Christine Ollier, Sponsor of Circulation(s) 2012
Christine Ollier au studio de Malik Sidibé © Farida Hamak
For the 2012 Circulation(s) Festival, the Fetart team selected Christine Ollier to follow in Laura Sérani’s footsteps sponsor of the first edition. Christine Ollier, Artistic Director of the Filles du Calvaire Gallery, specialist in cultural communication, art historian and exhibition curator, accepted the role of sponsor in support of this young talent festival. She selected works by four artists: David de Beyter, Michel Bousquet, Matt Wilson and Yusuf Sevinçli.
Ericka Weidmann : You are following Laura Serani for the 2012 edition, what is your role as godmother?
Christine Ollier : Networking is fundamental. It is the best way to discover artists, select them, and distribute them. I also organized a biennale for emerging artists in the early ‘90’s that served as an interface between galleries and institutions. At the time, there was nothing like it and it developed into an essential event for associations. Today, a plethora of events abound. I was pleasantly surprised last year when I visited the Circulation(s) festival. There were a few details to improve. I gave them some advice, which eventually led to their selecting me as sponsor. At first I refused, I felt I had given all I could give, and I don’t like to be put in the spotlight. Later I came to the conclusion that it was important to enrich their experiences and to further improve their chances of networking on a European level. Which was the same for some sponsors such as la Souris sur le gâteau and Imagine. In the same way to best help them: as sponsor, I would brandish their colors and perhaps inspire other professionals, giving credit to this event beyond its actual quality level.
EW : What was your impression of the first edition ? Do you have precise ideas for 2012?
CO : 2011 was sincerely a beautiful edition, even if there were too many artists for the space, it was interesting to see this French and European display. I was a member of the 2012 jury and so far I can recommend seeing it. There are fewer artists, but the selection remains large, which is a quality, even if it is impossible to have a preconceived idea prior to the opening, one must just go!
EW : You will be presenting the works of 4 different artists including David de Beyter, Matt Wilson, Yusuf Sevinçli, and Michel Bousquet. Why ?
CO : By chance encounters and to show that photography is not entirely attached to the spectacular, it can be more modest, even intimate which is the case for three of them: Matt, Yusuf and Michel. David is different, more formal, graphic. Personally my tastes are open and my way of looking is very eclectic, it seemed appropriate to show these unexpected images in this festival of discoveries.
EW : Matt Wilson and Yusuf Sevinçli are represented by your gallery, you aren’t afraid that your selection might seem partial?
CO : Yes, at first, and it is partial, but with nuances. Yusuf and Matt have not been exposed, I discovered them and displayed them in a corner of my stand at Paris Photo, they are discoveries that haven’t acquired a real spot in my gallery that is currently overbooked. But by selecting them, somehow “protecting” them, I am helping to distribute their work where they might have otherwise remained unknown. Our Gallery is so well known that if we present an artist, our clients take them into consideration and doors might open more quickly. It is their first show in France, but they have been presented abroad. Thanks to us, Matt’s work was featured at the 2011 Phnom Penh Festival and will be on display at the Moscow Biennale this year. I only recently discovered Yusuf who impressed us. It is a nod to the European community that this Turkish photographer, influenced by Anders Petersen, developed his own voice. The Circulation(s) team liked this selection and would have loved it if I had selected Dorothée Smith as well, but she just had her first major exhibition at the gallery and is no longer a discovery. I am partial because I think it is for a good cause in that the gallery can’t do everything, I don’t see why I would choose other photographers, perhaps not as good, while I have interesting ones who need visibility like everyone else.
EW : You were also part of the Circulation(s) jury that selected the festival display: 24 works were selected out of 600 candidates. How did you choose?
CO : They say I’m severe, which undoubtedly I am because in general I voted a bit less generously than others. It is logical: identify, select, that has been my job and my passion for the past 30 years. My criteria are of course quality and originality of the subject but also the photographic language. Today we are in a world of incessant and unavoidable visual repetition. It is essential that our vision be particular -- I didn’t say “new”, just personal – both in form and content. There isn’t much to invent in photography, but an artist will always manage to renew with his personal vision.