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Stéphane Chatry

Agent, collector, curator, art expert...

Agent, collector, expert, exhibition commissioner,… Stéphane Catry cumulates a lot of profiles even at his young age. Particularly known in the contemporary art world and street art, he answered a few questions a prepared a selection of Artsper. {ARTSPER} Artist agent, exhibition commissioner, collector, producer, dealer, expert... You have a broad knowledge on contemporary art. What motivated you to work in the world of art? {STEPHANE CHATRY}: During my teens I spend all my time reading comics giving me a strong background in drawing. In 2000, I started working as a graphics designer in different communication agencies in Paris before becoming project leader. It’s only in 2006 that I dedicated my creative energy to artists. My starting point was the creation of collective “Objective Bombe” with photographer Jean Cécé. I was introduced in the world of art through promotion, production and commercialization of the collective’s artworks. It was hands on experience that helped me in my profession and allowed me to work with great artists and discover the commitment I was looking for in this field. This experience also helped me start a project with art historian Marc Soleranski that lets me to enrich my interpretation of contemporary art by situating it in its historical context. The different labeling that you talk about are basically ones of a gallerist with the only difference that I do not own my personal creative space. Well, Not yet! {A} Could you tell us a little about your job as an “artists agent”? What relationship do you have with collectors and gallery owners? {S} How I work as an agent requires a strong and consistent engagement where you only get long term results. It’s only on confidence and a perfect complementarity with the artist that this collaboration can have a powerful impact. My constantly evolving network is organized around collectors, gallery owners, institutions and medias with whom I have formed a relationship and a constructive and shared passion. My first motivation is above all a human adventure that proves to me every day that contemporary art often criticized has a purpose to gather, create exchange and dialog. The relationship I have with the collectors and the gallery owners when I am only an agent is a relationship based on trust and expertise on the artist’s work. For a lot of artists that are very focused on their work, having a good agent is an important component for their growth. They benefit of having a vision from the outside, advice, an attentive ear. In union there is strength. Therefore, this relationship I can have with artists is unavoidably in the service of galleries and collectors. {A} What are some of your favorite artists that you represent at the moment? After Pierre-Loup Auger, a young talented cartoonist, do you have a new gem in mind? {S} Andrei Molodkin, Malachi Farrell, Zevs, Baptiste Debombourg, Guillaume Bresson, Dran… I study and analyse each day what has been done and what is happening today in order to identify and avoid the risks of the market. By constantly sharpening our eye and instinct, we become more and more arduous and in pursuit of excellence more than a disoriented accumulation. The integrity of the artists humanistic messages that I defend are as important as the quality and the originality of their work. I am very touched by these great artists. Their creativity is unlimited, in perpetual evolution and is a testament to an amazing audacity and bold transgression. It still is very rare to come across an exceptional artist and to collaborate with him, maybe in a few months I’ll come back to you on that one… {A} A cultural event that has made a particular impression on you in 2014 ? {S} Of what I have seen last year, probably the video installation of Paul McCarthy on his exhibition “Chocolate Factory” at the Monnaie de Paris. His reinterpretation of his attack by radical catholics during the installation of the sculpture videotaped last minute on his Chocolate Factory was a masterstroke. How use the opponent’s strength to make them fall. There is a saying that illustrates very well my thoughts “les mouvements contre les problèmes renforcent ces problèmes” (tr. actions against problems strengthen these problems). This audiovisual work brought by McCarthy emphases that contemporary art has this intellectual force that invites us to question creation. I am personally motivated and passionate about this reflection. {A} Could you tell us about the exhibition that is presenting Baptiste Debombourg, Andreï Molodkin et Zevs that you are exposing at the Patricia Dorfmann gallery in Paris from the 31st of January to February the 28th? {S} It’s a group show “Human Rights” on human rights that I am very passionate about. We have been preparing it since October and it is happening at a very devastating time of history in our country. However I am happy to inaugurate this event during a month that is pretty exceptional and eventful if I may say so. I hope this will show the importance of art and of human creativity an open communication and debate on human rights and freedom of expression through contemporary art. {A} Being around artists and collectors in your daily life, have you noticed any change in the profile of collectors that come to galleries? If so, do you think the introduction to street art in the art market is any part of this? {S} I have been working in this scene for only nine years and I don’t think I have enough hindsight and experience today to establish a real statement on this subject. However I can say that street art has known a real growth these past years. What is important to me is not the popularity of the movement but the quality of work. I have been working closely with artist Zevs for a couple of years. His work that I know very well now was considered “post-street art” until the end of the nineties and is a testimony to street artists today that often show a certain artistic sterility. Today the market of street art has become a market of its own. To me, the “star” artists that generate money are not important. Those who are important are the ones we will still talk about in twenty years’ time for the artistic revolution brought in art and not the price of their works. {A} What advice could you give to a future collector? {S} The same advice I give to all collectors, beginners or confirmed: concentrate on the artist’s quality of work, its uniqueness and its relevance. Every great artist there is an unexplainable quality something out of the norm in opposition to “business man” artists that are too calculating. You must be well advised and study the system closely to not be fooled. A collection is always an image of the collector, it is very revealing. The most beautiful collections are the ones of the most passionate, the most committed, the ones that give a strong and human signification to their acquisitions, the ones that age with their artworks impregnated by the messages of their creators. {A} The art market is progressively turning to the digital world, what do you think of Artsper’s project? {S} Your platform is a natural and digital evolution of ther art market. It was tried a few years ago but it was too soon. Today it makes sense because you are using artificial intelligence and what technology has to offer. I have personally been using social networks and internet on a daily basis for at least fifteen years. I share what I think is good for all. In this new technological era, art has more than ever its place in the evolution of humanity to avoid the downsides of obscure systems.
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