The Grand Duchy put on the map of art fairs

In 2015, art dealer Alex Reding launched the first edition of the Luxembourg Art Week. At first, around twenty galleries from around the Grand Duchy would participate.

Now, seven years later the fair has significantly grown: 77 exhibitors among which are art market heavyweights:  Galerie Lelong & Co (Paris), Nosbaum Reding (Luxembourg), Ceysson & Bénétière (Luxembourg, New York, Paris, Lyon, Geneva, Saint-Étienne) Galerie Laurentin (Paris, Brussels) Praz-Delavallade (Paris)...


Coming mainly from France, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg, the galleries are split into four sections : Main Section, Take Off (Supported by the ministry for culture, it puts forth young creators and institutions), First Call (for first time international participants) and Focus (focusing on a City's contemporary creation, this year being Brussels).


Dedicated just as much to the primary market as it is to the secondary market, the galleries unanimously voiced their satisfaction after a very popular vernissage.


Ariane C-Y gallery was presenting a panel of its artists (Guillaume Castel, Rosa Maria Unda Souki, William Wright) among which could be found Camille Brès whose work has caught our eye. Born in 1987, the artist who lives and works in Strasbourg joined the team in November of last year. In 2020, Brès participated in the 70th edition of Jeune Création. 


The period of worldwide lockdown has inspired Coloration Maison, reflections on a daily life to which we don't pay much attention. Lockdown led some people to adapt and give DIY a try (making their own hair dyes or doing their waxing themselves). Here, the artist depicts herself applying her hair dye in front of the mirror; in the foreground, we can see her from the back, pushing our gaze to the background where we can see her from the front, focused on the application of her dye. We were conquered by  the careful observation by the artist of a  banal day-to-day life, galvanised by the use of vivid, almost audacious, colours. On the booth just across, at Aedaen Gallery, other Brès works were on display, two gouaches on large paper and two on canvases.


Camille Brès, Coloration maison, 2021, oil on canvas, 75 x 90 cm. Courtesy galerie Ariane C-Y. ©Emilie Vialet.


Guillaume Pinard (born in 1971), displayed on the Anne Barrault booth, gives the spectator strange, eye-catching, paintings. There are many ways to look at these works that convey a strange polymorphic world: bestiary, half human, half animal creatures…


Guillaume Pinard, L’Éclaircie, 2021, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 60 cm. Courtesy Galerie Anne Barrault, Paris. ©image : Aurélien Mole


The artist is currently displayed in Paris for his sixth personal exhibition at the Anne Barrault gallery.


On her booth, Delphine Courtay had chosen to present prints by Damien Deroubaix and Yannick Vey alongside paños, those drawings done on napkins or pieces of cloth by American Chicanos prisoners. Yannick Vey (born in 1972), to whom the gallery will dedicate a personal exhibition in the spring of 2022, was putting on display a collection of lithographies. In 2011, Deroubaix and Vey exhibited together at the Abattoirs in Toulouse, "My journey to the stars" gave the opportunity to the public to discover Yannick Vey's Fist, on display at the fair.


At the Focus section, the DYS gallery (Brussels) was presenting three artists. Etienne Pottier (French, born in 1983) creates majestic glazed ceramic compositions, littered with details of intertwined animals and plants, into which we delightfully dive.


Etienne Pottier, La Fournaise, 2021, 90 x 60 x 20 cm, glazed ceramic and mirror. Courtesy Galerie DYS. 


Emma Larson's (Swedish, born in 1977) works on paper and the erotico-poetic photography montage by Jacques Courtejoie (Belgian, born in 1949) complete the picture. Staying in the Focus section, is the booth of Félix Frachon. We can note a quadriptych by B. Ajay Sharma and the mask-headdresses of Pierre-Louis Graizon, two of which can be seen at the movies in the latest James Bond!


Emma Larsson, The Hunting II, 2021, mixed technique on paper, 46 x 61 cm. Courtesy Galerie DYS. 


Nigerian artist John Madu, born in 1983, was given the choice spot at the Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery booth, that also displays his works in its gallery in Luxembourg until the end of this year. Self-taught, the artist presents a series of characters, including Grace Jones, that evolve in a decor of vivid colours that spread as a flat tint with the solid colours. If he calls upon Van Gogh's universe (we can find here the skies of the Starry Night and the famous Sunflowers), it is to better reinvent a composition where the character is dominant. Just as in Is it safe yet II, on the booth, that depicts a leaning woman with a punk haircut, next to a Kellogg's corn flakes box and reading a book titled So You Have Decided To Become Weird & Isolated, the Van Gogh-esque  sunflowers remind us of the master's solitude. Distorting a Europe-centered History of art, Madu points out that another art History is absent; on the carton of milk on the table is pictured a missing notice for a small Chinese terracotta statue.


John Madu, Is it safe yet II, 2021, acrylic on canvas, 150 x 145 cm. Courtesy John Madu & Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery. 


Modern art galleries were represented by Antoine Laurentin (Évelyne Axel, Gustave Singier and an offer around the theme of reflection with sculptures by Pol Bury and photographs by Lucien Clergue), Jean-Pierre Arnoux with 1950's abstract paintings (Oscar Gauthier, André Lanskoy, Jacques Germain…); Maurice Verbaet and his Belgian abstracts (Jo Delahaut, Francis Olin, Manu VB Tintoré…); Frederic Hessler was presenting a beautiful 1974 Hantai, a 1961 oil on canvas by Claire Falkenstein as well as lithographies by Christo; Eva Meyer dedicated her booth to Man Ray and Picabia while the Galerie etc wanted to rediscover American artist Charles Pollock, Jackson Pollock's brother.


It will be interesting to observe the evolution of the Luxembourg Art Week, a city that positions itself more and more at an ideally situated crossroads between France, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland, countries that are host to powerful networks both established and up-and-coming. Luxembourg has all the means to attract new collectors and art market investment funds, the city has a free port, an international museum, the Mudam, that has just welcomed its new director, Bettina Steinbrügge, that was also the director of Halle für Kunst in Lüneburg and Hamburg's Kunstverein, taking over Suzanne Cotter that has chosen to go back to Australia to lead the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. The Mudam, which has always had an ambitious programming, will present next year a series  of highly anticipated monographic exhibitions : Zoe Leonard, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Tacita Dean and Tarek Atoui.


In a time of post-Brexit, Paris still sees itself as the European capital of Arts, but it's worth to point out that next year it will be the Luxembourgish city of Esch-sur-Alzette that will be named European capital of culture.


A story to follow…



Cover image: Yannick Vey, Tirésias, serie "Les Éthérés”, lithography, 2017, 11/20, 32,5 x 37 cm. Courtesy galerie Delphine Courtay. 


Luxembourg Art Week

12-14 November 2021



Zoe Leonard, “Al Rio/To the River”, 26 February-6 June 2022. 

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, “Fly in League with the Night’, 2 April-5 September 2022. 

Tacita Dean, 9 July 2022-29 January 2023. 

Tarek Atoui, “Water’s Witness”, 24 September 2022-19 February 2023.