The Parisian Normal: Roundup From Asia Now 2020
By Jae Lamb
The 6th Asia Now art fair opened its doors on Paris’s Avenue Hoche on October 21 to a city recently placed under a strict 9pm to 6am curfew and labeled a Covid-19 high-risk zone by the French Health Ministry. The pandemic failed to dampen the spirits of curators, collectors, artists, and gallerists. All donning face coverings, visitors of the event delightedly mingled in the courtyard entrance, ignoring the one-way directional arrows stuck onto the ground—a reminder of how things have changed since the fair was last held a year ago.
Asia Now 2020 includes presentations by 34 galleries and 13 platforms, with footprints in China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, India, or elsewhere in Asia, and in France. The cancellation of FIAC proved to be a boon for Asia Now, which drew in several participants, including Perrotin (Paris / Hong Kong / Seoul / Tokyo / Shanghai / New York) and Almine Rech (Paris / Brussels / London / New York / Shanghai), from the larger, normally contemporaneous event. Nevertheless, with many international galleries unable to be physically present at the event in Paris due to travel restrictions, the fair still witnessed an overall decrease in exhibitors compared to previous years. To compensate those unable to attend, Asia Now moved swiftly to make artworks and programs available on an online platform presented in partnership with Ocula.
In addition to gallery booths, the IRL fair, spread over three floors, staged special projects. Among them is “Focus on The Indian Scene,” which Asia Now’s director, Alexandra Fain, oddly dubbed a “still unsung territory” in the fair’s press release. As part of the initiative, Jeanne Bucher Jaeger Gallery (Paris / Lisbon) mounted a solo show in homage to Indian artist Zarina Hashmi, exhibiting a selection of the late artist’s woodcuts and works on paper. Partially occupying the ground floor was The Gujral Foundation (New Delhi), which spotlighted Mumbai-based artist Remen Chopra W. Van Der Vaart, whose site-specific works probe ideas of regeneration, nostalgia, and belonging.
Another highlight at the fair was the “Taiwanese Platform,” guest curated by Chi-Wen Huang, founder of Chi-Wen Gallery (Taipei). Bringing together the multidisciplinary works of six artists, the “Taiwanese Platform” showcased the diverse cultural tapestry of Taiwan. Meanwhile, like in past editions, notable curators, artists, and directors of art institutions are set to take part in the “Conversation Platform,” covering topics from the growing acceptance of art in the public sphere to the perception of European aesthetics through a Chinese lens.
Here are some highlights from Asia Now 2020.
Asia Now Paris 2020 takes place from October 21 to 24, 2020.
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