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Directors of Parcours Saint-Germain

Alice Gotheil and Laurence Bruguière are the two young directors of Parcours Saint-Germain, an yearly event taking place from October 23rd to 31st and bringing contemporary art into the luxury stores of the Saint-Germain district. On the occasion of their next edition, Artsper interviewed those two ambitious women to share some insights of the project. {Artsper}: Parcours Saint-Germain was created with the desire to boost the activity of the mythical Saint-Germain district of Paris: why was this mission important for you? {Alice Gotheil and Laurence Bruguière}: Parcours Saint-Germain was created 15 years ago by Anne-Pierre Albis in the aim of bringing a cultural boost to the district. 15 years ago, collaborations between luxury brand and contemporary artists were rare, if not inexistent. Exhibiting contemporary art in luxury store was a challenge and it was very innovative. Today, the concept remains original but is more widely spread, since the frontiers between luxury and art are less definite. {Artsper}: What was the reason of this lack of dynamism according to you, since this district counts among the most prestigious and historical art galleries in town? {Alice Gotheil and Laurence Bruguière}: It is not a lack of dynamism. The Saint-Germain district has always been a lively and attractive place for visitors from around the world! 15 years ago, when luxury stores came in the district, it was decided to create a cultural event to integrate these stores into the artistic life of the district. {Artsper}: Is Parcours Saint-Germain limited to a couple of days per year or is there something going on all throughout? {Alice Gotheil and Laurence Bruguière}: Parcours Saint-Germain is a yearly event and it lasts about 10 days. With about 40 participating stores for each edition, it requires a lot of planning before and after. For the moment, we operate only once a year, but we are currently thinking about developing new initiatives, such as an art movie festival in partnership with the Cinema Etoile Saint-Germain. {Artsper}: What is the artistic line of your event? Do you wish to convey a specific artistic message? {Alice Gotheil and Laurence Bruguière}: It would be simplistic to define one artistic line. We particularly focus on exhibiting young artists, but not only… Every year, we define a theme with the honorary committee. This year, the theme is “Poésie de la Matière” (Material and poetry). While poets use words to express their vision, artists work with material and reinvent the objects around us to provide us with a new perception of the world. To each his own tool. Words as well as material can be used for their essential quality and their poetical connotations without any descriptive intention. With poets, we travel through words and their sound, and with artists, we explore the possibilities of materials. {Artsper}: How does the collaborations between artists and stores/brands work? Is the artist free to do what he wants or does he have to create within a certain framework? Do these collaborations continue after the event? {Alice Gotheil and Laurence Bruguière}: Artists are invited to exhibit in the stores. It is not really a collaboration because they do not work on commissioned pieces. Most often, the pieces are however created specifically for the place, sometime they preexist. We select application of artists based on our yearly theme and we propose 2 or 3 artists to each participating brand. They make the final decision on which artist will exhibit. Frequently artists and brands keep working together afterward. It makes us happy to see that our suggestions were relevant! {Artsper}: Today, art market practices are changing at a fast pace and digitalization is becoming a reality: is it a threat for the galleries of the Saint-Germain district? Are you in favor of platforms like Artsper? {Alice Gotheil and Laurence Bruguière}: Parcours Saint-Germain is not a commercial event: our first mission is not to sell, even if it can happen as a consequence. We cannot talk for the galleries, however we think that the digitalization process of the art market is not a threat for traditional galleries. On the contrary, initiatives like Artsper make contemporary art more accessible and boost the market.
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