News /

Silvia Ammon and Clément Delépine on Paris Internationale

The third edition of Paris Internationale, the “convivial” art fair supporting a younger generation of galleries and artists, will take place October 18–22, 2017, in the former headquarters of Libération, the legendary French newspaper cofounded by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1973. Flash Art spoke with Paris Internationale co-directors Silvia Ammon and Clément Delépine.

With art fairs proliferating, a clear identity is pivotal to the success of newer ones. How do you define Paris Internationale in that regard?

Silvia Ammon and Clément Delépine: A large-scale art fair can be intimidating even to veteran fairgoers. The term “convivial” was used a lot in reference to Paris Internationale — to such an extent that it became a private joke among the team. One particular comment we received from our exhibitors and visitors is that they enjoyed the “deceleration” and being able to take the time to more thoroughly discuss an artist’s work. The fair is nomadic, founded by five galleries to promote the work of a generation of like-minded galleries.

One of the main new features of this edition of Paris Internationale is its location in the multistory car park previously home to the newspaper Libération. Can you elaborate on this choice?

The inaugural edition in 2015 took place in a grand but derelict mansion undergoing renovation. In 2016 we used a truly magnificent hôtel particulier, which was originally the Parisian residence and home to the collection of Calouste Gulbenkian. For the upcoming edition, we wanted to propose something new and to completely depart from the aesthetic codes we’ve explored thus far. On our first visit we were immediately drawn to the brutalist feel of this building.

The fair will be located in the heart of Paris, between the politically loaded Place de la République and Le Marais, Paris’s traditional gallery district. Will this new location color the fair?

Politically speaking, this venue is an appropriate context to address current challenges to journalism, freedom of speech and urban development. We worked closely with the Parisian collective The Cheapest University, which organized a program of collaborative work events titled “What’s in My Bag…?” Inspired by the eponymous TV show, the reflection was driven by the current security-driven political climate in which bags of citizens are systematically inspected. This year again, we benefit from the support of the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard to organize the public program.

One of the distinctive features of Paris Internationale is the presence of nonprofit art spaces. What is their role within the fair?

Nonprofit spaces spearhead and promote an emerging scene. In Paris specifically, nonprofits are definitely agents of the city’s dynamism, which is why we decided to focus on Parisian spaces this year. PI always supported nonprofits by inviting them to partake. As you know, the venue was originally conceived as a parking lot. Libération had platforms built along the spiraling ramp to install journalists. We positioned the nonprofits on these platforms, at the very center of the fair.

by Charles Teyssou

read more
News /

Adam Pendleton’s Black Dada Reader

The assembled texts in Adam Pendleton’s Black Dada Reader (2017) are varied, difficult and niche in all the weirdest ways. Black Dada is a theoretical proposition, “a way to talk about the future while talking about the past,” the American artist explains in his manifesto. The poets and artists and literary theorists he selects each deconstruct, in their own way, the significance of both representation and language.

Although at first writings by the likes of Hugo Ball, W.E.B. Du Bois, LeRoi Jones, Ron Silliman and Gertrude Stein seem discordant alongside artist projects by Ad Reinhardt, Adrian Piper, William Pope.L, Sun Ra and Thomas Hirschhorn, under the general concept of Black Dada they function well because of how they inform one another. It is implied that in conjunction their ideas offer an approach to understanding Black Dada as a concept.

The nearly four-hundred-page hardcover book is an expanded version of a 2011 spiral-bound zine of photocopied texts Pendleton brought together to contextualize his work. This new version is organized into parts. It opens with several original essays by critics and curators presenting different interpretations of Black Dada and how it informs Pendleton’s performance, video, painting and photographic collage. Then the “FOUNDATIONS,” “LANGUAGE” and “ARTIST’S POSITIONS” sections round out a broad foundation of influences and exemplars of the concept.

