Shayne Dark’s sculptures, Critical Mass welcome the audience at the entrance of the fair.
PAPIER offers a refreshing aspect to the widening proliferation of art fairs by featuring works exclusively produced on paper, from drawings to prints as well as photography. This year the PAPIER fair hosted its fifth edition on 13–15 April, setting up its showroom tent at the heart of Montreal’s cultural quarter to accommodate 38 exhibitors from Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax. Many of these were already members of AGAC (Contemporary Art Galleries Association), which organized the event. Although PAPIER started as an internally guarded affair, servicing only a small circle of local galleries, its reputation has been progressively expanding. From last year, some of the best Toronto galleries such as Birch Libralato and Susan Hobbs also joined in. In this edition over 400 emerging to established artists were represented, to attract more than 10,000 visitors with a total sale of approximately CA$700,000. The slightly higher income over last year included purchases from returning corporate collectors such as Loto-Quebec, Hydro-Quebec, Cirque du Soleil and so on.
View from the PAPIER 12
Undoubtedly artworks on paper stand as the most consumer-friendly products on the market and a good number of art lovers kick off their collections by buying into this format. Some of the most renowned collectors –such as Herb and Dorothy Vogel– started out with works on paper. Similarly to other M-KOS articles featuring SéminArts and Jean-Francois Bélisle (Arsenal director), AGAC expresses with this fair a strong sense of commitment to stimulate Montreal’s art market. PAPIER is clearly positioning itself as one of the key efforts towards a buoyant local art economy, when offering guided educational tours within the fair, as step-by-step advice in art-collecting (the tours are themed in three parts: The Feminine Eye, The Eagle’s Eye and The Passionated Eye).
The work by Gwenaël Bélanger (middle) at Galerie Graff.
However, Papier has been facing its biggest financial challenge this year, with one of the main sponsors (worth about CA$50,000) having withdrawn. Perhaps this will come as a reality check for the fair, and hint to new perspectives on a sustainable structure for the future, perhaps pushing it to host more international galleries. Next year PAPIER is already planning to hold a bigger marquee in the Quartier des Spectacles, to include ten more galleries than the 2012 edition. Some invitations to New York galleries are already in the planning. Ambitious? Why not? If this happens, PAPIER would enable much more incentive to Canada’s still marginal art market. Let’s wait and see. In the meantime, here are some M-KOS snapshots from this year’s PAPIER art fair.
Works by Guido Molinari at Galerie Valentine
John Massey, Bubble, 2009 at Georgia Scherman Projects
Parisian Laundry had a solo presentation of works by Toronto based artist Jaime Angelopoulos
Works by Jana Sterbak at Laroche/Joncas
Works by Micah Lexier at Birch Libralato Gallery
Paul de Guzman, Proposed Layout for R.S. (Robert Smithson), 2005 at Birch Libralato Gallery
Works by Caroline Boileau at Espace Robert Poulin
Scott Lyall, The Canon Copiers, 2003 at Susan Hobbs Gallery
Works by Eric Cardinal (right) and Catherine Bolduc (left) at Galerie SAS
Adad Hannah and Denys Arcand, Safari, 2011 at Pierre–Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
Patrick Mikhail Gallery‘s booth
See you next year! À la prochaine !
All the photo by M-KOS.
Images courtesy of the the relevant galleries and artists.