“Since the beginning of my career, I’ve exhibited in a lot of offbeat places, but this is the first time I’ve exhibited on a boat,” jokes Martin Parr. The emblematic Magnum photographer is the headliner of the inaugural exhibition—Life’s a Beach—presented at Quai de la Photo, a new Parisian venue dedicated entirely to photography.
Located at the foot of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF), this floating barge with its large picture windows, is both an art center and a convivial venue (with a restaurant and several bars) that even sports a built-in marina. Still in the process of being fitted out, it occupies a total surface area of over 1,000 square meters.
Géraud Boursin is the founder and president of Quai de la Photo. He and his partners—Pierre-Yves Mahé, Nicolas Laugero Lasserre, and Philippe Fournié, creators of eight cultural and festive venues along the Seine—are launching their latest brainchild: “Our raison d’être is making culture available to everyone, free of charge. Quai de la Photo is all about discovering contemporary photography artists in a context of a hybrid venue that is at once festive, cultural, and artistic.” One attraction, for example, will be photographic cruises aboard a fleet of vintage boats.
The bookshop La Comète’s new headquarters
Another great news about this new cultural venue is that the photography bookshop La Comète has joined the adventure. After more than fifteen years in the 10th arrondissement, near Paris’s Gare de l’Est, the bookstore, operated by the emblematic Picto laboratory, is coming on board. In addition to showcasing their fine book collection, it also plans to host book signings, meetings, and workshops. “Picto is delighted to be associated with Quai de la Photo, an open and creative project, a place where photographers and their public can meet. A perfect setting for our La Comète bookshop,” rejoices Victor Gassmann, Picto’s General Secretary and member of the Quai de la Photo artistic board. “This is a new adventure for us,” adds Picto’s Philippe Gassmann.
Running four to five photo exhibitions a year, the floating art center will kick off the new academic year in September with emerging photographers presented by Agence France Presse (AFP). The exhibition will end with an auction. With its bar and restaurant, exhibition space, specialist bookshop, themed boat tours, and an integrated photo studio, Quai de la Photo is a new go-to place for images. Opening planned for mid-July.
Quai de la Photo, 9 port de la Gare, 75013 Paris. Opening: mid-July.