ParisPhoto, the biggest photo fair in Europe held each November at the Grand Palais, returns with its 22nd edition.
“There are images not everyone would like to see”
Interviews and featured galleries, artists by Zoltan Alexander
JR at Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris), Kensuke Koike, Thomas Sauvin, Emilia Genuardi of Approche (Paris), Edouard Taufenbach at ParisPhoto Curiosa and Binom Gallery (Paris), Simon Lehner (Vienna), Daniel Szalai (Budapest) at ParisPhoto Carte Blanche, Marie-Charlotte Wambergue of Maison Ruinart (Paris), Deborah Oropallo, Stephanie Syjuco, Edgar Martins and Catharine Clark of Catharine Clark Gallery (San Francisco), Richard Learoyd at Pace/MacGill Gallery (New York), Dmitry Markov at Galerie du Jour/Agnes B (Paris), Ayana V Jackson at Baudoin Lebon Gallery (Paris), Grey Crawford at Taik Persons Gallery (Berlin), Tahmineh Monzavi at Silk Road Gallery (Tehran), Nathalie Boutté at Yossi Milo Gallery (New York), Delphine Diallo at Fish Eye Gallery (Paris), Daido Moriyama at Akio Nagasawa Gallery (Tokyo), Annegret Soltau at Anita Beckers Gallery (Frankfurt), Bruce Davidson at Howard Greenberg Gallery (New York), Erwin Olaf at Galerie Magda Danysz (Paris), Richard Avedon at Gagosian Gallery (London)
ParisPhoto 2018 at the Grand Palais / © video by Zoltan Alexander ZOLTAN+MEDIA
ParisPhoto, the biggest photo fair in Europe held each November at the Grand Palais, returned with its 22nd edition, attracting nearly 70.000 visitors in four days and gathering more than 200 exhibitors from all around the world, offering an unparalleled presentation of contemporary and vintage photography from grandmasters to emerging young talents.
ParisPhoto is much more than just an art fair. It's an emotional journey.
Throughout the city, many satellite exhibition openings, book signings and art events seduced the visitors. ParisPhoto is also a melting pot, a unique gathering of friends and professionals meeting up and getting skin close to artists.
At Pace/MacGill Gallery I encountered Paolo Roversi during his book signing, at Frank Elbaz Gallery the artist Ari Marcopoulos and viewed his exhibition with co-host Thibaut Wychowanok of Numéro Art, and at Polka Gallery I had a passionate conversation with writer and former film critic of Libération, Gérard Lefort during the "Inside Outside" exhibition and book signing of New York-based photographer Joel Meyerowitz.
Other evenings have taken me to Sotheby's, Jeu de Paume and fringe events at Offprint, Photo Saint Germain and Approche.
When ParisPhoto is more than just an art fair. It is POLITICAL.
I am sure it was not deliberate that 11.11, the centenary of the Armistice of World War I happened at the same time as ParisPhoto. While the Grammy Award-winning Beninese actress, activist Angelique Kidjo sang the heartbreaking Togolese song “Blewu” to the world leaders who gathered to mark the event at L’Arc de Triomphe, ParisPhoto echoed a very simple question: “Shouldn’t we be living differently by now?”
People make signs. The art world makes signs (see the latest action of Gavin Turk in London), but the voices are still not heard in many governments, in many countries. You know exactly the ones I mean. Peace has definitely not impregnated our lives. Nationalism is a betrayal. Gun violence is not OK. Global environmental issues and climate changes are running into a disaster. Wars, violence, anti-Semitism, women’s rights, black rights, famine, food waste or the dysfunctional Brexit … indeed how many times do we have to blow the whistle to get some attention?!?
During my stay I looked for the answers and interviewed the most significant artists and galleries of this year's edition of ParisPhoto.
MAISON EUROPÉENNE DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE / Paris
The “In Paris during ParisPhoto" programme reunited a dense network of cultural institutions, museums and private foundations throughout the city comprising some of the world's most historically rich photographic collections. At the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, artist JR opened his monumental photographic exhibition “Momentum”. During the press opening, he was hiding behind his dark glasses and hat inside a wooden niche installation answering the press through a pipe.
“Momentum” is JR's first major exhibition on French institution territory bringing large-scale collages, video, live performance and several new installations together. In one of the rooms, he glued the eyes of a woman on a running train. He also made the pyramid of the Louvre disappear, stuck thousands of anonymous people's portraits in public spaces and on the walls of a favela in Rio de Janeiro, he made a little Mexican child looked over the border wall of the United States, and sometimes he wildly motorcycles with French film director icon Agnès Varda. With Massimo Bottura he recently launched an haute cuisine soup-kitchen in the crypt of La Madeleine church in Paris. The list is endless.
