Edited by Jenna E. Garrett.
This year, Paris Photo will gather 128 galleries from 22 different countries under the roof of the beautiful Grand Palais in November. POSI+TIVE was fortunate enough to ask London-based Brancolini Grimaldi about the excitement and preparation of being an exhibiting gallery.
Tell us a little bit about your preparation for Paris Photo. How early do you begin to organize and arrange?
We begin to think about Paris several months in advance, normally during the summer when things are a quieter at the gallery. We think about what we showed at last year’s fair (it’s good to make changes from year to year), exhibitions we have recently had in the gallery, exhibitions we’ve got coming up next year and anyone new we might be excited about showing for the first time. It’s good to have an element of surprise to our stand so people feel they are seeing something different each year.
How is the curation for an art fair like Paris Photo different from an exhibition in your gallery in London? What are the things you must consider?
We mainly give artists solo exhibitions at the gallery, so the main consideration is how all the work by different artists is going to work together. We want there to be some dialogue in the between the work – it’s important it works visually, but also that there is synergy between the artists and the ideas they are exploring in their work.
Do the artists you represent generally attend the event with you? What added benefit is there from having the artist present with the works on display?
We encourage our artists to come to the fair. When press, curators or collectors are looking at work, it can be useful to have the artist on hand to explain it and to engage them. Furthermore, the general public who come to Paris Photo enjoy meeting them and hearing about their work first hand.
What unique qualities does Brancolini Grimaldi bring to Paris Photo?
We represent artists using photography in innovative and experimental ways and who loosen the medium from some of the traditional and conventional boundaries. There is often a conceptual context to their practice. Through the artists we represent, we aim to redefine the way photography is presented and perceived. The fair has its roots in vintage photography, and while this is always going to be integral to it, but we believe that the contemporary sector should actively evolve year on year. This is our ninth edition so we are always trying to keep our stand looking fresh.
Who are the artists you look most forward to showing and why? Any exciting new work this year?
We are showing new work by Massimo Vitali and Clare Strand and large-scale museum quality installations by Dan Holdsworth and Marie Amar. We have just started to represent Miles Aldridge and will be launching a new limited portfolio of his work, Carousel at the fair. It features 32 images that encapsulate Aldridge’s twin obsessions – women and colour. We will also be introducing special editions of two books from our new imprint, Steidl BG, one by Dan Holdsworth and one by Peter Fraser.
What other artists or exhibitions at Paris Photo are you looking forward to?
We always love to coming to Paris during le mois de la photo. There is such a rich programme amongst the major public galleries, and the auctions can also be exciting. We look forward to seeing the exhibition Body Language from the Fofomuseum Winterthur at the Centre Culturel Suisse.
What can you say about contemporary trends in photography right now? What do galleries find fresh and interesting?
Five years ago everyone was very dismissive of post-production techniques like Photoshop and suspicious of digital manipulation. Now with shows such as After Photoshop, Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age currently at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, artists have seized upon these new tools and there is no question as to their artistic validity. We also enjoyed the recent exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, Out of Focus, which showed the huge diversity within photographic practice at the moment and the fluidity between visual languages.
Since early 2000, Brancolini Grimaldi has been a ground breaking pioneer in contemporary fine art photography and video. Their most current exhibition, There’s Something Happening Here, curated by James Reid and Tom Watt, is showing in London until the 10th of November.
A full list of Paris Photo’s 2012 exhibiting galleries can be found here.
© Massimo Vitali, Mondello Paddle Boats, 2007, Brancolini Grimaldi
© Miles Aldridge, The Rooms #2, Courtesy Brancolini Grimaldi
© Miles Aldridge, Chromo Thriller #3, Courtesy Brancolini Grimaldi