9 captivating exhibitions you must see in Paris this week

The eyes of the art world are on the French capital this week for the premiere of Paris+ by Art Basel at the Grand Palais Éphémère. Coinciding with the highly anticipated launch of the fair, galleries across Paris are staging ambitious exhibitions to attract collectors and art lovers. Here we select some of the best gallery exhibits to visit.

Kokou Ferdinand Makouvia: “Inside, everything jostles like little monsters that the light has awakened by surprise”
Sator Gallery
Until October 29, 2022

Installation view of Kokou Ferdinand Makouvia’s work at Galerie Sator. © Gregory Copitet

“Inside, everything moves like little monsters that the light has awakened by surprise”, says Togolese artist Kokou Ferdinand Makouvia about his bewitching show which draws on the Mina culture of West Africa and animism. In front of walls covered with layers of burnt cardboard painted white, ceramic faces seem to scream. Next to a bush of phallic cones, irregular shapes reminiscent of animal skins hang from ropes. The composition is completed with glass bowls filled with poisonous marbles and coals resembling decaying matter.

Kokou Ferdinand Makouvia’s exhibition is presented at 43 rue de la Commune de Paris 93230 Romainville.

Tavares Strachan: “In Broad Daylight” and “In Total Darkness”
Perrotin and Marian Goodman Gallery
Until December 17, 2022 in Perrotin; until November 26, 2022 at Marian Goodman

Tavares Strachan The most fabulous. Photo: Tom Powell Imaging.

The second and third parts of Tavares Strachan’s trilogy of exhibitions that began in Marian Goodman New York with “The Awakening” see the Nassau-born, New York-based artist probing black civil rights and the legacy of the colonialism.

For his show Perrotin, Strachan created a triptych of Black Virgins in Carrara marble, mixing the images of the Virgin with Child and that of Michelangelo. Pieta with police brutality and racism. The sculptures depict South African Bantu activist Stephen Biko (who died in a prison cell after a hunger strike in 1977), Amadou Diallo (who was killed by New York police in 1999) and Malcolm X, each being owned by their mother.

Meanwhile, at Marian Goodman is a theatrical, performance-based and research exhibition that explores the Haitian revolution and black pride. A shimmering bead curtain with the phrase “I’m done with the passage” in red sets a defiant tone. Each is a 45-minute “immersive experience” that requires a reservation.

Tavares Strachan: ‘In Broad Daylight’ is on view at 76 rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris Tavares Strachan: ‘In Total Darkness’ is on view at 79 rue du Temple, 75003 Paris.

Haegue Yang: Mesmerizing Mesh – Paper Jump and Resonant Habitat »
Chantal Crousel Gallery
October 18—December 3, 2022

Haegue Yang Descending Medusa Hands Bodhisattva Requiem. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris. © Studio Haegue Yang

South Korean artist Haegue Yang immersed himself in shamanic rituals, paper-cutting traditions and the sacred dimension of Hanji, traditional Korean mulberry paper, for its new series of intricate two-dimensional compositions. Sculptures made from the strings of jingling bells or adorned with flowers, as well as Yang’s signature blind installations, are also on display in Yang’s fourth exhibition at the gallery.

Haegue Yang: ‘Mesmerizing Mesh – Paper Leap and Resonating Habitat’ is on view at 10 rue Charlot, 75003 Paris

Miquel Barceló: “Grisailles”
Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery
Until January 7, 2023

Miquel Barcelo Taula goliardica (2021). Photo: David Bonet

“Music of distant parties, of banquets of today and yesteryear, all on the same very long table”, explains Miquel Barceló about his new series of still lifes exhibited at the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. The Spanish artist based in Mallorca has moved away from sedimented surfaces to embrace the greyness technique, by which layers of translucent color are applied over a monochromatic undercoat, giving the works a sense of daydreaming. Horses and bulls are superimposed with sea creatures, candles and memento mori. In other paintings depicting tables laden with fruit, flowers, hares and lobsters, Barceló draws on Dutch and Spanish still life traditions of the seventeenth century.