12 years after his exhibition “Portrait of a Generation” JR’s latest exhibition at the MEP gathers his projects from graffiti, collages to his illegally displayed giant, black & white portraits, made with a 28mm lens, giving voice to anonymous people. "Momentum”, the mechanics of the event, also unveils an interactive fresco exploring the impossible and devastating gun control in the US. Throughout hundreds of tiny video images, JR created a giant wall of individual video-portraits, used also for the triple-page cover of TIME magazine.
A PPR OC HE / Paris
Near Palais Royal, in a private mansion on rue de Richelieu, co-founder Emilia Genuardi and Elsa Janssen welcomed visitors with the second edition of A PPR OC HE, a salon devoted to experimental photography practices, the desire to bring artists from visual arts and photography together who do not use traditional photographic media.
First, they have fallen in love with the works, the artists, the personalities, then asked the galleries for a participation to end up with a strongly curated project. Each artist had a metaphorical room, intimate and private, as opposed to impersonal, commercial fairs. They gathered 15 artists represented by 12 international galleries including the A PPR OC HE sector, highlighting Kensuke Koike and Thomas Sauvin.
Thomas Sauvin from Paris and Beijing and Kensuke Koike, based in Venice, presented a breathtakingly beautiful series of silver prints “No More, No Less” combining collage and found photography made from original negatives.
The resulting prints were subjected to the sharp imagination of Koike who used only a blade and adhesive tape to deconstruct and reinvent the images. This purely manual intervention had one strict rule: nothing to be removed; nothing to be added, simply “No more, no less”.
It was a perfect collaboration between the two; Sauvin who is both artist and collector, owning more than half a million negatives collected and grouped together under the title “Beijing Silvermine”, and Japanese artist Kensuke Koike who is renowned for his collages. After having bought vintage photos in an antique shop in Milan, Koike now owns more than 20,000 photos and postcards that he cuts, using scissors, scalpels and pasta machines, transforming them into magical dreams.
It has taken 22 years, ParisPhoto is finally back celebrating women photographers. The Fair’s director Florence Bourgeois and artistic director Christoph Wiesner insisted that this year, galleries should highlight their female artists more than ever before.
The project Elle x ParisPhoto was headed by Fannie Escoulen and supported by the French Ministère de la Culture. Brigitte Macron, France's First Lady and Franck Riester, the French Minister of Culture showed great interest during their visit.
ParisPhoto is an art fair embracing many different sectors and subjects. In the aisles of the main and largest section, galleries, beyond gender issues, landscapes, still lives, fashion and abstract works, were showcasing rare and historic work, solo and group shows, focusing on cutting-edge photographers working with image-based art and more and more on work by female photographers.
On the first floor, the prestigious Salon d’Honneur housed private collections including the McEvoy Family Collection and the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, also PRISMS, showcasing large-format series and installations exploring the diverse forms of photography.
The Book section, brought publishers, book dealers and several hundred book-signing events together, also some special book presentations under the arches including Steidl and Louis Vuitton Edition.
The Film sector, in the MK2 Grand Palais cinema, highlighted the relationship between still and moving image selected by Pascale Cassagnau of Centre National des Arts Plastiques CNAP and Matthieu Orléan of Cinémathèque Française.
The Public Programme’s core aspect provided visitors with insights to the waste world of art. The programmes included exhibitions with the Fair’s official partners BMW and JP Morgan, the Platform cycle of talks with curators and artists, the ParisPhoto Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards, the Carte Blanche Students section and many special events exploring emerging trends.
The new section Curiosa, exclusively devoted to erotic photography, fetishism, relations of power, domination and gender issues from hardcore shots to Japanese bondage, brought intimate images together by 14 artists including Nobuyoshi Araki, JoAnn Callis, Antoine d'Agata and Edouard Taufenbach, curated by independent curator and writer Martha Kirszenbaum,
"The Japanese invented bondage." says Kirszenbaum, "They took the ropes from passing ships. At Curiosa, there are images not everyone would like to see."
CURIOSA and GALERIE BINOME / Paris
Edouard Taufenbach’s stunning, erotic photographs “Spéculaire” were presented by Galerie Binome at the gallery's main stand and also at Curiosa.
ET “I became fascinated with editing while studying cinema at the Sorbonne, however, after graduation, I did not choose to direct. I used to edit videos then turned to photography, collage, using anonymous family photographs found at various places. For my current series, I collaborated with French film director Sébastien Lifshitz of “Les Invisibles”, winner of César 2013, who had already a great collection of personal and intimate photos and was intrigued by homo-erotic and gender issues.”
ET “We looked through hundreds of images without knowing from where they were coming from. The original images were very suggestive, sometimes hard-core, erotic, but the way I have reassembled them made them indirect. These artworks often question the boundaries of memory and fiction. I injected cinema, time and rhythm into my images.”
In “Spéculaire” Taufenbach pushed his photographic work into fluid memories, with a slight reference to Pierre Molinier, in-between a moving image and still photography cutting the photos into small pieces and meticulously reassembling them. When I look at his images it is like looking at an entire movie in a single frame. "In fact" - he adds - "all my life is about cutting and collaging”.