Paris Photo

May  2013

by Susannah Tantemsapya
John Divola
Zuma, 1977-1978
Courtesy of Gallery Luiscotti

For the first-time outside of France, Paris Photo opened its doors at Paramount Pictures Studios from April 26-28. The general consensus is that it was a smashing success. Just the kind of cultural event to further solidify Los Angeles as a major player in the international art world.

It was a magical atmosphere, especially the New York Backlot, which became the central meeting place for 13,500 fair-goers plus guests. Primarily used for exterior shots, the interiors of the buildings were built out to house 12 publishers/booksellers and a few of the 60 international galleries participating. This unusual outdoor space gave a sun-kissed interlude between three soundstages, thus creating a spacious expanse to view the art on display.

The fair featured more than 1,000 artists working in photographic media including “Sound and Vision,” a program curated by Douglas Fogle dedicated to expanding the medium to the moving image. Experimental short films were screened, such as Chris Marker’s influential La Jetée (1962) and Bruce Conner’s Breakaway (1966), featuring 23-year-old Toni Basil dancing through the flickering cuts of the camera.

The French Embassy held an opening reception to honor Ceci n’est pas…, an ever-burgeoning exchange between artists in France and Los Angeles. As the champagne flowed throughout that evening, one could float between Paris, New York, and Los Angeles in this quintessential Hollywood setting. The preview also had neighboring fêtes with Armani, BMW, and the Wall Street Journal.

There was so much to see and experience at Paris Photo - here are some highlights:

Brachfeld Gallery exhibited the colorful and endearing work of David Armstrong, who documented his youth through various friends and lovers in the late 1970s and early 80s.

David Armstrong
Night & Day
Courtesy of Brachfeld Gallery

David Armstrong
Night & Day
Courtesy of Brachfeld Gallery

Matthew Brandt’s solo show at M+B has an exciting Night Sky series where the artist sprinkles cocaine on black velvet to create his version of a starry night.

Matthew Brandt
Night Sky NGC 3603, 2013
cocaine on photographer’s velvet*
73 x 46 inches
© Matthew Brandt, Courtesy M+B Gallery, Los Angeles

Gábor Ősz has a series of moving image works at Galerie Loevenbruck including From Pigment to Light, which investigates how color pigments transpose into light and also Blow-Up, a work inspired by the original park scene of Michelangelo Antonioni’s film by the same title.

Gábor Ösz
From Pigment to Light, 2009
Color and black-and-white single channel HD projection 1080x1980, soundDuration: 5'02''  |  Edition of 3
Courtesy of galerie Loevenbruck, Paris

Flatland presented Looking For Alfred by Johan Grimonprez, a short film that explores the idea of false identities with a loose riff on Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Sally Mann pays homage to early Civil War photography in Battlefields at Galerie Karsten Greve. These large format landscapes were created from the antique wet collodion technique that was developed in the 1850s.

Sally Mann 
Untitled (Antietam #23)
Gelatin silver enlargement print Printed by the photographer from the original wet-plate collodion negative. Archivally dry-mounted and finished with custom mixed Soluvar varnish Ed. 1/5 Courtesy Galerie Karsten Greve St. Moritz, Cologne, Paris

Several people throughout the weekend exclaimed that this could be the best art fair they have ever been to. It seems that Paris Photo Los Angeles 2014 is already in the works.

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