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Art Paris leans into its Frenchness for 2024 edition, with rising talents in the spotlight

A visitor walks through the gallery Huberty & Breyne's stand at Art Paris 2024.
A visitor walks through the gallery Huberty & Breyne's stand at Art Paris 2024. Copyright Art Paris 2024 © Marc Domage
Copyright Art Paris 2024 © Marc Domage
By Anca Ulea
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For its 26th edition, Art Paris is leaning into its Frenchness and putting a spotlight on the diversity of the French art scene. The contemporary and modern art fair continues to give a platform to rising talents.

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As Paris settles into its role at the centre of Europe’s art market, ‘Art Paris’ is trying to build on the momentum the French capital has enjoyed in recent years.

After welcoming a record 81,857 visitors in 2023, this year the contemporary and modern art fair features more stands than ever before – with 136 galleries representing 25 countries.

But the fair has maintained its identity as a “local” art fair, with 60% of exhibiting galleries remaining French.

For its 26th edition, Art Paris is playing up its Frenchness with a special exhibition on the local art scene that showcases its diversity.

One of two themed exhibitions this year, “Fragile Utopias: A focus on the French Scene” was curated by Éric de Chassey, Director of France’s National Institute for Art History (INHA). Scattered across the 10,000 square-metres of the Grand Palais Éphémère, it presents the work of 21 French artists and foreign artists who call France home.

"Les dépossédés #14, 2023" by Elika Hedayat (Galerie Aline Vidal) is featured in the "Fragile Dystopias" exhibition at Art Paris 2024.
"Les dépossédés #14, 2023" by Elika Hedayat (Galerie Aline Vidal) is featured in the "Fragile Dystopias" exhibition at Art Paris 2024.Galerie Aline Vidal, via Art Paris

“Presenting French artists in an international context is, I think, the DNA of this art fair,” de Chassey told Euronews Culture. “I tried to focus on artists who have less visibility, artists who maybe need some slowing down of looking.”

French artist Mathilde Denize's "Figures, 2023", featured as part of the "Fragile Utopias" exhibition at Art Paris 2024.
French artist Mathilde Denize's "Figures, 2023", featured as part of the "Fragile Utopias" exhibition at Art Paris 2024.Perrotin via Art Paris

The selection includes contemporary and modern art with works by artists including Iranian-born painter Elika Hedayat (Galerie Aline Vidal), whose dreamlike paintings imagine an alternative future. Also featured: Raphaël Zarka’s (Galerie Mitterrand) abstract sculpture “Woodhouselee,” based on an astronomical instrument from a Scottish castle, and Michel Parmentier (Loevenbruck)’s horizontal-striped painting on unstretched canvas from 1966.

Raphaël Zarka’s abstract sculpture “Woodhouselee” is based on an astronomical instrument from a Scottish castle.
Raphaël Zarka’s abstract sculpture “Woodhouselee” is based on an astronomical instrument from a Scottish castle.Aurelien Mole 2022 via Art Paris

“I think the art that is interesting is the art that makes you question what you’re looking at and makes you question the world,” de Chassey added.

“That’s why I chose this theme of ‘fragile utopias’ because I think that we need to look at the world differently and to look at what artists can suggest as possibilities without being prescriptive in any way.”

"Sans Titre" by Nathalie du Pasquier, winner of the inaugural BNP Paribas Private Bank prize at Art Paris 2024.
"Sans Titre" by Nathalie du Pasquier, winner of the inaugural BNP Paribas Private Bank prize at Art Paris 2024.Galerie Yvon Lambert via Art Paris

The 21 artists featured in the exhibition were entered to win the first-ever BNP Paribas Private Bank Prize, which came with €30,000 in prize money. 

A jury of prominent art world professionals selected Franco-Italian artist Nathalie du Pasquier (Galerie Yvon Lambert) as the winner of the inaugural prize, sponsored by the fair's official premium partner. The former designer, who lives in Milan, was recognised for her architectural abstract paintings.

A focus on rising talents and collectors

The French art market was saved from a state hike in sales tax last autumn, after months of fierce negotiations between art dealers and the government. One of the contributing factors to Paris’ rise in the art world is France’s lower VAT tax for art sold in the country – 5.5% instead of 20%.

That and Brexit has drawn bigger-name galleries to Paris in recent years – like Zurich’s Hauser & Wirth and Berlin’s Esther Schipper – with Art Paris establishing itself as a prime testing ground for them to present up-and-coming artists.

Visitors looking at artworks at the stand for Galerie Anne-Sarah Benichou at Art Paris 2024.
Visitors looking at artworks at the stand for Galerie Anne-Sarah Benichou at Art Paris 2024.Art Paris 2024 © Marc Domage

Galerie Perrotin – which has locations in Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai and Seoul – has been participating in the fair since 2020. Marine Moulin, Artists Liaison at Perrotin, says Art Paris offers unique opportunities for major galleries.

