Laure d’Hauteville: “Building a network of Mena art fans” – January 3, 2023 – L’ŒIL

After creating the Beirut Artuel in Lebanon in 1998, which was replaced twelve years later by the Beirut Art Exhibition, Laure d’Hauteville is hosting the first edition of the Menart Exhibition in Paris in 2021, the first exhibition in Europe devoted to art from Mena countries ( Central East and North Africa). With the involvement of Joanna Chevalier, the show’s artistic director, she offers a rigorous selection of gallery owners and artists from the region. The second Paris edition, held in May 2022, consolidates the exhibition in its choice and development. The third edition takes place in Brussels, from 3 to 5 February, at the Boghossian Foundation.

Why did you choose Brussels for the third edition of the Menart Fair?

The creation of Menart Fair was born out of a desire to promote modern and contemporary art from the Middle East, the Gulf countries and North Africa in France, but also elsewhere in Europe. From its conception, we wanted the exhibition to be held in Paris and Brussels, because one does not exist without the other. Paris is the art capital of Europe and Brussels is the capital of collectors. The health crisis prevented the Brussels edition from being held last year. We can today. Eventually, I also wanted to include London because a lot of Middle and Near Eastern people live there, which means three editions of the Menart Fair a year in three different capital cities. The aim is to further develop relationships with collectors and institutions in these countries and to form a network of Mena art enthusiasts, who will circulate from one capital to another, eager to discover our edition proposals.

What lessons did you learn from the two Paris editions?

The success of our first two editions has strengthened the interest and curiosity of the public, both amateurs, collectors, foundations and institutions, towards Mena’s art. From now on, they are the ones contacting us to find out more about the currents of modern and contemporary art that are typical of these areas. I was therefore contacted by the Sorbonne University to intervene from time to time in the Mena art market. Today it is for us to arouse that same curiosity in Belgium, because if this country has a different history from France to the Mena countries, a more and more evident interest in art from the Maghreb and the Near and Middle East is growing. Bozar has thus multiplied initiatives supporting artists from the region and private foundations have been created such as the Boghossian Foundation which, since opening in 2010, promotes dialogue between Eastern and Western cultures, through art and programming. of exhibitions and events.

How is Menart Fair Brussels different from Paris?

First with its unique design pole. Of the 23 galleries participating in the exhibition, six of them will be presenting works in this field. Indeed, in Mena countries, craftsmanship remains a very important activity that is increasingly being adapted by designers and artists, in particular Lebanese like Flavie Audi, represented by the Venetian gallery Everything I Want, or Jihad Khairallah, founder of jihad khairallah in Beirut architects . The installation by Gregory Gatserelia, co-founder of the experimental platform The Great Design Disaster (Milan), will reflect on what inspired him with a double explosion in the port of Beirut on 4 August 2020. Together with Joanna, we also wanted a more contemporary edition, but without neglecting artists from modern period such as Baya at Gaya Art gallery or Nabil Anani, a major figure in Palestinian modernity, now 80 years old. I am also very proud of the presence at Menart Fair Brussels, and for the first time in Europe, Galerie Zawyeh, which was created in 2013 in Ramallah by his son ZiadAnani and whose office opened in 2020 in Dubai allows him to better disseminate the work. of Palestinian artists. One of the other characteristics of this edition is also the greater representation of the Iranian artistic scene, with artists as diverse as Zena Assi, Mojé Assefjah (Tanit Gallery), Toufan Hosseiny (Baronian Gallery), trio Rokni Haerizadeh, Ramin Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian (Galerie In Situ) or Mohamed Hossein Ghaderi represented by the Tunisian gallery Musk and Amber and Roya Akhavan, Reza Derakshani, Ghasem Hajizadeh at Amenor Contemporary x Simine.

Two exhibitions are also scheduled in the Boghossian Foundation space. Why this development?

The first in connection with the exhibition “At the end of the world, live our vertigo”, which I curated this summer at the Abbaye de Jumièges, and its installation Roof for Silence by Hala Warde. As part of this installation, eight outstanding ceramics by the artist and poet have been reproduced, in collaboration with Etel Adnan and Normandy Ceramics Pole. The Seine-Maritime Department, the producer of these works, has agreed to lend them to us as part of a tribute to the artist and poet who died on November 14, 2021. The second exhibition relates to the Cultural Narrative initiative launched by Selection. For several years now, the publishing platform founded by Rima Nasser, and based in Lebanon and Dubai, has been commissioning leading or emerging artists from the Middle East to produce work of their choice, but the only obstacle has been getting adapted. wooden frame size 20 x 20 cm. The collection now numbers around 700 pieces; we showcase a hundred of them.

Entrance to the Menart Fair will be paid for the first time. For what reason?

We would like to donate to the Boghossian Foundation the revenue generated by the ticket office, to support its actions, knowing that those who pay for VIP tickets for Menart Fair can access Brafa [du 29 janvier au 5 février 2023]. And vice versa.

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