The 32nd edition, overseen by Henri Jobbé-Duval, is opening up to contemporary creation by promoting outstanding know-how, and consolidating its international aspect, regaining its place as France's key event.
Marjane Satrapi (b. 1969), Sphinge, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 160 x 100 cm/62.99 x 39.37 in (detail).
COURTESY GALERIE FRANÇOISE LIVINEC © Photo Luc Paris
"The Biennale is ready to go", says Mathias Ary Jan. Though the vice-president of the SNA (National Syndicate of Antiques Dealers) can now affirm this as a reality, the Biennale was on hold for many long weeks, when Alexis Cassin, in charge of organizing the fair in March, threw in the towel this summer. This uncertainty is reflected in the title of the exhibition staged by Paris gallery owner Nicolas Bourriaud in his space on Quai Voltaire: "Notre Biennale 2021" ("Our 2021 Biennale"). The context was sensitive, but the SNA provided the means to maintain the edition and restore its glory to a flagship event that has been uniting the profession since 1962 (with André Malraux's support at the time). To do this, it assigned the artistic direction to Henri Jobbé-Duval, a key figure in the art market whose name is forever associated with the creation of the FIAC , the Paris Boat Show, Art Paris and Révélations, the first biennial arts and crafts fair. He has worked hard to reposition and renew the Biennale, which has gone from being the first fair of the fall season at the Grand Palais to being the new November event at the Grand Palais Éphémère. It has been extended from four or five days to ten (to include two weekends), while keeping it an annual event. This amuses Henri Jobbé-Duval: "It'll be the world's only annual biennial! But the names of many events have become inaccurate: for instance,…
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