Miquel Barceló: ‘Grisailles’ is on view at 69 Avenue du General Leclerc, 93500 Pantin.

Jenny Saville: “Latent”
Until December 22, 2022

JennySaville To be titled (2022). Pictured: Jenny Saville.

British artist Jenny Saville is renowned for her passion for painting flesh in a vivid and instinctive way. His exhibition in the Gagosian space near the Tuileries Gardens is filled with new portrait paintings, sometimes featuring just a face and neck. A raw energy emanates from these bright pastels, all based on photographs, whose lines and stenciled markings vaguely recall the abstract works of Willem de Kooning. They merge with the facial features in a liberating style.

Jenny Saville: ‘Latent’ is playing at 9 rue de Castiglione, 75001Paris.

Cheri Samba: “Amazement”
Magnin-A Gallery
Until October 23, 2022

Cheri Samba Stupefaction (2009).

Over the past decades, Chéri Samba has established himself as one of the leading artists of the Democratic Republic of Congo with his witty paintings that have earned him international acclaim. The gallery features works about love, family and political power, as well as self-portraits about Samba’s ambition as an artist. In one piece, Samba portrayed himself as a big goldfish, and in another work he gazes in amazement at a copy of a figure from Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s painting, Winter (1653) – a reflection on his hard-earned place in art history.

Chéri Samba: ‘Stupéfaction’ is on view at 118 Boulevard Richard Lenoir, 75011 Paris.

Sandra Vásquez de la Horra: “Sueños lúcidos”
Bendana Pinel
Until October 29, 2022

Installation view Sandra Vásquez de la Horra. Courtesy Bendana Pinel Contemporary Art

Sandra Vásquez de la Horra’s multi-part watercolor drawings of watchful reclining female figures covering accordion folds take on a sculptural presence. The Berlin-based Chilean artist – one of whose works was acquired last week by the Sprovieri Gallery’s Frieze Tate Fund – was inspired by her childhood memory of a stone moai carved on the Easter island. The sinuous pencil lines, however, recall the stratified landscape of the copper mine of Chuquicamata. The mythological works have a particular three-dimensional quality thanks to the paper having been immersed in melted beeswax.

Sandra Vásquez de la Horra: ‘Sueños lúcidos’ is on view at 4 rue du Perche, 75003 Paris.

Adel Abdessemed: “Out, Out, Brief Candle”
Continua Gallery
Until November 26, 2022

Adel Abdessemed Jam proximus ardet the latest video (2021) Courtesy the artist and Galleria Continua © Adel Abdessemed, Paris ADAGP 2022

The exhibition, whose title quotes Shakespeare macbeth, is Adel Abdessemed’s first exhibition at the Galleria Continua, an exhibition that reflects on mortality, migration, war and suffering. In one work, the Algerian-born, Paris-based artist dabs a candle, in another he appears as the captain of a ship engulfed in flames; it is an allegory of the tragedy of the lives that have perished in the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea that asylum seekers undertake. Elsewhere are burnt wooden bas-reliefs based on images from the war in Ukraine.

Adel Abdessemed: ‘Out, Out, Brief Candle’ is on view at 87 rue du Temple, 75003 Paris.

Personal P.: “To love life”
Sultana Gallery
Until November 12, 2022

Installation view P. Staff. Courtesy of Sultana Gallery. Photo: Gregory Copitet

Ahead of their solo exhibition at the Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland next year, British artist P. Staff, based between London and Los Angeles, reflects on the double meaning of “love life” in this multimedia show. Imbued with a sense of absence, the artist contemplates the remnants of romantic encounters through collages of resin-covered photos of hand-painted faces with twisted tongues and fragments of hair and skin, photograms of knives , scalpels and blades, as well as white and white photographs of bottles left over from a party. The same bottles, filled with synthetic body fluids, are strewn around the gallery, while a red windbreaker hangs from a pointed rack.

P. Staff: ‘Love Life’ is on view at 75 rue Beaubourg, 75003, Paris.

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James C. Tibbs