of the images, of the shots taken around the factory.” It is therefore an original way of approaching the very topical subject of the environment, a major concern of our time, to say the least.
The works of Antony Cairns and Julien Mignot also take one by surprise when one sees them for the first time. The former because they are reproduced on the screens of e-readers that the artist buys in batches – unique works -; the latter because they are images trapped in blocks of plexiglass. The work of Julien Mauve features a more classic but no less disturbing approach: he creates his works on-site, in carefully chosen places, at a precise moment, between dusk and night, when the light is blue. Cultivating the mystery, this work, like that of the other three, stimulates our imagination, seducing us and alarming us at the same time. A visit to the stand of the Intervalle gallery at Art Paris is therefore highly recommended.
By Sophie Bernard
Sophie Bernard is a journalist specialized in photography, contributor to La Gazette de Drouot and Le Quotidien de l’Art, exhibition curator, and instructor at the École de Photographie (EFET) in Paris.
L’Intervalle. Art Paris Art Fair, through September 12, 2021. Grand Palais Ephémère, Plateau Joffre 75007 Paris.