Pendleton is concerned with black life and the absurdity of our present grammars of being. “It has been said that the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house, but what about the people the master treated as tools? That is, the ‘tools’ that were themselves capable of practicing abstraction, those three-fifths?” Pendleton asks in his afterword. “Black Dada is the name I borrow for the immanent historical possibility of this transformation: Black for the open-ended signifier projected onto resisting objects, Dada for yes, yes, the double affirmation of their refusal.” In many ways Dada allows a reconsideration of traditional “identity politics” discourses, which have been so inextricably tied to representation. Pendleton wants an afro-conceptualism. He suggests the subject-self can shift away from objecthood through abstraction, that politics are in fact an implicit part of abstraction.

In a very straightforward way, Black Dada Reader provides a theoretical background for engaging with Pendleton’s practice. By selecting the texts and outlining what Black Dada came from and can be, the artist deftly shapes an emergent concept.

by Yaniya Lee

read more
News /

Feeling the Breeze ART-O-RAMA / Marseille

The eleventh edition of ART-O-RAMA, originally launched in 2007, took place at the end of August in the suggestive urban space of La Friche la Belle de Mai, previously a tobacco factory, in Marseille, South of France. In recent years, the nontraditional Marseillese art fair has grown considerably, but it always remains devoted to its original format in which a selection of local and international galleries are invited to curate their booths alongside artist projects. The goal is to appear more like an exhibition space than a traditional fair.

Flash Art spoke to director Jérôme Pantalacci and curator Luigi Fassi, together with Vincent Honoré, in charge of this year’s CURATORS TOURS project.

ART-O-RAMA has a more relaxed and intimate dimension compared to other international art fairs. In your opinion, what are ART-O-RAMA’s strengths?

Jérôme Pantalacci: ART-O-RAMA is held late August, in Marseille, which is located between the French Riviera, Camargue and Luberon — three areas where many people (collectors, gallerists, artists) go on vacation. We kick off the season after the summer break. People are relaxed because you can still feel the sweet breeze of holidays in the air.

We also put a lot less economic pressure on gallerists and focus on the artistic proposal. Therefore, gallerists are more relaxed and so are collectors. Everybody is able to take time to meet each other, to discuss and to discover. It is, obviously, also the small number of exhibitors that gives you the possibility to see everything and everyone. As we focus on artist projects and give the gallerists a lot of freedom, the fair doesn’t look like a traditional art fair. Each exhibitor has to design their own booth. We do not have a predefined size or shape. The spaces are mainly open and quite large, which creates visual connections between the different proposals and allows people to circulate even more.

What’s the story behind ART-O-RAMA’s name?

JP: When I was looking for a name, I didn’t want anything that sounded like “Art Marseille.” I wanted a name that contained “art” and which could be used in different languages without denying the link to Marseille. An artist and friend, Olivier Millagou, who is involved in the artistic committee, made a work titled SURF-O-RAMA. I thought that if we replaced “surf” with “art” that could work. So, I asked him for the right to use his idea and he agreed.

How do you envision the future of ART-O-RAMA?

JP: Our aim is not so much about growing bigger. We could easily fill the space with sixty galleries if we wanted to, and make it a profitable business. That is not the core of the project. This year we have twenty-six galleries, six publishers and one nonprofit art space. We will probably have more exhibitors next year, but just enough to amplify a bit the project without losing the spirit of the fair. Our goal is that each exhibitor has enough space to develop their project.

In the future we want to be even more international. Galleries come mainly from Europe and a little bit from the U.S. We want to enhance our Mediterranean connections, and are very keen to develop Southern Europe, Northern Africa and a Middle Eastern perspective — without losing the links with Eastern and Northern Europe, obviously. Marseille is a good point of connection between the three continents. We pay attention to American, Asian and African art scenes as well.

Can you share with us some special news about the 2018 edition? Tell us about some of the programming you have developed for the next edition.

JP: Next year’s edition is taking place from August 31 to September 2, 2018, and will be called “ART-O-RAMA 2018, By the Sea,” as we will change the location of the fair from the industrial and cultural site of La Friche la Belle de Mai to the MJ1 maritime hangar. The MJ1 Hangar is the last shipping warehouse in Marseille. Located in La Joliette waterfront next to the Mucem, this gigantic site has been renovated into a cultural center by the Port of Marseille as part of the general EuroMediterranean project and the European Capital of Culture in 2013. It is a larger venue, and very well located. The fair will be situated between many visual as well as symbolic views: the city on both sides, and in front, the sea horizon, with Marseille’s islands and North Africa beyond them.