“It’s much more local than fairs like Paris+ (by Art Basel),” Moulin said. “However, it’s an opportunity to highlight artists who are a bit more up-and-coming, especially in the French or European scenes, which you can see in the fair’s themes this year.”

Esther Schipper's stand at Art Paris 2024. The Berlin-based gallery is one of several big names to open locations in Paris in recent years.
Esther Schipper's stand at Art Paris 2024. The Berlin-based gallery is one of several big names to open locations in Paris in recent years.Art Paris 2024 © Marc Domage

Moulin showed Euronews Culture what she called Perrotin’s “cabinet of curiosities,” a small room at the back of their stand where younger collectors can choose from a selection of smaller, more affordable pieces.

“Art Paris is particularly well suited to this type of presentation,” she said. “Many newer collectors come to us to buy smaller pieces and really start to build their collection. So in terms of budget, I’d say it’s a bit smaller than other fairs like Paris+, but it’s important to represent these collectors too.”

Younger collectors are becoming a more powerful force in the art world. According to Deloitte’s Art and Finance report, 83% of them now view art as a reliable investment, up from 50% last year.

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The intersection of art and craftsmanship

The second exhibition at Art Paris this year, “Art & Craft” examines how modern and contemporary artists have invested in traditional craftsmanship, through techniques like glassblowing, tapestry and ceramics.

Galerie Richard Saltoun's stand at Art Paris 2024.
Galerie Richard Saltoun's stand at Art Paris 2024.Art Paris 2024 © Marc Domage
"Fire [Pożar], 1974" by Polish artist Barbara Levittoux-Świderska (1933-2019).
"Fire [Pożar], 1974" by Polish artist Barbara Levittoux-Świderska (1933-2019).Richard Saltoun via Art Paris

It features works by Polish textile artist Barbara Levittoux-Świderska (Richard Saltoun), functional wood sculptures by Patrick Kim-Gustafson (Galerie Marguo) and a crystal sculpture by Michele Ciacciofera (Galerie Michel Rein) from his series “Tales of the Floating World”.

"Le silence des ballots, 2023" by Jérôme Hirson (Le Sentiment des Choses) is part of the "Art & Craft" selection at Art Paris 2024.
"Le silence des ballots, 2023" by Jérôme Hirson (Le Sentiment des Choses) is part of the "Art & Craft" selection at Art Paris 2024.Jeremie Logeay/via Art Paris

Ceramics have seen a wave of new interest from collectors at all levels, many of whom see the material as comforting and familiar.

“Ceramic is a material and technique that’s very empathetic,” said Alexandra Schillinger, Director of Paris’ Loevenbruck Gallery. “The general public, anyone who encounters a ceramic object will instantly have an empathetic response to it. And I think that artists work with ceramics for this reason as well.”

(L to R) "Stoneware jar with body fragments and snails, 2023", "Stoneware dish with toad, snails and taps" and "Stoneware vessel, 2023" by Daniel Dewar and Grégory Gicquel.
(L to R) "Stoneware jar with body fragments and snails, 2023", "Stoneware dish with toad, snails and taps" and "Stoneware vessel, 2023" by Daniel Dewar and Grégory Gicquel.Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicquel. Photo Fabrice Gousset, courtesy Loevenbruck, Paris.

Loevenbruck presented stoneware works by Franco-British artistic duo Daniel Dewar and Grégory Gicquel at Art Paris this year, which were selected for the “Art & Craft” exhibition. The pieces take familiar objects, like vases and pitchers, and play with their form, adding nipples and snails and feet.

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“Dewar and Gicquel, bring something to ceramics that is very visceral,” Schillinger said. “Here we have something organic through the body motif, there’s this piece on the relationship between nature and culture. It’s not easy to absorb in formal terms, but the ceramics help catch the eye.”

It's the last year Art Paris will take place in the temporary exhibition space "Grand Palais Éphémère". Next year it will be back in the newly-renovated Grand Palais.
It's the last year Art Paris will take place in the temporary exhibition space "Grand Palais Éphémère". Next year it will be back in the newly-renovated Grand Palais.Art Paris 2024 © Marc Domage

Next year, Art Paris will move out of the Grand Palais Éphémère, the temporary exhibition space that had opened in 2021 across from the Eiffel Tower, and back to its permanent home in the newly-renovated Grand Palais.

For Director Guillaume Piens, Art Paris has firmly taken its place as an unmissable artistic rendez-vous in the City of Light, a perfect complement to the more-international Paris+ by Art Basel, which takes place in the autumn.

“What’s interesting today, and what makes the strength of Paris, is that there are two major art events in autumn and spring,” Piens told Euronews Culture. “It’s the only European city that I know where that’s the case. And that means something.”

Art Paris is open to the public until 7 April at the Grand Palais Éphémère in Paris.

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