Art Paris Contemporary Art Fair 2016

 

 

 

The numbers are staggering: 56 thousand visitors, 143 galleries from 22 countries and more than 2,000 artists represented have filled the 6,500 m2 of the Paris Grand Palais. The art fair Art Paris is taken spring very seriously and celebrates the concept coined by themselves, "cosmopolitan regionalism", a concept that encompasses the best of French art with the best proposals of major European cities and territories more distant as Azerbaijan, Colombia, Iran and, of course, Korea, this year's guest country at the Paris fair.

 

 

 

 

Open to all forms of artistic expression, including the design, Art Paris offers a complete picture of art from the postwar period to contemporary art without forgetting the sections dedicated to new discoveries.

 

 

 

The "Promises" section offered the chance to discover emerging talent in solo-show format and galleries with less than 5 years and have never participated before in the show. This year have participated in this Section 12 galleries of Azerbaijan, Brussels, Marseille, London, Paris and Zurich. Digital art has figured prominently at the fair with monumental night projections on the facade of the Grand Palais place.

 

 

 

 

Art Paris, more open to all audiences and new collectors than the elite of the FIAC event, has had the VIP program "Spring in Paris" for collectors and professionals that has included a selection of the best shows and culture events nowadays. The fair has not forgotten the general public and it has developed the BUS EXPO, a traveling exhibition developed in collaboration with Air France to show some of the emerging proposals for the show to wider range of stakeholders and fans art possible. His goal: to make contemporary art accessible to all audiences.

 

This year at Art Paris has only participated a Spanish gallery, Miquel Alzueta, from  Barcelona.

 

 

 

South Korea, as guest of honour, has offered a sample of galleries from Seoul, as well as works of individual artists -80 in all - working with galleries around the world. As has assured the commissioner Chung Sang-A "this selection reveals the richness of Korean art scene with works from 1960 to the current boom in contemporary creativity."
 

Among the specialised professional profiles that we find in the cultural sector, and more specifically, in the field of visual arts, one of the most recent occupations is that of the curator. The ‘80s put attention on the role of the artist, with its innovative character and the enhancement of its figure as an essential articulator of creative proposals, while the end of the century moved the interest towards the exhibition centres themselves and their work as custodians of current production and as spaces to accommodate all proposals. The change of millennium strongly introduced in this panorama the role of the curator. Perhaps together with a social identity crisis, perhaps with the complexity that contemporary projects are currently acquiring, the need for building, articulating and delving into artistic discourses became evident.

Although the functions entrusted to this profession are not entirely new, since previously they belonged to conservatives, critics or experts according to the themes, the role has gained solidity because it combines all these purposes while allowing the specialisation of other professionals in their fields of competence. Now, as some curators themselves point out, the genuine spirit of this figure, who was born to facilitate the understanding of the discourse, create narratives within a sometimes chaotic and scattered context, mediate between the works and the spectator and create bridges between contemporary art and society.

The art of our day raises a multitude of unknowns for the visitor who must face proposals many times away from the aesthetic standards, which gives way to uncertainty and confusion; but, in turn, these works employ a closer language, materials and even compositions detached from the sophistication and the technical display of yesteryear, something that, far from favouring proximity to the message, generates some distancing. What we have just described is part of the very essence of current art. The questioning of the formalist guidelines and the recourse to tangible elements that are more utilitarian than embellishing are the new criteria of creation, where, above all, the message to be conveyed stands out.

Likewise, another inherent characteristic of the work of our time is the artists' concern for more immediate themes, for social, political and economic issues that seek to create a narrative and conceptual revulsion, leaving behind the aesthetic priority or, rather, making of the message its own aesthetic. In this context, strange as it may seem, contemporary creation encounters a linguistic barrier hindering the viewer's understanding. And to this circumstance, the abundant current production is added, covering a wide range of themes that are nothing more than a transcript of our diverse and globalised society.

The curator helps to facilitate this understanding by articulating a coherent discourse that allows the grouping of related ideas to set up the message. This requires to have an in-depth knowledge of the current state of the art, the lines of work of the creators, the most recent aesthetic proposals and the real demands of society to bridge the dialogue and allow the approach to art. If art deals with the same issues that concern us all, how can we not share its postulates? Cultural mediation requires the work of the curators to open a small window for reflection and to enable a space for exchange and idea generation. We share the thought that José Guirao expressed in a recent interview: "The curator is someone who reveals something new, and it would be a mistake for curators to become managers."

Understood this way curator’s role, many institutions have joined the trend of creating specific calls for new professionals to give light to their proposals. Let us remember, as an example, the call "Unpublished" of La Casa Encendida, or "Curator wanted", of the Community of Madrid or the call of Curating of La Caixa.