Luigi, last year you were invited by ART-O-RAMA to curate the Show Room section. This year you lead the first edition of CURATOR TOURS. What was your expectation for this new role? And how did the galleries react?

Luigi Fassi: Show Room is a series of four solo shows organized by selecting artists who have graduated from art academies in Southern France within the last five years. CURATOR TOURS, initiated by the fair in 2017, offers collectors and other visitors the chance to explore the fair as if it were an exhibition, under the guidance of two curators, me and Vincent Honoré. I have envisioned it as a proper show, titled “Transformative Experience,” one in which you make visitors realize how engaging and transformative a visit to an art fair can be.

During one of your tours you said, “Art can help the fact that you can perceive things not rationally.” Starting from this consideration, would you like to reveal to us three of your favorite artworks that provoked irrational feelings?

LF: Two laser-cut drawings on fabric by Marieta Chirulescu; Vajiko Chachkhiani’s Elephant On Her Way to Vanish, an attempt to translate poems by American poet Edna St.Vincent Millay into sculpture; and Utopias are for Birds by Alvaro Urbano, birdhouses built after unrealized twentieth-century utopian architectural projects.

by Marta Massara

read more
News /

Okey Dokey / Düsseldorf, Cologne

Okey Dokey is a new gallery initiative that takes place September 8–30, 2017, in the Rhineland cities of Düsseldorf and Cologne. Started by three relatively new galleries, Jan Kaps, Ginerva Gambino and Max Mayer, nine spaces across the two cities have been invited to host exhibitions by international galleries that will enact a takeover during this period.

Within this collaboratively minded process, incomers neither pay rent nor engage in a percentage split with the hosting galleries. Instead, supportive relationships are fostered with the aim of solidifying preexisting links between local and international galleries, which are then opened up to the public.

Participants will gather from around the globe, most notably Tokyo gallery Misako & Rosen, who will celebrate their ten-year anniversary while being hosted by Max Meyer in Düsseldorf. Delmes & Zander in Cologne will host Paris-based Galerie 1900–2000, who specialize in avant-garde Dada and Surrealist art, as well as Frankfurt-based Neue Alte Brücke, whose exhibition “Mystification of the Everyday” takes quotidian objects as its subject.

Rob Tufnell in Cologne will host the usually Berlin-based gallerist Tanya Leighton, whose amusingly titled group exhibition, “Pharmacy for Idiots,” will feature artists such as Ansel Krut, Josh Smith, Issy Wood and Ann Craven. Not taking part in this year’s “art berlin” fair — the first collaboration between the former “abc” (art berlin contemporary) and Art Cologne fairs, which will take place concurrently on September 14–17 — Leighton has opted instead for this alternative exhibition model. Not the first of it’s kind, it echoes the collaborative Condo exhibition project, which led the way as spaces throughout London and New York hosted international galleries in 2016 and 2017.

Fair co-organizer and Ginerva Gambino–founder Laura Henseler highlights that Okey Dokey has been organized with further historical precedents in mind: “We see Okey Dokey in a tradition of many collaborative projects that date back to Rhineland exhibitions like “Prospect” in the 1970s and the “Köln Show” thirty years later. The latter was [also] organized by nine galleries without institutional help.”

With Cologne and Düsseldorf having reputations as bustling cities for contemporary art, fueled by the swell of collectors who emerged following the cities’ industrial successes and underpinned by their world-class museums, Okey Dokey adds another variable to this arts ecology.

by Louisa Elderton

read more
News /

The Galapagos Syndrome Yokohama Triennale 2017

The statements of the three artistic directors of the “Yokohama Triennale 2017: Islands, Constellations & Galapagos,” which opens to the public on August 4, tell almost nothing about what these islands off South America have to do with an exhibition on an island located on the opposite side of the Pacific Ocean.

