Photographers, NFTs, Rossy de Palma’s favorites… Paris Photo celebrates its 25th anniversary

To celebrate its quarter century, the fair takes up residence in the ephemeral Grand Palais. Meeting with its director, Florence Bourgeois.

Paris photo? The first international fair dedicated to the photographic medium. Since 1997 he has been working to develop and support creation and from 10 to 13 November invites the actress Rossy de Palma as guest of honor. Florence Bourgeois describes the program in detail.

Miss Figaro.– Why did you choose Rossy de Palma as the guest of honor?
Bourgeois Florence. – The multidisciplinary nature of his career interested us. She is an actress, singer, model, she has been on tour with many directors, Pedro Almodóvar in the lead. She is a fashion icon, she has inspired many photographers such as Alberto García-Alix, Pierre & Gilles, Richard Avedon, Roxanne Lowit or Gorka Postigo.

What about the Gorka Postigo poster with Rossy de Palma and a parrot, nose and beak in profile?
We were seduced by this very cinematic image, whose vivacity matches the actress’s flamboyant personality. The portrait, produced in 2018 for the Spanish edition of rowing, plays with fantasy, beauty, art history and a touch of the absurd. For the 25th anniversary of Paris Photo, Rossy has chosen 25 works by Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, Brassaï, Mircea Cantor, Agnès Varda… Visitors will be able to discover her favorites and her aesthetic in the gallery stands. She herself wrote a little poem to present her choice. “The eye is a camera / The photo a screen / The camera, a shield / A weapon to testify the truth, to reveal it, sublimate it, deform it / A poetic gaze / A frozen emotion / A gift for memory / An excuse to capture the ephemeral / Life and death in an instant / Misery and Beauty / Shadow and Light.

Florence Bourgeois, director of the Paris Photo international fair. photographic print

The highlights of Paris Photo’s 25th anniversary?
For twenty-five years the fair has been working for the entire ecosystem, exhibitors, curators, collectors, amateurs … It is a platform for discovery and exchange. The transition from the Carrousel du Louvre to the Grand Palais, which gave it greater stature, was an important step. More space made it possible to integrate more exhibitors but also a program of conversations. We will have talks on photographic performance, on artificial intelligence, on the metaverse, on NFTs … Publishers have also taken their place. We have 34 this year. Thanks to them, we can offer 300 artists’ signatures. This allows visitors, who are not all collectors and not all have the budget to buy a shot, to leave with a book signed by a photographer.

For twenty-five years the fair has been working for the entire ecosystem, exhibitors, curators, collectors, amateurs …

Bourgeois Florence

And the transition from the Grand Palais to the ephemeral Grand Palais?
The architecture, with its two rooms, works very well. It is as if there were two atmospheres. Create excitement. On the one hand the main sector and traditional galleries, on the other the Curiosa sector, curated by Holly Roussell, dedicated to emerging galleries, conversations, partner exhibitions. JPMorgan presents a selection of its collection A different lens reflects sixty years of photographic work, with a focus on female artists. BMW Art Makers Gifts Suburban hangout by Arash Hanaei and Morad Montazami, who among still images, video, 3D design, explores complex spaces such as the metaverse.

How many galleries in all?
We have 134 galleries from 29 countries with 18 new entries. There will be 38 solo and duo exhibitions, from Marina Abramović to Orlan. The Curiosa sector brings together 16 galleries from 9 countries with 11 new participations. We present a panorama of photography over two centuries, from its birth to the avant-garde. It is important to point out that two thirds of our exhibitors are foreigners. Local scenes are represented, South America and Central America, Eastern Europe … There are also two Turkish galleries, an Iranian gallery, a Lebanese gallery …

We present a panorama of photography over two centuries, from its birth to the avant-garde

Bourgeois Florence

Since 2018 you have started Elles × Paris Photo. And this year?
We continue our commitment to women photographers with this program which has, in particular, the support of Women in Motion, the Kering initiative, and promotes the visibility of female artists and their contribution to the history of photography. This 5And the edition was entrusted to Federica Chiocchetti, writer, curator, editor and new director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Le Locle, Switzerland. For this trip you have chosen unpublished artists.

The selection is so varied, both historically and geographically. They range from a cyanotype of a land pine by the American Bertha E. Jacques (1863-1941) to the Italian-American activist Tina Modotti (1896-1942), who in the 1920s founded a photographic studio in the bohemian scene of Città del Mexico, to The German radical artist Gabriele Stötzer, who produced works to question the role of women in East Germany. There are also more recent works by the South African artist Zanele Muholi. Federica has decided to extend this course to the book sector as well. Because it seems easier for a woman to publish a book than to be represented by a gallery.

There is still some work to be done in the photography market …
Seventy-seven artists were selected. There are also historical photographers, such as Imogen Cunningham or Berenice Abbott.

How do you support young talents?
Through a white card. Paris Photo, the Picto Foundation and the SNCF join forces to develop a platform of discovery, visibility, exchanges and meetings aimed at masters or university students of the European schools of photography and visual arts. The projects of the four winners (Alessandra Leta, Jérémie Danon, Philip Tsetinis and Sumi Anjuman), chosen from among a hundred schools, will be exhibited at the Gare de Lyon until 30 November. Their portfolios will be presented at Paris Photo. It is not uncommon to find them the following year on the image tracks of a gallery. It is in the DNA of Paris Photo to show historical and contemporary photography up to the point of emergence.
Paris Photo, from 10 to 13 November, at the ephemeral Grand Palais in Paris.

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