Tadeus Ropac, a respected gallerist and fine expert in contemporary art, opened last fall a new gallery in the Pantin suburb of Paris. In the midst of an industrial landscape, grey and anonymous, a former ironworks factory has been immaculately converted into vast open spaces where oversized canvasses can be displayed unconstrained.
And so, the gallery’s location is a likely metaphor for the direction taken for present-day art. Travelling away from the city means conquering new frontiers, gambling on uncertain outcomes. Out with the cosseted style of the trendy neighborhoods, in with another form of a brave new world.
The choice of the featured artist, Anselm Kiefer, a fetish angel for the gallery and producer of challenging work, has a double meaning: his oversized canvasses simply need larger spaces and his philosophical musings are better savored in the no man’s land surrounding Pantin.
Thus, Pantin may be a successful trend in the presentation of commercial art that only time will tell. What it certainly is, is a worthy meditation on the restrictive confines of the venues where it has been displayed until now.