by Rahul KumarFeb 14, 2023
Inspired by the work of visual artist Natsuko Uchino, the eighth edition of the Asia NOW Paris Asian Art Fair, focused on modern ceramics and was titled Feux de joie which translates to Flames of Joy. The title played on the notion of fire as a gathering place for people to exchange tales and extended it to establish a sense of community with ceramic art, a historically powerful medium of art in Asia, created with fire and soil.
“The many ceramic works, in the booths of the galleries and throughout the space, introduced the idea of alloying the elements of fire, earth, and water, in resonance with the striking of the metal specific to the activity of the site currency,” co-founder Alexandra Fain stated in an interview with Forbes. Contemplating the fair’s emphasis on contemporary ceramics, Fain added that highlighting ceramics at the fair introduced consideration of manual practices that ensured the re-appropriation of know-how from a European point of view and to re-establish manual practices at the same level as other practices, while dismissing any hierarchies.
The fair's Mingei Asia NOW exhibition, led by guest curator Nicolas Trembley, delves into Mingei, an influential Japanese art movement of the early twentieth century that appreciated beauty and simplicity of folk art in common things, particularly pottery. The movement emphasised the underappreciated beauty of people's art and crafts that are useful in daily life, and challenges society's restricted view of art. Curated specifically for Asia Now, the exhibition juxtaposes important historical pieces of work by Japanese craftsmen with contemporary artists of ceramics who are inspired by Mingei, such as Mitsuko Asakura, Shoji Hamada, Kanjiro Kawai, Jiro Kinjo, Mari Minato (Sokyo Gallery), Kazunori Hamana (Blum&Poe), Prabhavathi Meppayil (Pace Gallery), Kim (Almine Rech), Ai Weiwei (Galerie Urs Meile), and more.
Focusing on the artisanal and tactile experience of creation, both real and digital asian art, Cai Guo Qiang, a well-known artist working with gunpowder, presented his NFT project Your Daytime Pyrotechnics, a one-of-a-kind interactive creative project where collectors turned artists by learning to 'light' their fireworks NFT. For the first time in Europe, a series of ceramics created by Takashi Murakami and ceramicist Shin Murata in collaboration, as well as some of Aso Kojima's ceramics with drawings by Murakami on boxes, were also displayed.
Exploring the cultural, socio-political, and environmental questions that affect the Persian Gulf region, Gulf Futurism *, after Sophia Al-Maria, a film program curated by Odile Burluraux, presented a selection of videos by female artists from West Asia such as Sarah Abu Abdallah, Ahaad Al Amoudi, Sophia Al-Maria, Monira Al Qadiri, Farah Al Qasimi, Sama Al Shaibi, and Larissa Sansour.
Alexandra Fain, Director and Founder of Asia NOW, commented, “Asia NOW PARIS aims to shine a light on contemporary art across Asia – the broader geography, the artists, galleries, institutions, and collectors, to provide a European hub where they can participate in a more global conversation during Paris Art Week. Our continuing efforts to focus on various regions, generations, and now practices across art communities in Asia position Asia NOW as the leading contemporary art fair dedicated to pan-Asian artists and projects, and Asian diasporas.”
Yeo Workshop, Yavuz, Jeanne Bucher Jaeger, De Sarthe, Frank Elbaz, Lee-Bauwens, Galerie LJ, Michael Janssen, and Louis & Sack were among the exhibitors, as were blue-chip galleries Almine Rech, Nathalie Obadia, and Perrotin, that exhibited concurrently at the Paris+ by Art Basel. Furthermore, for Asia Now 2022, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala, India created a programme that broadened the scope of Asian cultural ties at work. The Samdani Art Foundation also announced the next edition of their Dhaka Art Summit.