Arts buyers and sellers from all over the world have been meeting at the “Docks Art Fair” in Lyon, which coincides with the launch of the city’s biennial contemporary art festival.
For this fourth edition, around 30 galleries presented works by artists from 12 different countries.
“The Docks Art Fair attracts a faithful audience, people come back year after year, and each time the number of visitors grows and they come from further afield,” said Olivier Houg, director and founder of the Docks Art Fair.
Georges Verney-Carron, whose gallery featured works by Peruvian artist Patricia Camet, said the buzz surrounding the art festival has a very positive impact on the arts business: “I think the PR done to promote the biennial attracts a lot of people, it’s very good for us, we have arts collectors and journalists from all over the world, that’s quite exceptional, you don’t get that every day, especially in the arts world,” he said.
Gallery owner Rüdiger Voss is selling works by Irish artist Mary Kelly, including a series of photographs shot in a top security prison. We asked him whether it was a good year.
“Yes, I am really pleased,” he said. “I sold a few Mary Kelly photos, including one done here in Lyon.”
Works by Paris jet-set darling Fabien Verschaere were also on sale. He has had quite a few solo exhibitions around the world and usually sells quite well.
“There were quite a few journalists and local arts collectors, I’ve been working with them for several years now so I have a good network. Was it a great year? No, but I’ve seen worse,” said art gallery owner Eric Dereumaux.
Also on show was a solo piece by British artist Luke Newton, whose work is inspired by everyday life including packs of cigarettes and shopping trolleys.
“I represent an English artist called Luke Newton. He is very close to the public, even with young arts collectors, he’s always able to get the message across, so, yes, his work sold well,” said arts dealer Anthony Phuong.
One Paris-based arts dealer we met said people need to open up to art and let it into their homes.
“I have the feeling that the arts market in Lyon is under-developped and that’s a shame, there’s still quite a bit of work to be done to get the message across to people that art is something you can live with, if you have artworks in your home, it can change your life,” said Laurent Godin.
With a growing market potential for art in the Lyon region, the Docks Art Fair provides easy and affordable visibility on the global scene for local galleries. For others, it is a gamble but can become a springboard to other such events around the world.