• Zoltan Alexander

nº32 / PARISPHOTO 2018

ParisPhoto, the biggest photo fair in Europe held each November at the Grand Palais, returns with its 22nd edition.


There are images not everyone would like to see

Martha Kirszenbaum



Interviews and featured galleries, artists by Zoltan Alexander

JR at Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris), Kensuke Koike, Thomas Sauvin, Emilia Genuardi of Approche (Paris), Edouard Taufenbach at ParisPhoto Curiosa and Binom Gallery (Paris), Simon Lehner (Vienna), Daniel Szalai (Budapest) at ParisPhoto Carte Blanche, Marie-Charlotte Wambergue of Maison Ruinart (Paris), Deborah Oropallo, Stephanie Syjuco, Edgar Martins and Catharine Clark of Catharine Clark Gallery (San Francisco), Richard Learoyd at Pace/MacGill Gallery (New York), Dmitry Markov at Galerie du Jour/Agnes B (Paris), Ayana V Jackson at Baudoin Lebon Gallery (Paris), Grey Crawford at Taik Persons Gallery (Berlin), Tahmineh Monzavi at Silk Road Gallery (Tehran), Nathalie Boutté at Yossi Milo Gallery (New York), Delphine Diallo at Fish Eye Gallery (Paris), Daido Moriyama at Akio Nagasawa Gallery (Tokyo), Annegret Soltau at Anita Beckers Gallery (Frankfurt), Bruce Davidson at Howard Greenberg Gallery (New York), Erwin Olaf at Galerie Magda Danysz (Paris), Richard Avedon at Gagosian Gallery (London)


ParisPhoto 2018 at the Grand Palais / © video by Zoltan Alexander ZOLTAN+MEDIA

ParisPhoto, the biggest photo fair in Europe held each November at the Grand Palais, returned with its 22nd edition, attracting nearly 70.000 visitors in four days and gathering more than 200 exhibitors from all around the world, offering an unparalleled presentation of contemporary and vintage photography from grandmasters to emerging young talents.

ParisPhoto is much more than just an art fair. It's an emotional journey.

Throughout the city, many satellite exhibition openings, book signings and art events seduced the visitors. ParisPhoto is also a melting pot, a unique gathering of friends and professionals meeting up and getting skin close to artists.

At Pace/MacGill Gallery I encountered Paolo Roversi during his book signing, at Frank Elbaz Gallery the artist Ari Marcopoulos and viewed his exhibition with co-host Thibaut Wychowanok of Numéro Art, and at Polka Gallery I had a passionate conversation with writer and former film critic of Libération, Gérard Lefort during the "Inside Outside" exhibition and book signing of New York-based photographer Joel Meyerowitz.

Other evenings have taken me to Sotheby's, Jeu de Paume and fringe events at Offprint, Photo Saint Germain and Approche.

Polka Gallery / “Paris” by Joel Meyerowitz / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA

When ParisPhoto is more than just an art fair. It is POLITICAL.

I am sure it was not deliberate that 11.11, the centenary of the Armistice of World War I happened at the same time as ParisPhoto. While the Grammy Award-winning Beninese actress, activist Angelique Kidjo sang the heartbreaking Togolese song “Blewu” to the world leaders who gathered to mark the event at L’Arc de Triomphe, ParisPhoto echoed a very simple question: “Shouldn’t we be living differently by now?”

People make signs. The art world makes signs (see the latest action of Gavin Turk in London), but the voices are still not heard in many governments, in many countries. You know exactly the ones I mean. Peace has definitely not impregnated our lives. Nationalism is a betrayal. Gun violence is not OK. Global environmental issues and climate changes are running into a disaster. Wars, violence, anti-Semitism, women’s rights, black rights, famine, food waste or the dysfunctional Brexit … indeed how many times do we have to blow the whistle to get some attention?!?

During my stay I looked for the answers and interviewed the most significant artists and galleries of this year's edition of ParisPhoto.

Maison Européenne de la Photographie / Video installation of “Momentum” and cover of TIME magazine by JR / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA


The “In Paris during ParisPhoto" programme reunited a dense network of cultural institutions, museums and private foundations throughout the city comprising some of the world's most historically rich photographic collections. At the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, artist JR opened his monumental photographic exhibition “Momentum”. During the press opening, he was hiding behind his dark glasses and hat inside a wooden niche installation answering the press through a pipe.

Momentum” is JR's first major exhibition on French institution territory bringing large-scale collages, video, live performance and several new installations together. In one of the rooms, he glued the eyes of a woman on a running train. He also made the pyramid of the Louvre disappear, stuck thousands of anonymous people's portraits in public spaces and on the walls of a favela in Rio de Janeiro, he made a little Mexican child looked over the border wall of the United States, and sometimes he wildly motorcycles with French film director icon Agnès Varda. With Massimo Bottura he recently launched an haute cuisine soup-kitchen in the crypt of La Madeleine church in Paris. The list is endless.

