What’s brought you back for another year?
Last year’s event was absolutely fantastic. We had 9,200 visitors in three days; so many people turned up and wanted to keep coming back. This time we’ve extended the event and we’ll be open on the Friday too, when everybody gets the day off. We’re aiming to get 15,000 visitors through the door this time.
What sort of galleries are on the list?
The fair will host 57 art galleries, coming from 22 countries, and 40 per cent of these galleries will be brand new ones. This year we’ve tried to push for a fair that is more international, so our selection of galleries has come from slightly further a field. So, when we were choosing the galleries from Paris, we could really only pick the best. In Europe, buyers are so excited about what’s been happening around the region. They want to discover art from Iran, the Middle East and India. It’s a new market to a lot of people.
The Third Line, B21 and other Dubai galleries are included in the list this year, have you ever thought about bringing ArtParis to Dubai?
Dubai already has Art Dubai and there’s only six months between the two. Abu Dhabi wants to be the capital for culture, a platform for art in the Middle East, so we’re happy to be there. At the same time, the art that’s coming to Dubai is very avant-garde. We prefer to keep the image of what we do in Paris, by showcasing classical contemporary art and nothing that is too avantgarde, or too out-there.
How do you see Abu Dhabi’s place in the region?
Abu Dhabi really wants to develop dialogue with all the countries in the region. They want to focus and Last year we had 9,200 visitors – this year we’re aiming for 15,000 educate the local people to develop a better exchange with all cultures. It’s great to work with the cultural authority there; we can go to them with ideas and say, ‘We think this would be good’ and they’re always like, ‘Great, go ahead and do it.’ It’s so refreshing.
Any highlights we should keep an eye out for?
We’ve managed to get Fabrice Bousteau onboard this year. He’s editor of Beaux Arts Magazine, one of the major French art publications, and a well established curator. He’s putting together a sort of panel show for us. We’re very excited as it’s something we feel has never happened before. It’s like a TV show, but done as a live performance, discussing the roots of Arab aesthetics. He’s managed to gather together some of the most significant names in architecture, poetry, design, art criticism and more, from all over the world.
What kind of response did you get from the exchange at ArtParis in France this year?
We created a special pavilion in the centre of ArtParis, reserved for Arab art and artists we’d worked with last year in Abu Dhabi. The collectors just went crazy! Nobody could imagine that Arab art would be like that, people thought that it would be modern Orientalist works, but they saw that it wasn’t that at all. It was very interesting.
You’ve got 700 artists on the bill this year – any you’re particularly excited about?
We’ve got some really big names this year: Picasso, Miro, Damien Hirst, Paul Cezanne and many other important artists. But there are also 14 galleries from the Middle East included, including some amazing artists from the UAE, such as Hassan Sherif, who will be in the sculpture park.
Any other objectives for ArtParis : Abu Dhabi this year?
We want to push culture forward, to raise new concepts and ideas about art. But we also want to have fun and share that with the people here in the UAE.
ArtParis-Abu Dhabi, November 17-21. www.artparis-abudhabi.com