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Meeting with Guillaume Piens, general exhibition commissioner of Art Paris Art Fair


Meeting with Guillaume Piens, general exhibition commissioner of Art Paris Art Fair - illustration 1

Art Paris Art Fair, a spring event for contemporary art fans! From the 5th to the 8th of April 2018, the 20th edition of Art Paris Art Fair will play host to some 147 modern and contemporary art galleries at the Grand Palais. We had talked to Guillaume Piens, he has been the director of the fair since 2012. He has given us a preview of this new edition, explaining the choice of the focus on Switzerland.

Artsper: What's new for this 2018 edition?

Guillaume Piens: In addition to the focus on Switzerland, we also have the Promises section dedicated to young galleries and emerging artists, the solo-show section has a record number of 36 exhibitions, we have developed, for the 20th anniversary of the Salon, a specific theme entitled "a look at the French scene" with the curator and art critic François Piron. He selected 20 artists among those represented by participating galleries. It is a subjective choice that highlights singular figures from the 1960s to the present, figures that have long been seen as independent, even on the margins of the dominant history.

Meeting with Guillaume Piens, general exhibition commissioner of Art Paris Art Fair - illustration 1
Meeting with Guillaume Piens, general exhibition commissioner of Art Paris Art Fair - illustration 1

Artsper: How has the Art Paris Art Fair evolved in 20 years?

Guillaume Piens: There have been different evolutions of Art Paris. First, it appeared during the FIAC from 1999 to 2005 in support of French galleries, then the decisive installation at the Grand Palais from 2006 during the spring, a counterpoint to the FIAC in autumn, and finally in 2012 a complete overhaul of the fair, renamed Art Paris Art Fair, with a new artistic and strategic direction.

The concept pursued since 2012 is that of "cosmopolitan regionalism": the idea of a regional exploration of the European artistic scenes from the post-war era to the present day while giving a place to international creation coming from Asia, Russia, Africa, Latin America or the Middle East.

Meeting with Guillaume Piens, general exhibition commissioner of Art Paris Art Fair - illustration 1
Meeting with Guillaume Piens, general exhibition commissioner of Art Paris Art Fair - illustration 1

Artsper: How have fairs in general changed?

Guillaume Piens: The most striking phenomenon is the globalisation of the art market. The fairs have spread to the whole world: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, New Delhi, Hong-Kong, Bogota, Lima ...

They have multiplied, today there are more than 270. Some of them are available on several continents (Art Basel, Frieze, Tefaf), others specialize in a niche: photography (Paris Photo, London Photo), drawing (Drawing Now) , design (PAD, Design Miami / Basel). Fairs off were created taking advantage of the attraction of the big fairs (Volta, Pulse, Paris International, Independant ....).

Today we are witnessing the resurgence of regional fairs, a trend which Art Paris Art Fair is a part of, which cultivates a local identity while interacting with the global. This also includes Art Brussels, Vienna Contemporary, Arco, Art Cologne...

Artsper: Why focus on Switzerland?

Guillaume Piens: We chose to focus on one country as part of a regional exploration of European scenes that Art Paris Art Fair pursues. Switzerland is at the origin of some of the most unique artistic movements and creators of the 20th and 21st century. Between the taste for the refine or and offbeat humor, the Swiss art scene is prolific and diverse.

The video program, designed by guest curator Karine Tissot, focuses on Swiss female artists, the appearance of this new medium in the 1970s coinciding with female suffrage introduced at the federal level in February 1971. Digital projections on the facade highlight a generation of highly innovative artists such as Camille Scherrer, Alan Bogana, Yves Netzhammer.

Echoing the in-situ practices highly prized by contemporary Swiss artists, the monumental walls of the north and south nave will house four all-over mural compositions designed specifically for the fair, including a photo mural by Christoph Rütimann presented by Galerie Mai 3  and a painting installation by Sébastien Mettraux. Finally, we invited the Helvetia Art Collection to present its latest acquisitions focusing on young talents little known in France.

Artsper: Which stands should not be missed?

Guillaume Piens: From the monographic exhibitions, you shouldn't miss those dedicated to Jean Pierre Raynaud at the Caroline Smulders Gallery, Leonardo Cremonini at the T & L Gallery, Kengo Kuma at the Philippe Gravier Gallery, Frédéric Pardo at the Loevenbruck Gallery, Vincent Gicquel at the Thomas Gallery Bernard - Cortex Athletico. On the Swiss side, the tribute to the great figures of Swiss art at the Galerie Ditesheim & Maffei, the Tanit Gallery booth that brings together John Armelder, Sylvie Fleury, Urs Luthi and Adrian Schiess, the controntation between Le Corbusier and Mathieu Gafsou at the Galerie Eric Mouchet - Zlotowski, not forgetting Duflon Racz, Gowen Contemporary or Galerie C, galleries highlighting the young emerging Swiss generation.

Their favourite artworks

François Morellet, 2 trames de tirets-positif, Print

François Morellet

2 trames de tirets-positif, 1960
24.4 x 24.4 inch


Our recommendations Carlos Cruz-Diez, Serie Semana - Martes	, Print

Carlos Cruz-Diez

Serie Semana - Martes , 2013
23.6 x 23.6 inch


Hans Hartung, Farandole 3, Print

Hans Hartung

Farandole 3, 1971
19.3 x 29.1 inch


Pierre Alechinsky, Sans l'écorce B, Print

Pierre Alechinsky

Sans l'écorce B, 1990
30.7 x 44.1 x 0.4 inch


Erró, La femme fatale (à moi), Print


La femme fatale (à moi), 1993
28 x 20.5 inch


Geneviève Claisse, Composition Cinétique 3, Print

Geneviève Claisse

Composition Cinétique 3, 2014
31.1 x 24 x 0.4 inch

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Our recommendations Pierre et Gilles, Marianne (Modèle : Zahia Dehar), Print

Pierre et Gilles

Marianne (Modèle : Zahia Dehar), 2015
47.2 x 37.4 inch


Julien Colombier, Golden Flowers Fines Art print, Print

Julien Colombier

Golden Flowers Fines Art print, 2017
63 x 43.3 x 0.4 inch


Our recommendations Blek Le Rat, Coffret Classique, Print

Blek Le Rat

Coffret Classique, 2016
17.3 x 14.2 x 3.5 inch


Our recommendations César Baldaccini, Compression après la fête, Sculpture

César Baldaccini

Compression après la fête, 1974
2.2 x 0.7 x 0.8 inch


Sonia Delaunay, Untitled, Print

Sonia Delaunay

Untitled, 1970
35 x 24.4 inch

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Our recommendations Claude Viallat, Serpent, Print

Claude Viallat

Serpent, 2005
46.9 x 15.4 x 0.4 inch

$1,768 $1,964