The Papier art fair has been putting Montreal on the map since its inauguration five years ago, mainly because it’s a helluva fun weekend outing – but also because it’s the city’s best opportunity to buy art cheap…
Art fairs never had much luck in Montreal before, but by focusing on works on paper, the Papier12 people astutely put a cap on how expensive the pieces can be – even where they’re by Canadian masters. In fact you’ll find anything from a Sophie Jodoin drawing to a Alana Riley photograph to a Jacques Hurtubise print at this bustling art party.
Set in the cavernous Quartier des Spectacles, smack-bang downtown, you’ll feel the human heat upon entry: hundred of people mill about all around. But this is no flee market, full of elbowing deal-seekers – there’s a civilized tenor to this shopfest. From booth to booth, culture vultures browse among the collections of Montreal’s – and, increasingly, Canada’s – best galleries. Here are five we highly recommend you stop by.
1) Galerie SAS: A hip, happening commercial gallery that caters to the younger generation of art aficionados and throws a great party (their vernissages are not to be missed), Galerie SAS’s is the booth to stop at for works by spotlighted artist Véronique La Perrière M., whose ethereal, delicate drawings of nature-entwined women are something else. You’ll also find work by Laurent Craste, Catherine Bolduc, Éric Cardinal and Fred Laforge.
2) Joyce Yahouda: One of the city’s premiere galleries, Joyce Yahouda curates a selection of dynamic artists that usually work in a combination of media. Some of her favourites are Massimo Guerrera, who does performance art as well as beautifully complex line drawings, Céline B. La Terreur, whose photography is as seductive as it is biting, and François Morelli, who draws, photographs and sculpts.
3) Battat Art Contemporain: Battat, a gallery that’s off the beaten path both geographically and in terms of programming, will be showing works on paper by artist Patrick Bernatchez, one of Quebec’s coolest young guns, better known for his installation work. There’ll also be work by Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline, Kamrooz Aram and Marion Wagschal.
4) Art Mûr: A gallery that’s as likely to take a risk on new kids on the block as it is to represent world-famous artists, Art Mûr is a guarantee of quality. The highlights at Papier12 include photos by Jonathan Hobin and Dina Goldstein, as well as some new drawings from Robbie Cornelissen – one of the leading contemporary draughtsmen in the Netherlands.
5) Galerie Yves Laroche: Yves Laroche’s is the booth anyone interested in street art and comic-based production will want to check out – they represent some of the world’s best, from Van Arno to Dave Cooper to Ron English and Montrealer Peter Ferguson. The spotlight at Papier12 will be Jonathan Bergeron, whose drawings are dark, infinitely detailed little wit bombs.
Papier12, April 12-15, 2012
Quartier des Spectacles, Corner of Bleury and De Maisonneuve Boulevard
Isa Tousignant is contributing editor for Canadian Art, Montreal correspondent for Akimbo, and a freelance writer on art, culture, travel, design and shoes for everyone from enRoute to Canadian Business to herself.