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Art

is one of the most personal purchases known to man. You cannot be right or wrong to feel a connection to a sculpture nor can you be ridiculed for thinking that a splatter of paint upon a canvas is worthy of a place on your wall. The whole subjective nature of art is what makes the industry so entrancing and though widely-debated, hugely aspirational, yet attainable. Emmanuel Perrotin, the contemporary art connoisseur and gallery owner, is not a name that springs to mind when you mention affordable art. However, while the works displayed in his impressive gallery in Hong Kong would put a dent in the majority of bank accounts, what he does have is an appreciation and near unrivalled knowledge of the world of emerging artists. The word “affordable” is also subjective, and one must bear in mind that HK$1,000 may be a pebble in a swimming pool to some or a boulder in a puddle to others. Essentially on a day-to-day level, everyone has the option to walk into a gallery, walk around the room and garner inspiration from the works of others. Unfortunately most galleries are intimidating, but not Gallerie Perrotin. “I insist that the doors to my gallery are always open,” Perrotin says over a cup of coffee in a café located below his enormous gallery overlooking Connaught Road in Central Hong Kong. “I want everyone to have access to the artists on show and it’s not simply a matter of wanting them to purchase a piece. We have books, prints and endless sources of knowledge in our gallery; it is so much more than a viewing deck.” Gallerie Perrotin is a highly recommended starting point for anyone with an urge to expand his or her knowledge of contemporary art. It has a huge diverse portfolio that ranges from young, talented artists to superstars such as Takashi Murakami and the most eclectic range of pieces including chairs created by Pharell Williams and a carpeted pig by Wim Delvoye. Perrotin makes art approachable, something that can be difficult to do. “Galleries get a bad rap and it’s unfair,” Perrotin comments in his distinct heavy French accent. “An art gallery is the only place you can go without an invitation or without paying an entrance fee. If you think about attending the opera, the theatre, a dance performance, or even the cinema, you will realise that there is nearly no other form of art offered to society free of charge. My gallery in Paris has between 350 to 750 visitors per day, and if those statistics are anything to go by, then people must feel welcome.”

Perrotin points out that art also offers benefits to society and affects trends in music and fashion more so than initially imaginable. “Think of one of the great artists like Picasso who created collage and in so doing invented an entirely new form of art. Or house music for example, whose origins began in the 20th Century from the art trends of the time. Nearly everything is affected by art. It inspires industries such as fashion and marketing and it shapes entire cultures.” In short it’s important to society and therefore it’s important for people in society to be exposed to it.” But in order for society to be exposed to more art, it must become attainable, something that the Affordable Art Fair is ensuring. There is something for everyone and the relaxed nature of the Fair will put those who were once scared of oil paintings and sculptures at ease immediately. Perrotin recommends reading extensively, investing in prints due to their affordable nature, and visiting galleries for those who wish to delve into the world of art collection. “I would advise someone unfamiliar with contemporary art to purchase prints,” Perrotin suggests, “Hang them on a wall and leave them there for a length of time. It helps to realise whether the attraction was merely for a fleeting moment or if the factors you were initially drawn to still exist after many years. One thing I would heavily advise against is purchasing art merely to sell it off a few months later. Not only does it not add value or worth to your art collection per se, but it also damages an artist’s reputation.” “Go for a painting, as sculptures usually have high production costs and therefore tend to be more expensive,” Perrotin recommends to those attending the Fair. You also need to connect to a piece of art, otherwise what is the point of buying it!” It would be natural to assume that someone in Perrotin’s position would be pushing for people to purchase the art in his gallery for investment purposes, but in fact the opposite is true. “I do what I do because I love it, I enjoy seeing artists flourish, and it’s what gives me the greatest pleasure of all. A young artist represented by a good gallery is always the best investment because usually the gallery has the interest of the artist at heart. If you simply sell everything to clients who are looking to sell the art quickly at a higher price it won’t benefit you or anyone in the long term.”

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KEE Magazine March 2013  
KEE Magazine March 2013  

KEE Magazine March 2013

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