BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Florence Bourgeois

Director at Paris Photo

Florence Bourgeois. Photo: Jérémie Bouillon, 2016
Florence Bourgeois. Photo: Jérémie Bouillon, 2016

Tell us a little bit about the history of the fair

Created in 1997 by Rik Gadella, acquired by Reed in 2000, Paris Photo developed tremendously in 2011 when it relocated to the Grand Palais. This permitted us to double the number of exhibitors and further develop public programming. Today, Paris Photo is the world’s largest fair dedicated to contemporary photography. We present nearly 200 leading fine art galleries and specialized publishers and offer visitors an extensive public program that includes exhibitions – spotlighting recent photographic acquisitions of major institutions around the world or important private collections, two conversation programs, over 250 book signing sessions, the PhotoBook Awards and our Carte Blanche laureates. We also feature exhibitions from our partners, each with a strong engagement in photography such as our official partner BMW, where each year they present the laureate of the BMW Art & Culture residency.

Paris Photo 2016. Photo: Jérémie Bouillon, 2016
Paris Photo 2016. Photo: Jérémie Bouillon, 2016
Paris Photo 2016. Photo: Jérémie Bouillon, 2016
Paris Photo 2016. Photo: Jérémie Bouillon, 2016

How do you, as fair director, ensure that the event stays contemporary and current in the fast-paced world that is the art market?

We work all year, in collaboration with our Selection Committee composed of directors of international galleries whose expertise in photography is second to none. Together with Christoph Wienser, we are constantly prospecting – looking for new projects, emerging artists, new discoveries and trends. We are keen to present the most complete panorama of photography and image-based projects that are of the highest quality – both on a purely artistic level and also on the level of exploring and pushing the boundaries of the photographic medium. We also ensure that the galleries provide our audiences museum quality presentations.

Is there something in this year’s program that you are particularly looking forward to?

We are very excited about launching our new film/artist video sector at mk2 Grand Palais. This has been a project that we have wanted to introduce in Paris for a long time and now, with the availability of the cinema within the Grand Palais, it is a great opportunity to present the moving image projects of the artists that are also presented in the main sector. We were happy to invite two guest curators this year, the director and producer Marin Karmitz who is presenting three feature-length films, and the artistic advisor for the Cinématèque française Matthieu Orélan, who has developed a program of films and a selection of video projects from galleries who are exhibiting at Paris Photo.

Lise Sarfati, "Oh Man 16, 2012 Courtesy La Galerie Particulière, Paris-Bruxelles
Lise Sarfati, "Oh Man 16, 2012 Courtesy La Galerie Particulière, Paris-Bruxelles

What do the artworks being presented at this year's fair reveal about the current trends and market?

This year we see a special attention to Asian art and the manipulation of the image. Notably, solo shows including Masao Yamamoto presented by Etherton Gallery and Rink Kawauchi presented by the Gallery Christophe Guye, and Shiguro Onishi presented by MEM. Onishi in particular explores several techniques such as multiple exposures and toning.

What advice do you have for the collectors that will be attending the fair this year?

Buy with your heart. Follow your own sensibilities because in the long run this seems to me to be the most enjoyable approach. Some will start a collection with photography, possibly the most accessible medium, other more seasoned collectors can find unique treasures at the fair, all in a range of prices ranging from one thousand to several hundred thousand euros.

Self-Portrait by Karl Lagerfeld.
Self-Portrait by Karl Lagerfeld.

In addition to Paris Photo, what exhibition or event is on your must-see list?

There are so many wonderful museums in Paris with fantastic photographic exhibitions such as Le Jeu de Paume and Le Bal. In fact we have made a selection for you of the best shows in Paris during the fair in our program that is available in our online agenda.

All images courtesy Paris Photo

More Information on Paris Photo

Insiders (67)

Wilhelmina Jewell Strong - Sparks

Founder of BiTHOUSE Projects - BAAR Art Journey


Collector behind the ARNDT Collection

Sandra Guimarães

Director of Museum of Contemporary Art Helga de Alvear

Grazyna Kulczyk

Founder of Muzeum Susch


Interview with Georgie Pope and Eleonora Sutter, Co-founders

Kamiar Maleki

Director at VOLTA

Gallery Weekend Berlin 2022

Tokini Peterside

Founder and Director, ART X Lagos


Founding Director of the Athens Biennale

Boris Ondreička

Artistic Director of viennacontemporary

Maribel Lopez

Director of ARCO

David Gryn

Founder and Director of Daata

Fondation Beyeler Audiovisual Broadcast

Fondation Beyeler and Nordstern Basel present Dixon x Transmoderna

Gary Yeh

Founder of ArtDrunk and Young Collector

WATCH: The Best of the BMW Art Guide

Where will you travel next to explore art?

Maike Cruse

2020 Gallery Weekend Berlin

Touria El Glaoui

Founding Director of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Johann König

Messe in St. Agnes

PArt - Producers Art Platform

A crisis initiative to help artists directly affected by the pandemic

Barbara Moore

CEO of Biennale of Sydney

Unique Collector’s Item

by Independent Collectors

Alix Dana

Fair Director at Independent

When Collectors are Able to Commission

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Juliet Kothe and Julia Rust

Initiators of Collection Night, Berlin

Marie-Anne McQuay

Curator of Wales in Venice, 58th Venice Biennale 2019

Dorothy and Herb Vogel

Two extraordinary art collectors

Heather Hubbs

Director at NADA

Every Art Collection Needs Space

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Collecting Art with François Pinault

Rudolf Stingel at Palazzo Grassi

A Common Ground

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Caroline Vos

Director at Amsterdam Art Weekend

Hidden Collections

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Nicole Berry

Executive Director of The Armory Show

Daniel Hug

Fair Director at Art Cologne

The Role of the Art Fair

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Peter Bläuer

Director at LISTE

A Brush Against Nature

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Ilaria Bonacossa

Director of Artissima

Excessiveness, the Latent Danger of Collecting Art

by Independent Collectors

Jo Stella-Sawicka

Artistic Director at Frieze

Where Artists Can Work More Playfully

by Christiane Meixner

Specifically Commissioned

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Manuela Mozo

Executive Director of UNTITLED, ART Miami and San Francisco

Important Museums and Private Collections

by Christiane Meixner

Susanna Corchia

Director of the Barcelona Gallery Weekend

Emilia van Lynden

Artistic Director at Unseen, Amsterdam

Carlos Urroz

Director at ARCOmadrid

Shoe Smudges Streaked Across the White Walls

by Christiane Meixner

Amanda Coulson

Director at VOLTA Basel

Douwe Cramer

Director at Singapore Contemporary

Art and Architecture – Attractive Allies

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Jo Baring

Curator of Sculpture Series, Masterpiece London

Bidders and Buyers

by Christiane Meixner

Anne Vierstraete

Managing Director at Art Brussels

Nanna Hjortenberg

Director at CHART

The Crucial Role of the New

by Independent Collectors

Makers and Believers

On Art History’s Most Famous Patrons

The Past is Back

And collectors are buying it up

Are Artists the Better Curators?

On the diminishing boundary between professions in the art world

The Digital Museum

On the importance of the museum’s web presence

The Man in the Middle

On the curator’s private and public engagements

A Private Matter?

On the importance of physical space for the value of art

Off the Wall

How museums contribute to the worth of artworks

Where to Go Next?

The fragmentation of Manhattan’s gallery scene

To Buy or Not to Buy

Collectors on their experiences of letting an artwork slip away

How to Pass On a Passion

On long-term challenges for new private museums