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Art Paris Art Fairs 2018: a cartography of cultural scenes

Art Market | The latest Art Paris Art Fair edition encapsulates the global geopolitical and geo-cultural development through a cartography of contemporary artistic scenes. In 2018, the fair has centered around the Swiss scene’s new generation and the rediscovery of the French avant-garde scene in the context of a revision of contemporary art history. Finally, Saudi Arabia’s institutional presence with its young artistic scene reflects its gradual opening through cultural diplomacy.

Art Paris Art Fair © Art Paris Art Fair © Emmanuel Nguyen Ngoc, 2017
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Art Paris Art Fair
© Art Paris Art Fair © Emmanuel Nguyen Ngoc, 2017

Karine Tissot, the curator and art historian who directs CACY Yverdons-les-bains, expresses her personal and intimate vision of Switzerland’s cultural production in Art Paris Art Fair 2018. The Grand Palais hosts 13 galleries that portray the diasporic reality of the Swiss scene despite the will to condense it into a single essence. The curator brings forward past inspirations and current exports. Having had several generations of pioneering artists, including Paul Klee, Giacometti, Tinguely, Le Corbusier and Toroni among others, Switzerland has become a favorable environment for the development of artistic creation. At the heart of Europe, without belonging to it, the landlocked nation with the dimensions of a metropolis depends on external exchanges. Its heterogeneity has led to the development of adaptation strategies by its artists and curators at the international level. Just as any other diaspora, expatriations and relocations are the movements that set the circumstances for the country’s art development, facilitating the establishment of networks for key actors. The country’s 1970’s cultural policies represented a breaking point, rehabilitating the Swiss territory and organizing spaces for exhibitions. Art Basel, the world’s most visited fair, confirms the country’s central place in the art market, offering political stability and legal security. The event’s prestige has raised the Swiss training institutions reputation, favoring the emergence of a new generation of national artists. Art Paris Art Fair 2018 has created bridges between generations, presenting the young creators in the light of their predecessors.

François Piron articulates a new subjective perception on the French art scene. Researcher and art critic, the guest curator consolidates his interpretation of the Esprit Français initiated at the Maison Rouge in 2017, and showcases new directions. Indeed, Piron proposes a new cartography, more complex and diversified, in order to go beyond “narratives already established”. His process of redefinition is rooted in a change of era, in which the focus is put on the concept of margins. François Piron offers a selection that dœsn’t aspire to be exhaustive but instead follows the principle of curiosity, contrasting with the public collections often judged as monolithic.

The Saudi and Middle Eastern presence is a reflection of the importance given to the cultural sector in their regional development. Indeed, Prince Mohammed Ben Salman (MBS) initiated a new diplomatic era in order to consolidate the national influence on the artistic scene. Through the MiSK Institute, an organization created with the objective of favoring the national scene and promoting exterior exchanges, Saudi Arabia has positioned itself as a rival to the region’s cultural states (Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iran) that compete for hegemony. In the context of the 2018 fair, Saudi artist Ahmed Mater directs the platform to showcase the national artistic development, while waiting to reach cultural stability through the construction of a common guiding line for the country.

Valentin Heinrich
Publié le 15/03/2018
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Art Paris Art Fair © Art Paris Art Fair © Emmanuel Nguyen Ngoc, 2017 Art Paris Art Fair © Art Paris Art Fair © Emmanuel Nguyen Ngoc, 2017

Art Paris Art Fair
© Art Paris Art Fair © Emmanuel Nguyen Ngoc, 2017

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