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Romain Semeteys

Founder of Lechassis

Romain Semeteys is the founder of Lechassis, a platform that supports young creation in contemporary. Artsper met him and talked about his passion for emerging artists.

{Artsper} Can you tell us about your career path?
{Romain Semeteys}I founded Lechassis in September 2013 while I was working in a consulting firm. I received a lot of positive feedbacks so I decided to quit my job at the end of 2014 and dedicate myself entirely to this project that was so dear to my heart.
As for my education, I studied management, communication and marketing. I am therefore pretty comfortable with everything artists do not want to deal with! I also took nighttime classes at the Ecole du Louvre to enrich my knowledge of art history.
However my childhood friends happen to have all gone through art schools, so I have been surrounded by creation during my education and I always liked their parties better! I met a lof of people there and started to collect young artists.

{Artsper} Can you tell us what is Lechassis?
{Romain Semeteys}Lechassis is a platform that supports young contemporary art creation. It consists of an online magazine (critics, news and interviews), a calendar of events and a guide dedicated to young creation as well as event planning and exhibitions.
The starting idea was to centralize initiatives focusing on young creation (fairs, galleries etc.), and create publish original content on our platform.
Today our structure counts about 10 contributors and we invest a lot of energy into partnering with fairs, biennales, and galleries to defend young creation.
Personally, I would like to work more with the private sector and brands in order to support young artists. I think there is a field to develop and explore here, because so far, artistic collaboration during events or the launch of product campaigns have rarely been satisfying for the artists on an aesthetic level. We need to come up with new frameworks!
Additionally, by the end of the year, we will launch a “network for young creation” for which we will select places and entities, and propose a dedicated guide and tools.

{Artsper} For your website, you started an original collaboration with students of the Université Paris VIII, how is this going?
{Romain Semeteys} This collaboration is a partnership with the class on the art of writing critiques held at the Université Paris VIII (under the leadership of Nathalie Desmet).

The idea is to publish critiques of exhibitions and portraits of artists in relation with young creation and written by Master students. I think it is an interesting partnership since the students of today are the critics of tomorrow, and some might even become famous.
Those students will also grow and evolve along with the artists from their generation. It is exactly the concept of young creation! It is a whole.

{Artsper} How would describe the current generation of artists?
{Romain Semeteys} When I talk about young creation, I refer to artists who are still in art school or at the beginning of their career, so mostly up until 35 years old. After, I prefer talking about “emerging artists”, even though the lines are rather blurry.
This generation (25-35), to which I belong, and that we want to promote on our platform has many characteristics. It has more tools to promote and assert its artistic standpoints, through the communication power of social media for example. Sometime, it can be to the detriment of the studio work though.
It is difficult to have a general opinion on our generation since each path and each artist is unique- which makes the beauty of it. Overall, I think one of the main concerns of our generation of artists are the over-connectivity of our world and the speed of interactions. It is obvious that digital media, video art and digital installations are a growing practice, as the last Jeune Creation exhibition of 2014 showed.

{Artsper} What are the most exciting events of 2015 according to you?.
{Romain Semeteys}There are some must-events in the world of young creation such as the Salon de Montrouge, the Circulation(s) festival for photography, the Artistik Rezo Icart award, or the open house of the art school ENSBA and its awards for example. There are some pearls to discover during those events!
But there are interesting events all year long actually, if one look into it! And also some revelations like the exhibition entitled “Le Parfait flaneur” on the fringe of the Lyon Biennale –an off event organized by the Palais de Tokyo in a former boilermaker factory with a dozen young artists (among which where some of my friends). In this unusual space, some pieces have taken an incredible dimension and visual power.

{Artsper} We attended the exhibition « La Vérité est ailleurs » (The Truth is elswhere) at the Maison des Ensembles –and we liked it a lot-, can you tell us how this project came into being?
{Romain Semeteys}Thank you very much! The exhibition was pretty successful indeed, especially on the night of the opening!
It is a project that we entirely conceived and organized ourselves, with a very small budget but incredible artists (Christophe Herreros, Arash Nassiri, Coraline de Chiara, Etienne Pottier and Léa Hodencq).
The idea was to create a fictional journey across the four stories of a building that was not particularly suited for exhibitions. It was a real challenge. Some pieces have been made especially for the exhibition, such as the neon light by Christophe Herreros or photographs by Arash Nassiri.
We wanted to mount a quality exhibition while making a fun and open event too– hence the concert, the Dj set and the pizza truck! It was a great experience, and we intend to do it again!

{Artsper} Lechassis and Artsper share the same desire to make art more accessible to the public: where does this desire come from for you?

{Romain Semeteys} My desire is to reach a more aware and demanding audience (artists, collectors, galleries etc.) as well as a wider one, less expert in contemporary art.
To me, there is only one solution to succeed: continuing to present powerful artists, yet not necessarily accessible at first, while putting our effort on communication.
Making art more accessible is one of my ambitions, and it is above all a daily labor of communication in order to reach people who are not necessarily aware of what is going on in the contemporary art world.
Our golden rule: to be demanding on what we show, and not to give in to easy and lazy art.

{Artsper}: What do you think of websites like Artsper selling art online?
{Romain Semeteys} I think that web will play a prominent role in the art market and practices in the future.
However, I know that many young artists are rather distrustful towards it and need reinsurance on the motivations of web actors not to see their art depreciate, and I understand them. But their future will depend on the web, I am sure of that!
I strongly believe in mixed models involving physical and virtual places: a gallery with experimental proposals combined with an online sale platform for example.

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