Cécile Schall founded fotofever five years ago. She was driven by three motivations: a passion for photography fed by her family’s history for multiple generations; a respect for galleries that promote young artists in the art market; and the belief that collecting is an act of support for artistic creation. The fair’s latest edition launches on 11 November and continues until 13 November with a new set of innovative projects to promote the collecting of contemporary art and to showcase emerging talent within the field of photography. We speak to Schall to gain further insight into the ethos of fotofever.
A: As an independent photography fair, fotofever proposes a bold and forward looking agenda. What attracts you to an artist’s work and what ultimately leads you to select their representing gallery for the fair?
CS: Only galleries are selected to participate however we mostly select these from the artists they represent and promote. We develop long lasting relationships with both galleries and artists, with some having been part of fotofever from the beginning.
We want the fair to showcase the future and diversity of photography: you can view young and emerging artists, mostly at an early stage of their career, before they are seen anywhere else. They come from all over the world and each one has a singular vision and use of photography!
They all have been discovered and revealed by a gallery, and they only present original artworks, that is to say reproduced in no more than 30 limited editions in all formats included.
A: The fair has an educational mission to improve access to the diversity of contemporary photography. How do you achieve this aim?
CS: The educational aspect is something that is really key to us, for all ages, small children up to seasoned collectors, we’re never too old or young to learn. For children there are free workshops, ‘les p’tits collectionneurs’ (little collectors), these are free for children aged 6-12 years old, who come to the fair as part of a family visit. These workshops aim at educating their eye by looking at photography as an art object and not just an image, most notably by introducing them to the creative process behind a photographic artwork.
This year we have also invested a lot into the ‘start to collect’ programme dedicated to the promotion of art collecting. It is aimed to visitors who have considered collecting art but do not know where to begin or have not dared to purchase yet. Each visitor will receive a 32-page collector’s guide and will be able to participate to a rich program of tours and talks. Additionally to assist these would-be collectors, not only are the prices of the artworks clearly marked in the fair but yellow ‘start to collect’ stickers are visible next to each artwork priced at less than 5,000 Euros.
We want to encourage those art lovers to take their passion to the next level. It is one thing to admire artworks but collecting is essential to the perpetuation of artistic creation. In a world increasingly focused on the communication of images, photography is the best entry point to art collecting, not only price-wise but also aesthetically.
A: What can visitors expect to see at this year’s edition? Are there any new features to look out for?
CS: The two newest and most noticeable features this year will be visible at the entrance and through the innovative floorplan. The entrance at fotofever paris 2016 has been transformed into a collector’s apartment. This space is dedicated to a conceptual apartment in which visitors can make themselves comfortable and view how a photography collection can work at home. A selection of more than 50 artworks from our exhibitors, chosen and curated by Stéphane Baumet, fotofever Artistic Director, will be showcased around four themes: portraits, still-lives, landscapes and “beyond reality”.
Following this apartment, visitors will experience the fair’s innovative floorplan composed of a zig-zag pattern which will encourage a more fluid and open visit, allowing uncomplicated and accessible exchanges between our 70 exhibitors and the public, a true reflection of the fotofever value of openness.
A: Where do you hope to take the fair in future?
CS: Our future plans take fotofever well beyond the walls of the Carrousel du Louvre as we are working towards becoming a brand that lives all year round to promote collecting amongst all art lovers. A new event will be launched in April 2017 during the Parisian month of photography as well as an online magazine giving a voice to collectors, gallerists and artists. The fair will also expand into the fotofever club, a program of events where fotofever collectors, established as well as novices, can share their experiences and make new discoveries. We will also upgrade our website from January onwards in order to reinforce our exhibitors’ visibility and create an interactive platform, as a continuation of the fair to facilitate exchanges.
fotofever, Carrousel du Louvre, 11-13 November. For more information visit www.fotofeverartfair.com
1. Soden-Gina Klinik Emergence (2014). Courtesy of the artist and fotofever.