While there are plenty of well run art fairs in New York every year to keep us locals happy, Paris Photo has cemented its place as the singular standout event on the art calendar for photography collectors. Held in the expansive vaulted space of the Grand Palais, it brings together a wider selection of galleries than the AIPAD show and smartly crosses into the world of photobooks with booths from publishers and rare book dealers alike. If “more” is what you’re after, than Paris Photo is like drinking from a firehose.
The idea that an art fair can be “reviewed” like any other museum or gallery show is more than a stretch of normal definitional boundaries. While each booth is undeniably carefully curated, trying to come to some larger, overarching conclusion about what is on view in aggregate is next to impossible; it’s a little like trying to review the contents of the stores at your local shopping mall. Each of us will be drawn to different works, and so a “review” of a fair like Paris Photo is really more like a guided tour than a critical assessment.
My approach to the fair has been to give each booth the undivided attention it deserves, and after seeing what is on offer, to select one or two images that are of particular interest, ranging from the fresh and new to the unexpected and unknown. My goal has been to choose works that fall outside the realm of the usual suspects, and I have generally avoided selecting prints that have recently been on view in New York gallery shows or that we have already reviewed in another context.
The report is divided into five slideshows of image highlights, roughly organized by physical location in the Grand Palais; this first report chronicles the booths found at the far left of the fair (assuming you are standing at the entrance) and each subsequent report (over the next few days) will tackle a chunk of territory. Gallery names/links are followed by notes on the work featured, including the artist/photographer name, the price of the work (typically in euros or dollars), and some additional notes and comments.
So let’s get started:
Kuckei +Kuckei (here): This is a new work by Barbara Probst, catching the synchronicity of a falling apple from three directions. Priced at €28000.
Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska (here): An image from Josef Hoflehner’s series of imposing airplanes over St. Martin beaches. Priced at €7000.
Galerie Michèle Chomette (no website): The dense interlocked patterns in Pierre Jahan’s 1930s Eiffel Tower study are an upending marvel. Priced at €10000.
Feldbusch Wiesner (here): Sarah Schönfeld’s scientific abstractions, mixing photo emulsions and drugs. The blue cloud of Methylon, priced at €12500.
Ben Brown Fine Arts (here): Another from Muniz’ recent series of Pictures of Magazines. Plenty of monkey faces and rebus-like allusions buried in all the scraps. Priced at $30000.
Ilan Engel Gallery (here): A solo booth of Stephan Crasneanscki’s tree trunks. This smaller image is priced at €1500.
Danziger Gallery (here): A Lee Friedlander self portrait, casting his shadow directly across the nude in the bright square of light. Priced at $11000.
Galerie Gilles Peyroulet & Cie (here): A surreal macrophotograph of the head of a shrimp by Eli Lotar and Jean Painlevé. Priced at €20000.
Galerie Magda Danysz (here): The dusty eccentricity of Burning Man, decorated with a mobile of table lamps. Peikwen Cheng, priced at €1500.
Galerie Johannes Faber (here): Plenty of tempting works in this booth, from Edward Weston nudes to Heinrich Kuhn florals. The Otto Steinert industrials were the most surprising, with this multiple exposure of the Grand Palais collapsing into layers of overlapped geometries. Priced at €16000.
Tasveer Gallery (here): A tromp l’oeil mixing of painted and real wresters, with arms and head intertwined. Raghu Rai, reasonably priced at €600.
Flowers Gallery (here): The best of Nadav Kander’s large whitewashed nudes take the heighted contrast and use it to accent the subtle nuances of curves and skin surface. Priced at 19000€.
Charim Galerie (here): Extra large prints of Valie Export’s images change their dynamics; the inversion of the drawn garter belt is now enhanced by skin texture and shadow. Priced at €3000.
Galerie du jour agnès b (here): Newer works by J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, where headscarves become intricate origami sculptures. Priced at €3200 each.
Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs (here): Lift the photocopy to see the original Fox Talbot print hiding underneath. An astonishingly delicate fern from 1839. Price on request, and I didn’t ask.
Magnin A (here): While there were plenty of vintage treasures from Keïta, Sidibé, and Ojeikere in this booth, recent works by Daniele Tamangi (and their sense for street fashions) caught my eye. Priced at €2500 each.
Galerie Paris-Beijing (here): While I’m often underwhelmed by panoramic work, I found this monumental composite image of Chen Jiagang’s family wedding banquet to be thoroughly engrossing. Priced at €20000.
Galerie Tanit (here): Memories dissolving into asphalt. Fouad ElKhoury, priced at €6000.
Feroz Galerie (here): The classic August Sander baker, in vintage rarity. POR.
Galeria Vasari (here): This booth held a variety of work from Annemarie Heinrich, including nudes, mirror ball self portraits, and industrials like this upward looking clash of lines. Priced at €12000.
Klaus Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs (here): Always terrific to see a selection of 1920s Albert Renger-Patsch florals; a few of his industrial machines were shown on an adjacent wall. Priced at €2400 each.
Bernheimer (here): An Annie Leibovitz dual portrait of Richard Avedon and his camera. Priced at €15000.
Galerie RX (here): In this Georges Rousse image, the star is actually painted across the room, traversing the edges of the walls and floor to create the illusion. Reminded me of the work of John Pfahl. Priced at €18000.
East Wing (here): Great to see Cristina de Middel’s Afronauts work make it to the fair circuit. Priced at €7000. Philip Toledano was also well represented here.
Galerie Le Réverbère (here): The abstract, all over patterns of scrap metal. François Deladerrière, priced at €1700.
Galerie Obsis (no website): This booth was filled with vintage film stills. I enjoyed the creepy looks and faces in this image from Le Cabinet du Dr. Caligari. Priced at €10000.
Part 2 of this report (covering the area to the middle left, closer to the center) can be found here.
Read more about: Albert Renger-Patzsch, Annemarie Heinrich, Annie Leibovitz, August Sander, Barbara Probst, Chen Jiagang, Cristina de Middel, Daniele Tamagni, Eli Lotar and Jean Painlevé, Fouad ElKoury, François Deladerrière, Georges Rousse, J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, Josef Hoflehner, Lee Friedlander, Nadav Kander, Otto Steinert, Peikwen Cheng, Pierre Jahan, Raghu Rai, Sarah Schönfeld, Stephan Crasneanscki, Valie Export, Vik Muniz, William Henry Fox Talbot, Ben Brown Fine Arts, Bernheimer, Charim Galerie, Danziger Gallery ~ 952 Fifth, East Wing, FeldbuschWiesner, Galerie Julian Sander, Flowers Gallery, Galería Vasari, Galerie du jour agnès b., Galerie Gilles Peyroulet & Cie, Galerie Johannes Faber, Galerie Le Réverbère, Galerie Michèle Chomette, Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Galerie Obsis, Galerie Paris-Beijing, Galerie RX, Galerie Tanit, Gallery Magda Danysz, Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs, Ilan Engel Gallery, Klaus Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs, Kuckei + Kuckei, Magnin A, Tasveer Gallery, Paris Photo