Guillaume Piens


Guillaume Piens, Art Paris director for two years, claims how important Asian art is on an international level, and the 2015 edition of Art Paris is dedicated to Singapore and South-East Asia. We explored with him the reasons that led him to this choice and we made a list of all the asian artists you should follow on Artsper who will certainly be on show during Art Paris. You can have your pick between those who are already well-known and the young talents!

{Artsper}: After being the director of Salon Paris Photo, what brought you to this job as director of Art Paris?
{Guillaume Piens}: A taste of adventure, a desire to rethink an art fair by revealing its individual personality. I also wanted to come back to the contemporary art world and expand my horizons geographically and artistically by going east towards more eclectic galleries (modern art, design…) than staying in the narrow furrow of photography galleries.

{A}: For the 2015 edition, Art Paris celebrates and highlights Singapore and South East Asia. Could you tell us about this choice?
{G}: Singapore has become over the few years a “hub”, a platform where galleries from Manille, Kuala Lampur, Rangun and Jakarta establish themselves. Very organized and gifted with a genuine cultural policy, Singapore is the center of booming south Asian art scene. Our project entrusted to Commissioner Lola Lenzi explores South East Asia from Singapore. It concurs with the 50th anniversary of the city state and the great exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo “Archipel secret” (27 mars – 17 mai 2015) on Singapore art scene.

{A}: If you had to choose, which artists of the contemporary art scene would you highlight?
{G}: It is difficult for me to speak of my personal selections. Personally, I like artists from South East Asia, their approach is conceptual and critical of art that echoes social and political preoccupations. Their references to traditional techniques and material are reinterpreted to create new artistic creations. Also, their use of performance to stimulate interactivity with the public and raise consciences.

{A}: Art Paris is keen on bringing forward emerging galleries, current for less than five years with its program “Promises”. Could you tell us a little more about this project?
{G}: This sector was launched successfully in 2013 to promote new and fresh international talents. Twelve galleries are invited to exhibit for the first time and 50% of their participation is financed by the family that owns Art Paris Art Fair. This specificity allows French and international young galleries to start in an art fair and make themselves known at the Grand Palais, a prestigious location that they would not normally access.

{A}: From your experience as director of renowned art fairs, have you noticed a change in the role and profile of the art collector today?
{G}: There is a real change in the profile of the collector, he is younger, more eclectic and open to international artists. He travels a lot. He’s very much involved in supporting contemporary art for the creation of awards, artist residencies and foundations or private art centers.

{A}: Any advice for a young art enthusiast who isn’t used to contemporary art fairs?
{G}: First of all constantly visit contemporary art galleries. By discovering galleries, you familiarize yourself with contemporary art, and the work of artists you will find in the art fairs. For example on the Art Paris Art Fair, we have established terms of search by geographic areas, medium and price range to help visitors browse and search for artists while facilitating communication with galleries.
I also would recommend guided tours that we have organized with the « observatoire de l’art contemporain » on the fair which help understand some artwork and discover artists that are not familiar.

{A}: art has converted to digital: Art Paris can be visited virtually and Miguel Chevalier has completely transformed the façade of the Grand Palais thanks to mapping video during the 2014 edition. What do you think of this relationship between art and digital?
{G}: I think digital is an extraordinary way of sharing art. You can be at the other end of the world and keep updated with an art fair, a gallery or artist. Information is no longer reserved for the elite.

{A}: Have you ever bought art online? What do you think of the concept of Artsper?
{G}: Personally, I stay traditional when I buy. I like the physical encounter with the artwork, the acquisition in the gallery after talking to the director who shares his interest for the work of an artist. I also know that there are art aficionados that feel intimidated to enter a gallery and feel more comfortable to buy through internet, hence the importance of a website and community like Artsper.

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