However, they do allude to the “Galapagos syndrome,” a term in Japanese technological parlance that indicates a twenty-first-century phenomenon of technologies evolving only to cater to peculiar domestic needs and becoming useless on foreign markets. The term usually has a negative or ironic connotation: a manifestation of mixed feelings about being isolated from globalization and — as a reaction — a sense of heightened self-regard amid a chauvinistic atmosphere in Japan in recent years.

The number of artists participating in the Triennial keeps dwindling. Nearly eighty in the 2011 edition, sixty-five in 2014 and forty in the upcoming sixth edition. While highlighting international names such as Ai Weiwei, Zhao Zhao, Maurizio Cattelan and Olafur Eliasson, the exhibition also features Japanese participants for whom the term “Galapagos” befits, who are known within local art circles but scarcely exposed to the global art scene, including: Satoru Aoyama, Sachiko Kazama, Susumu Kinoshita and Tsuyoshi Ozawa. Each has a unique style characterized by painstaking handiwork and an introverted, if not obsessive, vision of the realities surrounding them.

Possibly to broaden the perspective of the scaled-down exhibition, “Yokohama Round,” a series of public symposia, will take place during the period, inviting as panelists an anatomist and a cultural anthropologist, among other intellectuals and exhibiting artists.

The “islands” and “constellations” in the title may refer to the exhibition’s layout, as Akiko Miki, one of the three artistic directors, suggests in her statement: “An aggregation of small solo exhibitions by a smaller-than-usual number of carefully selected artists, with many of them showing multiple works.” The two other directors, Eriko Osaka and Tomoh Kashiwagi — both from the Yokohama Museum of Art, a city-run institution serving as the main venue of the Triennial — emphasize the exhibition’s mission to raise public awareness of the role that Yokohama played in Japan’s history of modernization. To be seen will be to what extent this mainly public-funded exhibition can be both local-oriented and international.

by Satoru Nagoya

read more
News /

South as a State of Mind / Documenta 14

Founded in 2012, South as a State of Mind is a biannual publication overseen by Marina Fokidis’ Kunsthalle Athena. After publishing five editions between 2012 and 2014, the three most recent issues have served as journals intended to accompany Documenta 14, defining and framing the aims and concerns of the exhibition.

Described as a “manifestation” of Documenta, rather than a discursive lens through which to view the exhibition’s topics, the three editions have nevertheless adopted the publication’s preexisting and politicized aims, just as Fokidis herself has transitioned into the role of a key curatorial advisor to the exhibition.

The title derives from an ambition to question the stereotypes of “the South” which, as the editors put it, “contaminate the prevailing culture with ideas that derive from southern mythologies” such as temperate climate, corruption and general chaos. The publication sets out to suggest that, rather than existing as a series of physical locations, “South” is in fact a state of mind. Its central hypothesis renders it an apt mouthpiece for Documenta, at the same time raising the question of whether the exhibition was drawn to the region out of curiosity regarding the South.

In its tome-like form, South as a State of Mind employs a variety of paper stocks, while maintaining a consistency of design across the editions that mirrors the approach of all Documenta communications. Yet its content is more striking, comprising diverse and quixotic writings alongside artistic projects. The third Documenta edition focuses on the notion of language as necessity, alongside consumption and hunger as political and aesthetic fields. These include a heartbreaking account by Neni Panourgia of the famine that gripped Greece during and following the Second World War, punctuated by contemporaneous illustrations, and concluding with a description of contemporary Greek poverty; Ross Birrell’s photo series depicting the artist tossing philosophical texts into bodies of water, embodying an “Angel of Post-History”; as well as a fascinating interview with Guatemalan composer and sound artist Joaquín Orellana, who has recently presented his Sinfonía desde el Tercer Mundo (Symphony from the Third World) at Documenta, a work that reflects the atrocities committed in Guatemala by the counterinsurgency against indigenous and mixed-race populations.

As Documenta 14 unfolds, these and other publications will represent an increasingly important body of archival material reflecting on attendees’ discussions. They serve to inspire further dialogue as this whirling discourse begins to solidify.

by Andrew Spyrou

read more