12 years after his exhibition “Portrait of a Generation” JR’s latest exhibition at the MEP gathers his projects from graffiti, collages to his illegally displayed giant, black & white portraits, made with a 28mm lens, giving voice to anonymous people. "Momentum”, the mechanics of the event, also unveils an interactive fresco exploring the impossible and devastating gun control in the US. Throughout hundreds of tiny video images, JR created a giant wall of individual video-portraits, used also for the triple-page cover of TIME magazine.

Accroche / “No More, No Less” by Kensuke Koike & Thomas Sauvin / Photo © Courtesy of Accroche Production

A PPR OC HE / Paris

Near Palais Royal, in a private mansion on rue de Richelieu, co-founder Emilia Genuardi and Elsa Janssen welcomed visitors with the second edition of A PPR OC HE, a salon devoted to experimental photography practices, the desire to bring artists from visual arts and photography together who do not use traditional photographic media.

First, they have fallen in love with the works, the artists, the personalities, then asked the galleries for a participation to end up with a strongly curated project. Each artist had a metaphorical room, intimate and private, as opposed to impersonal, commercial fairs. They gathered 15 artists represented by 12 international galleries including the A PPR OC HE sector, highlighting Kensuke Koike and Thomas Sauvin.

Thomas Sauvin from Paris and Beijing and Kensuke Koike, based in Venice, presented a breathtakingly beautiful series of silver prints “No More, No Less” combining collage and found photography made from original negatives.

The resulting prints were subjected to the sharp imagination of Koike who used only a blade and adhesive tape to deconstruct and reinvent the images. This purely manual intervention had one strict rule: nothing to be removed; nothing to be added, simply “No more, no less”.

It was a perfect collaboration between the two; Sauvin who is both artist and collector, owning more than half a million negatives collected and grouped together under the title “Beijing Silvermine”, and Japanese artist Kensuke Koike who is renowned for his collages. After having bought vintage photos in an antique shop in Milan, Koike now owns more than 20,000 photos and postcards that he cuts, using scissors, scalpels and pasta machines, transforming them into magical dreams.

Pernod Ricard / Visitors at Kourtney Roy installation / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA


It has taken 22 years, ParisPhoto is finally back celebrating women photographers. The Fair’s director Florence Bourgeois and artistic director Christoph Wiesner insisted that this year, galleries should highlight their female artists more than ever before.

The project Elle x ParisPhoto was headed by Fannie Escoulen and supported by the French Ministère de la Culture. Brigitte Macron, France's First Lady and Franck Riester, the French Minister of Culture showed great interest during their visit.

ParisPhoto is an art fair embracing many different sectors and subjects. In the aisles of the main and largest section, galleries, beyond gender issues, landscapes, still lives, fashion and abstract works, were showcasing rare and historic work, solo and group shows, focusing on cutting-edge photographers working with image-based art and more and more on work by female photographers.

On the first floor, the prestigious Salon d’Honneur housed private collections including the McEvoy Family Collection and the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, also PRISMS, showcasing large-format series and installations exploring the diverse forms of photography.

The Book section, brought publishers, book dealers and several hundred book-signing events together, also some special book presentations under the arches including Steidl and Louis Vuitton Edition.

The Film sector, in the MK2 Grand Palais cinema, highlighted the relationship between still and moving image selected by Pascale Cassagnau of Centre National des Arts Plastiques CNAP and Matthieu Orléan of Cinémathèque Française.

The Public Programme’s core aspect provided visitors with insights to the waste world of art. The programmes included exhibitions with the Fair’s official partners BMW and JP Morgan, the Platform cycle of talks with curators and artists, the ParisPhoto Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards, the Carte Blanche Students section and many special events exploring emerging trends.

The new section Curiosa, exclusively devoted to erotic photography, fetishism, relations of power, domination and gender issues from hardcore shots to Japanese bondage, brought intimate images together by 14 artists including Nobuyoshi Araki, JoAnn Callis, Antoine d'Agata and Edouard Taufenbach, curated by independent curator and writer Martha Kirszenbaum,

"The Japanese invented bondage." says Kirszenbaum, "They took the ropes from passing ships. At Curiosa, there are images not everyone would like to see."

Galerie Binome and Curiosa / “Spéculaire” by Edouard Taufenbach / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA


Edouard Taufenbach’s stunning, erotic photographs “Spéculaire” were presented by Galerie Binome at the gallery's main stand and also at Curiosa.

ET “I became fascinated with editing while studying cinema at the Sorbonne, however, after graduation, I did not choose to direct. I used to edit videos then turned to photography, collage, using anonymous family photographs found at various places. For my current series, I collaborated with French film director Sébastien Lifshitz of “Les Invisibles”, winner of César 2013, who had already a great collection of personal and intimate photos and was intrigued by homo-erotic and gender issues.”

ET “We looked through hundreds of images without knowing from where they were coming from. The original images were very suggestive, sometimes hard-core, erotic, but the way I have reassembled them made them indirect. These artworks often question the boundaries of memory and fiction. I injected cinema, time and rhythm into my images.

