Promises, a sector focusing on young galleries created less than six years ago, provides a forward-looking analysis of cutting-edge contemporary art. Participating galleries can present up to three emerging artists and Art Paris finances 45% of the exhibitor fees. This year Promises plays host to nine international galleries.
Felix Frachon Gallery (Brussels) continues to explore the globalisation of contemporary art. Its exhibit includes new works by Indian artist Shine Shivan (1981), whose compositions in charcoal on traditional paper find their roots in indigenous Indian art, alongside those of naïve Brazilian artist Lia Mittakaris. The latter’s works are from the collection of Museu Internacional de Arte Naif do Brasil founder Lucien Finkelstein. The third artist, Arnaud Rochand (1986), pursues a hybrid practice that combines painting, engraving and ceramics inspired by the Portuguese and Spanish azulejo tradition and the two countries’ Moorish heritage.
Galerie Hors-Cadre (Paris) establishes a dialogue between three artists from the young French scene who all explore the language of images and the notion of ephemerality. A bronze sculpture of a sunflower by Victoire Inchauspé (1998) evokes the beauty and fragility of life; Morgane Ely (1995) engraves trivial images (screenshots and photos taken by paparazzi) on wood, juxtaposing their banality with the sophistication of an age-old Japanese craft that gives rise to iridescent effects. And finally, Lucile Boiron (1990) presents photographic still lifes of fruit in saturated colours that bring together the natural world and artifice questioning the structure of matter and all living things.
Hunna Art Gallery (Sharjah, UAE) presents Alymamah Rashed (1994), Amani Al Thuwaini (1989) and Nour Elbasuni (1994), three women artists from the Arabian Peninsula whose works explore cultural duality, gender politics and personal and collective mythologies. The textile work of Ukraine-born multidisciplinary Kuwaiti artist Amani Al Thuwaini combines tradition and contemporary representations. Alymamah Rashed, another Kuwaiti artist known for her dreamlike paintings full of ethereal, floating figures, defines herself as a “Muslim cyborg”. She explores the question of identity through the story of her own body. Finally, Egyptian artist Nour Elbasuni paints portraits of men in domestic situations in a naïve, symbolist style, exploring gender roles and the representation of masculinity as seen through a woman’s eyes.
Maāt Gallery (Paris) puts the young Mexican scene in the spotlight. Celeste, the artist duo formed by Maria Fernanda Camarena (1988) and Gabriel Rosas Alemán (1983) create constantly expanding pictorial installations that echo muralism in that they share the same intention to combine images and architecture. The work of painter and muralist Rafael Uriegas (1982) is informed by religious references, myths and moments from everyday life. His paintings present abstract narratives while integrating Renaissance influences, baroque traditions, pre-Columbian and abstract art.
Molski gallery (Poznań) juxtaposes the works of two Polish artists Kinga Popiela (1991) and Sebastian Krzywak (1979) both of whom employ the language of abstraction. Kinga Popiela focuses on the repetition of pictorial gestures and the relationship between the artist’s body and the painting. She paints on unstretched canvases, which she either frames or presents as they are in different configurations. Sebastian Krzywak explores non-figurative painting by combining drawings done on Photoshop and accidental superpositions of paint runs to address the heritage of 20th century abstract art.
She Bam! Galerie Laetitia Gorsy (Leipzig) presents two emerging French artists: Io Burgard (1987) and Nitsa Meletopoulos (1984). Io Burgard focuses on the interactions between individuals and their environment, exploring the themes of perception, space and movement across several mediums, mainly sculpture and drawing, together with video, photography and installation. She is presenting a new installation at Art Paris. Nitsa Meletopoulos explores in depth the materials and techniques of contemporary ceramics. Working in close connection with nature, she questions the object itself in its environment and deploys a clever mix of contemporary practice and traditional know-how across a wide range of techniques, forms and colours.
Gaep Gallery (Bucharest) brings together three artists, Cătălin Pîslaru (1988), Raluca Popa (1979) and Ignacio Uriarte (1972), whose work addresses questions in connection with perception and optics. Fascinated by the computer’s possibilities as a creative tool, Cătălin Pîslaru looks back at the heritage of abstraction from the standpoint of a digital culture, giving pride of place to microprocessor inspired geometric shapes, preferring digital sketches to those done by hand and cold, hard painting surfaces (such as aluminium) to canvas. Ignacio Uriarte combines a personal reflection on everyday office routines with the practices of conceptual art and minimalism in the 1960s and 70s in a series of drawings done with coloured Bic biros: the systematic repetition of the same gesture gives rise to simple geometric shapes and creates a play of optical illusions. Raluca Popa collect materials – objects, images, ideas and texts, either her own or those of others - and assembles them into new forms and configurations. At Art Paris, she is presenting “Poem, 2023”, a sculpture made-up of four lenses of different sizes inserted into a wooden base that invites the viewer to take part in a genuine experiment of optical camouflage.
Finally, two galleries have opted to present solo shows, Labs Contemporary (Bologna) unveils a previously unseen project entitled “Sono Soltanto linee” (They are only lines) by Giulia Marchi. Made up of monumental stick-shaped elements reminiscent of those used in pick-up sticks games placed alongside photos representing other assemblies of these same elements, this mise en abyme evokes the dialectics of full and empty, visible and invisible and the very nature of space. Soho Revue (London) showcases the colourful, blurry landscapes of British artist Ben Walker, which evoke nostalgic childhood scenes as seen through the hazy memories of an amnesiac.