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Art market

Paris Gallery Weekend is a shot in the arm for city’s under-the-radar gallery scene

The state-backed fifth edition is biggest ever with 44 galleries across five districts

Jungles in Paris, Adrian Ghenie's current show at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris Adrien Ghenie. Courtesy of Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. Photo by Charles Duprat

Paris Gallery Weekend, which launches today (25-27 May), is the boldest bid yet to put the city’s commercial sector on the art world map. Forty-four galleries across Le Marais, Saint Germain, the Champs-Elysées, Belleville and Pantin are taking part this year, with eight newcomers on board.

The weekend, which launched in 2014, is organised by Choices, an association founded by the Parisian gallery owner Marion Papillon. The 2018 edition has private and public backing with support from the French Ministry of Culture, the City of Paris and Lafayette Anticipations, the cultural arm of the Lafayette retail empire.

“The increase in participating galleries shows the need to create different kinds of rendez-vous [events and activities] for experiencing, collecting, and enjoying art within the specific context of the Paris art scene,” Papillon says. Established and emerging collectors are targeted. “For instance, this year we have organised two special visits for beginners themed Become a Collector,” she adds.

Asked if the gallery scene lags behind London and New York, Papillon says: “Despite some clichés, the Parisian scene is a very vibrant one, partly because of the recent or future openings of major private foundations (Fondation Vuitton, François Pinault’s new gallery due to open at La Bourse etc.), partly because of the foreign galleries that have recently established themselves in the city, and partly because numerous artists are creating in Paris.”

The extensive weekend programme encompasses Modern and contemporary artists; Galerie Templon is showing Robert Motherwell’s 1970s Open Series at its Rue Beaubourg space (until 21 July) and new works by the Belgian artist Jan Fabre in its new gallery at Rue du Grenier Saint Lazare (until 21 July).

Anne-Claudie Coric, the executive director of Galerie Templon, says that the weekend highlights the diversity of Paris’ galleries, adding: “I am not sure we'll see many new collectors—we already have a very large base of collectors and visitors all year round—but it is a nice way to reassess the cultural role of the art gallery. We collectively present an amazing offer of shows, free of charge.”

Applicat-Prazan gallery will show works from a private collection of European post-war art, including works by Serge Poliakoff, Pierre Soulages and Jean-Michel Atlan, while the art market darling Adrian Ghenie is showing new works at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in the Marais district (Jungles in Paris, until 16 June). Galerie Jocelyn Wolff in Belleville presents Conic section (1968-2018) by William Anastasi, the first time the site-specific work made of metal rods has been shown since 1970 (until 16 June).