In the Western world, relatively little is understood about the recent boom in visual arts from one of the world’s burgeoning regions: Southeast Asia. Yet the visual brilliance and critical purpose of this region’s contemporary art is undeniable. Distinct from the long entwined European/East Asian art scene, Southeast Asian art possesses a powerful, autonomous and multi-faceted voice, expressing the heterogenous nature of this region. Today, the area is one of the most linguistically, politically, and religiously diverse zones in the world—and its art reflects that.

This year’s edition of Art Paris Art Fair brings together 145 galleries from some 20 countries at the Grand Palais. The fair focusses on discovery and presents a wide panorama of modern and contemporary art, including a healthy showing of photography and lens-based media. Since 2012, under the leadership of Guillaume Piens, the fair has undergone a profound renewal. In the past three years, some 50% of the exhibiting galleries have been newcomers and institutions based outside of France.

The bywords for the fair this year are “discovery” and “exploration.” Some countries will be represented for the first time, such as Morocco, Romania, Turkey and Singapore and such off the beaten track cities as Casablanca, Bucharest and Busan.

With a strong international focus, the fair has positioned itself as a pioneer in the exploration of regions of the world whose artistic creation is seldom, if ever, shown in France. This year’s focus on Southeast Asia is being directed by Iola Lenzi, a curator, researcher and Southeast Asia specialist. Eight Singapore-based galleries will demonstrate the diversity of talent from Cambodia, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand. A program of talks and video screenings will complement this presentation of what is a little known but booming art scene.

Other highlights of the festival include 35 solo shows as well as an intriguing Promises” section, in which 12 galleries that are under five years old will be taking part in the fair for the first time. Also, an ArtDesign section explores the relationship between design and contemporary art. Finally, each night, visitors will be treated with a projection of video works on the façade of the Grand Palais for the duration of the fair!

Whether you are only on the look-out for photography or a lover of contemporary art in general, this seems like an excellent opportunity to broaden your knowledge of what’s making moves in the art marketplace. Enjoy our extensive slideshow and don’t miss out on the show!

—LensCulture


Editors’ Note: The Art Paris Art Fair will run from March 26-March 29, 2015 at the Grand Palais in the heart of Paris. For more information, be sure to visit the Fair’s website.

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