Paris Photo 2021 — Selections
Discover the works, artists and galleries that caught our eye during this edition
To be honest, this year’s edition has been really impressive and it has been difficult to narrow down our selection. The organisation set up an amazing Online Viewing Rooms in collaboration with ArtLogic, where we were able to select some of our favourite works.
For us, one of the main interests that make us attend to fairs (on site or online) is the opportunity to discover new talent. Paris Photo knows how to balance the older and younger generation, and in this edition we discovered a lot of interesting artists that we never heard about. Zsuzsanna Ujj, Sue Williamson, Attila Csernik or János Vető, are some of the names that we found interesting, but due to the huge amount of works, he left them out of this article. However we highly recommend to search their names(once you’re finished reading this article).
For this edition, Document brought a solo show by Paul Mpagi Sepuya (b. 1982, San Bernardino, CA, United States). An absolute good decision, in our opinion. Sepuya is a great portraitist, there’s no doubt about it. The works presented are studio shots where little by little the artist has been introducing new elements that interact with the subjects portrayed. His work explore the possibilities of portraiture through the material, the queer networks of collaboration and the relation between fragmentation and reconstruction.
Aleix Plademunt (b. 1980, Girona, Spain) showcased, alongside with Galerie Olivier Waltman, Matter, a project that he has been working on since 2013. These series investigate our origin and the concept of existence. Ontological contemplations of human origins and its relationship to the universe, and ultimately to the most substantial form: the matter. He is known by his way of establishing connections between all the subjects that appear on his photographs.
As part of the Curiosa sector, Tobe Gallery presented work by Kincső Bede (b. 1995, Covasna, Romania). The title of these series come from a quote from the Romanian communist anthem, which gives the spectator a first step into Kincső’s photographic world. The clash between two generations, the ones that lived through communism and the ones that didn’t; the confrontation with the past or domestic relationships, are some of the topics that define her body of work.
A Mi Yoon (b. 1985, Busan, Korea) work is part of a selection of female artists that Christophe Guye brought to Paris Photo 2021. What really captivates in Yoon’s images is the performative self-portraiture of her work. It’s intriguing how she contrast her body painted with bright red dots, and an abandoned context on which earthy and dark colours predominate. Through her performances, Yoon explores the boundaries between the conscious and the unconscious of human personality.
To Move the Sun and Earth Away is a project by Jošt Dolinšek (b. 1997, Ljubljana, Serbia) which combines photography, sculpture and sound. He normally works with long-term projects combining different media like installation or sound. For this one, he used this technical and conceptual dualism to explore the human perception of environment. The mirrors are installed to blur a direct view of the images, which allows the spectator to experience infinite perspectives at the same time. This process opens a new way for the artist to explore the sculptural characteristics of photography.
There’s an implicit fascination by the scenarios in-between. Places where the action has just happened and we, the viewers, arrived late. Johno Mellish (b. 1991, South Africa) builds his photographs around characters and locations that are in the middle of a transitory state. This image in particular causes irritation, not only by how the light frame the scene, but also the way is organised. The chaos happens indoors, whilst serenity seems to happen beyond the window at the back of the room.
Kayee C (b. Hong Kong) usually creates her images in the studio, but for these series she deliberately decided to rent a hotel room and shoot outside her comfort zone. She wanted to explore new ways to narrate stories. The result is a body of work focused on characters and their close relationships through attitudes such as submission, mistrust or domination. The snapshots are turbulent stories open to the viewer’s own interpretation.
Guanyu Xu’s (b. 1993, Beijing, China) excels by the way he presents the space associating it with his personal experiences and political issues. To understand his work is important to know how important was for him to change his traditional Chinese home, and move to the US. His parents’ home act as a canvas where Guanyu created a photographic installation, reclaiming that space for himself. He included collected images from his teenage years, queering an average and traditional Chinese house and creating juxtapositions that merge space and time.