Work and photo by Vendula Knopova
We knew the Gauls were a diehard bunch, but we didn’t know their distant descendants, French gallerists, shared the same spirit of resistance. And yet over 40 of them have united to remind international collectors (and the general public) that the Parisian art scene is of world-class importance. Their weapon? The fifth edition of Paris Gallery Weekend (PGW), which, following the model of its Berlin counterpart, deploys a dense programme over two days: 44 participating galleries (40% more than last year, which is a good sign), 107 artists, 49 events (including 35 solo shows), openings, brunches… But numbers don’t suffice alone, you need the big names too: on the gallery side there’s Chantal Crousel, Thaddaeus Ropac, Jousse Entreprise, and Almine Rech; and on the artists’ side, Agnès Varda (Nathalie Obadia), David Hockney (Lelong & Co.), the Lalannes (Mitterrand), Olivier Mosset (VNH), and Jan Fabre and Robert Motherwell (Templon).
According to Séverine Waelchi, director at Thaddaeus Ropac, who joined the PGW board this year, “one of the greatest challenges is making Paris’s geography comprehensible. Each itinerary is planned by neighbourhood: the Marais, Pantin-Belleville, Matignon…” To which gallerist Marion Papillon, the woman behind PGW, adds, “If we want to attract foreign collectors, we’ll have to propose a larger itinerary, which includes the big Paris museums.” Among the latter is the new OMA-designed Lafayette Anticipations, a stone’s throw from the Centre Pompidou, which together have partnered with PGW to offer guided tours to VIP guests who, on their way from the Hôtel Le Meurice (also a partner), can check out the Fondation Ricard before sitting down to an honorary dinner at the Hôtel de Ville. When seducing foreign art collectors, one can’t let the pearls of the City of Light go to waste!
Paris Gallery Weekend, May 26-27, Paris.