L’Art Paris celebrates its 25th anniversary with an edition featuring 134 galleries from 25 different countries. The modern and contemporary art exhibition, which has been held since 1999 at the Grand Palais Ephémère in Paris, brings together French galleries with international ones, with gallery owners, curators and art lovers seeking new relationships and trends by exploring the innovative language of art. It is a cosmopolitan exhibition with a strong interest in increasing the visibility of artists from the international scene, bringing added value to France; at the same time it is also the same one that always has an eye on its homeland, supporting it and presenting a specific selection of works made by French personalities. The public is transported by the myriad emotions aroused by the numerous works of art that surround them and lead them to reflect regarding the themes presented, observing the different perspectives and ways of approaching the subject. In addition to the best-known large galleries that win their place in the exhibition every year, some “promises” of art make room for themselves, giving them a chance to receive attention and make themselves known in this endless and difficult artistic universe. The exhibition is divided into several sections, presenting multiple themes, all connected by a common denominator such as attention to the present, to the reality that surrounds human beings, to world conflicts and to care for the environment, actively participating in the current struggle for change in the world.
Artists can’t change the world, but they can help transform it: though their works they manage to give a face to real-world fears, mutating them into symbols and allegories with strong meaning. The work helps to materialize the “problem” that in life we feel distant, not belonging to our every day reality, showing us instead that is something closer than it seems. Art & Commitment, the first collection, denounces the presence of situations where dreams and hopes are now lost, questioning and seeking an answer in art, particularly from the French scene. Three guiding figures were chosen for artists who embody different ways of caring for the reality around us: painters and sculptors who, in addiction to their own work, felt the need to take charge of the community and help others in their own way.
The artist has the power to awaken the strength to act that lies dormant in other souls.
The second section of the exhibition, Exile, is based on the idea of leaving, exploring the concept and investigating more deeply the different facets it can mean: the term is usually associated with refugees, immigrants, people forced to move because they are not accepted, but reading the same word with a positive meaning we think of the many possibilities a person encounters by changing countries, new relationships, language and the endless opportunities that arise. Any person living in exile could be described as not conforming to the rules of society, with a different point of view and way of life in relation to the rest of the population: the exact description of what we all refer to as an “artist.” Art Paris in fact demonstrates the possibility of infinite ways of reading a term, placing the latter in broader context that recognizes exile as a form of transformation, as a state of transition, as an inner journey. Exile focuses on the word in a broad sense, allowing the artists to show the audience the different expressions and personal process related to the subject, which is detached from the purely geographical meaning. Each work has been associated with a question in the hope that the audience can immediately understand the artist’s intent: Anas Albraehe, Christine Sara, Nabil El Makhloufi, Leyla Gediz, Aung Ko, Nge Lay, Ivan Argóte, Boris Mikhaïlov, Estefania Peñafiel Loaiza, Myriam Mihindou, Makd Abdel Hamid, Tirad Hashemi, Laure Prouvost, José Ángel Vincench and Taysir Batniji express their views through various art forms, some choosing realistic aspects and others preferring abstract representations.
“Can we move forward when time no longer flows?” is the question mark of Taysir Batniji, represented by Galerie Eric Dupont, who presents for the occasion an hourglass resting horizontally on the surface so that the sand inside it is still, motionless. The sculpture evokes a state of book in situations where we remain stuck, where time seems to be frozen and we feel unable to act: according to him, exile is a phase we go through similar to infinity, where time does not flow and the human being stands still. Estefania Peñafiel Loaiza, of Galerie Alain Gutharc juxtaposes several sharp shots with other blurred ones, comparing them to memories, in some cases clear and precise and others unclear and evanescent. The boat glimpsed in the photo evokes departure: the artist embarks on a journey between reality and imagination that is presented as an ode to the invisible traces we leave on the landscape and, at the same time, the journeys the latter experienced before erasing them: “Can invisible traces disappear?”. Nabil El Makhloufi, of L’Atelier 21 Art Gallery, portrays a mass of silhouettes, appearing as a single person, capturing its impersonal and oppressive essence and portraying the anonymity of the social being. The observer looks from behind the crowd and cannot perfectly delineate the contours of the figures, confusing them with one another: the person’s expression is blank, as if he or she is looking elsewhere.
Part of the exhibition is devoted to young galleries that have been established for less than six years, developing even deeper into a diverse and thoughtful analysis of contemporary art, also investigating the thinking of emerging artists. Spaceless Gallery, in Paris and Miami, shows particular interest in artificial intelligence through the pieces of two figures from the French scene: the ceramicist Olga Sabko and the artist Quentin Derouet. The latter presents works on canvas painted exclusively with the colors of a red-pink hybrid created specifically for the quality of its pigment. Galerie Hors-Cadre establishes a dialogue between three artists, who through their work explore visible and invisible worlds using new forms of materiality. Lucile Boiron, in her photographic installations, explores skin as a multiform material in motion, moving it away from its traditional functions. Clara Imbert brings together objects used in sacred rituals to make vessels that transport the viewer to an abstract universe. Mathieu Merlet Briand by recycling the cloud of big data and its thousands of images and videos, gives shape to these flows, creating a synthesis that allows them to take a tangible form. Beginning with a more classical type of art, looking at work from well-known and established galleries, Art Paris shifts its focus to more experimental galleries, interacting with young artists who make the most of what technology has to offer. The exhibition makes the audience think about current issues that surround us and that we hear about every day, giving them an innovative point of reflection through contemporary art, creating a relationship and understanding between the viewer and the work.