From 30th March to 2nd April 2017, the 19th edition of the Art Paris Art Fair will play host to some 139 modern and contemporary art galleries at the Grand Palais. Open to all forms of artistic expression, Art Paris Art Fair provides an overview of art from the post-war years to the current day with a theme-based approach that emphasises discovery. This edition puts African art under the spotlight and features monographic exhibitions in the Solo Show section and up-and-coming artists in Promesses (Promises).

The 2017 selection: increased international standing and a stronger contingent of modern art galleries

The 2017 selection bears witness to the fair’s increased international standing with 29 countries represented (compared to 22 in 2016) and 52% non-domestic exhibitors. Exploring the regions of Europe constitutes one of the fair’s main areas of work, with this year the participation of galleries from Barcelona (ADN Galería), Madrid (Galeria Alvaro Alcazar), Rome (Montoro 12), Knokke-Heist (Guy Pieters Gallery) and Amsterdam (Flatland Gallery), not forgetting 13 galleries from different parts of France such as Cédric Bacqueville from Lille, D.X Galerie from Bordeaux and J.P. Ritsch-Fisch from Strasbourg. Newcomers from Paris include Philippe Gravier (with Sou Fujimoto’s spectacular solo show), Sobering, Perpitch & Bringand and In camera, which join the contemporary galleries that are regulars at the fair such as Galerie Lahumière, Nathalie Obadia, Daniel Templon, Paris-Beijing and Rabouan Moussion. There is also a stronger contingent of modern art galleries with, for the first time, the participation of Frans Jacob (Amsterdam), Michel Descours (Lyon), Martin du Louvre (Paris), Galerie Bert (Paris), as well as the return of DIE Galerie (Frankfurt).

Guest of honour: Africa – an exceptional in-depth focus:

Since 2012, Art Paris Art Fair has forged its reputation by exploring foreign art scenes that have never, or are only rarely presented in France. In 2017, after Russia, China, South-East Asia and South Korea, Art Paris Art Fair puts the spotlight on Africa. Under the leadership of cultural consultant and independent exhibition curator, Marie-Ann Yemsi, the invitation of Africa as guest of honour highlights a previously-unseen perspective of contemporary African artistic horizons, as well as other visions of purely African or wider-ranging influences.

Spread across the different sections of the fair, around twenty galleries from South Africa, Angola, Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda, Senegal, Tunisia and Europe showcase the talented emerging generation of artists from both the African continent itself and its diaspora.

In addition to monographic exhibitions featuring Mohau Modisakeng, who will represent South Africa at the next Venice Biennale (WHATIFTHEWORLD), Billie Zangewa (AFRONOVA GALLERY) and Mario Macilau (Ed Cross Fine Art), visitors will have another chance to see the large works on paper by Zimbabwe’s representative at the 56th Venice Biennale, Gareth Nyandoro, (Tiwani Contemporary), repurposed objects by Romuald Hazoumé (October Gallery) and the poetic installations of the Cameroonian artist Bili Bidjocka on the stand of Afriart Gallery / l’Agence à Paris.

On top of the galleries that are part of the focus, around ten western galleries have chosen to show the work of their African artists, in particular the Senegalese artist Omar Ba (Galerie Daniel Templon), South African Kendell Geers (ADN Galería), and the artists represented by Magnin-A (Omar Victor Diop, Chéri Samba and Bodys Isek Kingelez...). In total, almost 70 artists will be presented by the participating galleries.

A very complete events programme will accompany our exploration of this continent in a state of artistic effervescence:

A selection of videos entitled Les territoires du corps will be screened at Art Paris Art Fair. These films explore the work of artists for whom the body is both the subject of their questioning and the means of expression of their art. La Colonie is “a new space designed to encourage free and independent thinking” created by the artist Kader Attia. It will host a day of conferences and meetings that will bring together key cultural figures who are committed to the promotion of artists from Africa and members of the African diaspora.

The VIP programme Springtime in Paris invites professionals and guest collectors to make the most of an ‘African spring’ in the museums of Paris. As part of its festival 100% Afriques, La Villette will showcase every aspect of contemporary African creation and put on an exhibition, Afriques Capitales, curated by Simon Njami. In collaboration with Hans Lemmen, an exhibition at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature will feature South African artist Roger Ballen, whereas the Musée du quai Branly Jacques-Chirac will be exploring L’Afrique des routes. The Musée Dapper has lent its walls to the Senegalese artist Soly Cissé, whereas the Galerie des Galeries hosts Le jour qui vient, an exhibition curated by Marie-Ann Yemsi, which promises an encounter with a whole new generation of African artists and echoes the fair’s special focus.

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