Art market Magazine February 2017

 
TRENDS 
 
Africa in the crosshairs 
fter Russia,…
TRENDS

Africa in the crosshairs
fter Russia, China and South Korea, Paris Art Fair is turning the spotlight on Africa – the new darling of the market – for its 19th edition. Following
the example of the Armory Show (New York), 1:54 (London) and the AKAA (Paris), the contemporary art fair (30 March-2 April) is focussing on artists and galleries from the continent (around 20 of some 130 guests): a trend echoed in a range of events staged at the same time in the French capital – a kind of unofficial "African season", where France catches up in terms of promoting African artists. A long list includes the multidisciplinary festival "100%" (23 March) with the exhibition "Afriques Capitales" (Capitals Africas) by Simon Njami (former director of the "Rencontres de Bamako" biennial), "Art/Afrique, le nouvel atelier" (Art/Africa, the new workshop) at the Fondation Louis Vuitton (26 April), notably presenting the collection of Simca heir Jean Pigozzi, and in a more historical vein, "Primitive Picasso" at the quai Branly, which highlights the influence of non-Western art on the Spanish master. Meanwhile the spotlight will be on the young scene at the Galerie des Galeries with the exhibition "Le jour qui vient" (The coming day) (28 March), devised with guidance from

a

Marie-Ann Yemsi, the guest curator of the Art Paris fair. She wants to unveil a generation of artists totally unknown in France, and encourage a more open attitude. There is no intention to escalate "tense identity situations" by creating "ghetto events". This is why, at Art Paris, the galleries in focus (a deliberate mix from both Europe and Africa) have been able to choose their sector rather than being grouped together in a single platform. A symbolic decision, maybe, but one marking a desire to integrate African artists and thus avoid having to devote separate events to them in the long run, with the possible stigmatisation that goes with it. The most recent Venice Biennale (2015), directed by Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor, confirmed this more open policy. In this respect, France still has a way to go compared with its European counterparts. "For instance, I didn't see a single French journalist at the opening of Simon Njami's remarkable exhibition "The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory revisited by Contemporary African Artists" at Frankfurt's Museum für Moderne Kunst in 2014," says MarieAnn Yemsi. Likewise with the Bamako Biennial, where the number of representatives from France was the bare minimum…

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Mohau Modisakeng (born 1986), "Untitled (Metamorphosis 6)", 2015. Ink-jet print on Hot Press Natural, 120 x 120 cm, edition of 5 + 2 AP.

Courtesy of Mohau Modisakeng
and WHATIFTHEWORLD

Art Market Magazine February 2017
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