In “Spéculaire” Taufenbach pushed his photographic work into fluid memories, with a slight reference to Pierre Molinier, in-between a moving image and still photography cutting the photos into small pieces and meticulously reassembling them. When I look at his images it is like looking at an entire movie in a single frame. "In fact" - he adds - "all my life is about cutting and collaging”.

Carte Blanche / "How far is a light year?" by Simon Lehner / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA


ParisPhoto, Picto Foundation and SNCF Gares & Connexions partnered to launch a platform for the discovery and exposure of outstanding young talents.

For the second executive year, Carte Blanche presented four students, currently enrolled in photography and visual arts at various European master and bachelor university programmes and displayed their work simultaneously at the Grand Palais and the Gare du Nord railway station.

This year’s winners were: Daniel Szalai (Budapest), Kata Geibl (Budapest), Dara Minina (Paris) and Simon Carlier Lehner (Vienna). In addition, their images were projected and celebrated at the newly reopened and redesigned, ultra-chic Les Bains.


22-year-old Lecher from Vienna was not only one of the finalists of Carte Blanche but also the winner of the Maison Ruinart Award 2018. Following his hunters and war zone series, he presented his therapeutic project "How far is a light year?" based on his family, since his father left them in 2005. In this series, he wanted to recreate the ideal father figure, the way he always wanted to imagine his father. The images are based on tension, jealousy, and a summer holiday he spent with him. Lehner mixed his archive family pictures with computer-generated images of his imaginary farther to explore the life of an Ai artist.

His calm and painful images were rewarded by the Maison Ruinart Prize.

"We are already present at Frieze London, ParisPhoto and many international art fairs and art events.” – states Marie-Charlotte Wambergue of Ruinart during my interview. “We have been for some time thinking to give a philanthropic voice to the young generation and we are very proud to participate with Carte Blanche for the first time.”

Carte Blanche / “Novogen-Injection” by Daniel Szalai / Photo © Courtesy of Daniel Szalai


Another finalist from Budapest, Daniel Szalai, presented a first very humorous series of chicken heads, 168 portraits of individual portraits of chicken, turned out to be a very disturbing and serious project.

His series “Novogen” documented the insight production of the industrialized chicken farming and the egg industry to produce a special breed of chicken, free of all diseases, kept under strictly controlled sterile conditions whose eggs are used in the production of pharmaceutical products, medicines and vaccines. These entirely man-manipulated creatures are the product and the development of biochemistry and of agricultural technology.

The company in Hungary, which gave the artist the permission to take his pictures, specializes in the large-scale production of eggs for the vaccine industry and is the largest producer in the whole of Europe, with the production of 120,000 embryo eggs per week. The pragmatic way we think about these creatures reflects a general attitude towards our environment and it resonates in our relationship to nature.

DSZ “Although that technology is now an inseparable part of us, and these chickens are kept in reasonably good conditions, it is somewhat shocking and disturbing to see the industrialized life of Novogen chickens, knowing that their only task is to produce the final product, the eggs before their lives get terminated.”

Catharine Clark Gallery / “Video frame: Oil and Water” by Deborah Oropallo / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA


During ParisPhoto, while many photographers chose traditional flat prints, others departed to find new forms of expression, incorporating techniques such as cutting, painting, weaving, layering, montaging, sculpturing.

Having spent 28 years in contemporary art, Catharine Clark Gallery from San Francisco returned for the third executive year to ParisPhoto with new works by Deborah Oropallo, Edgar Martins and Stephanie Syjuco. The gallery is well-known for its refined editing and installations. Founder Catharine Clark with gallery art director Anton Stuebner created a perfect conversation between the exhibited artists and their works.

I toured around their booth with San Franciscan collector and founder of the Minnesota Street Project, Deborah Rappaport.

DR “What jumps out first is the cohesive and beautifully edited booth with great continuity and carefully selected artists, who were visibly largely driven by issues such as social justice, environment and politics.”

Catharine Clark joins in and walks us to Deborah Oropallo’s wall.

CC “She mostly thinks of herself and her process as a painter, but in this case, Oropallo created some extraordinary multi-faceted montages and a video installation. Even the content is a montage, throughout extraction and shifting images found on the Internet with particular news items on ecology, flooding, refugee crises and other major issues. Her series reflects on our cultural habituation to political and ecological traumas.”

CC “Here, for instance, in “Video Frame: Deluge” she did not want to just look at one particular flooding, she found many images of water from Bangladesh to Texas, relevant to global events, to global problems. On other photographs, she worked with images of oil spills, wildfire, melting ice and took them further than just creating a traumatic image. Deborah believes in “Slow Art” as we consume and dismiss important images so rapidly.”

Catharine Clark Gallery put the emphasis on the ethical responsibility of photographs at the intersection of their other two artists, Stephanie Syjuco and Edgar Martins. There was a strong, visual conversation between the two; the haunting image of Syjuco “Total Transparency Filter (Portrait of N)