Interview with Laure d’Hauteville, Director of Beirut Art Fair

Partner of the Beirut’s 4th edition, Artsper met Laure d’Hauteville, founder and director of this fair dedicated to the ME.NA.SA. region. For Artsper, she talks about both the origin and motivations of this fair but also about the current projects and innovations of this edition.

Artsper: Why did you choose four years ago to implement a fair dedicated to the vast and diversified Libenon region of ME.NA.SA?
Laure: 22 years ago, I had the chance to discover and live in Lebanon. I lived there for 14 intense years during which I discovered the cultural significance of this country located in the heart of Middle-East. Deeply attached to the cedar country, I have always defended its artists’ artistic creation and I notice with satisfaction the importance of BEIRUT ART FAIR in the increasing of their visibility in the international artistic stage. More offering the discovery of Lebanese artists, for four years every new edition of BEIRUT ART FAIR have offered people to discover young and emerging galleries and artists that astonish and fascinate us.

Since the genesis of the project, BEIRUT ART FAIR has always wanted to be a hybrid fair, not only concentrated on commercial transactions but also on offering rich and diversified cultural plan. BEIRUT ART FAIR is also the witness of the important dynamism of Lebanese collectors known as the most important of the Arab world. This event would have never existed without them and without the support of sponsor companies that give us their trust and support us in this great project of defense of ME.SA.NA emerging creation. With galleries from 14 countries exhibiting works of 500 artists of different nationalities, the BEIRUT ART FAIR’s strenght is found in its ability to arouse meetings and discoveries.

A: What are the novelties expected for the 2013 edition?
L: This year, BEIRUT ART FAIR emphasizes the Lebanes contemporary design with notably the “BLC DESIGN PLATFORM”, but also the photo journalism of war with “GENERATION WAR”, a space sponsored by Marine Jacquemin, journalist and international correspondent.

The “South East Asia Pavillon” will give a new step to the BEIRUT ART FAIR development. Indeed, we can note the participation of twenty or so Malaysian, Filippino, Indonesian, Thai and Singaporean artists. “COLLECTIVE PERSPECTIVE” will offer us to have a new glance on this creation still unknown from the public. Moreover, we associate ourselves to the effervescence and cultural dynamism of Beirut, by organizing an “hors les murs” itinerary: the BEIRUT ART WEEK. 25 works of art, essentially sculptures, will be exhibited at the heart of the city, notably the works of major artists of the international stage like Mona Hatoum, Xavier Veilhan or Matthew Monahan of whom works come from the Aishti Foundation’s collection, but also the monumental white scalps in bronze of Philippe Paska, which will be exhibited for the first time in Beirut.

A: What is your long term vision of the fair?
L:We want to strengthen our process of opening to all the contemporary artistic practising and we want to offer a bigger visibility to all of those who contribute to ME.NA.SA artistic culture.
For all that, BEIRUT ART FAIR is still in coherence with its original values: Our quality demand and our desire of exchange and share are our main challenge for the next years.

A: You’re about to launch Singapore Art Fair in 2014, can you please say a little more about that?
L: We noticed that the Arab world is turning more and more to Asia, and reciprocally. The same wish of exchange and discovery animates the actors of the art market in those two areas.
They have in common a dynamic, a creativity, some strong identity values and an interest for emerging talents ready to acquire a visibility on the international artistic stage. Moreover, I would like to highlight the excellent results obtained in auctions for these two markets for the last six years. The exhibitions organized in museums, galleries and foundations demonstrate this mutual enthusiasm. It is in this context that we created this year the “South East Asia Pavillon” which will be developed during the next editions.
The last announces the birth of SINGAPORE ART FAIR, the new event we’re organizing from November 27th to November 30th 2014. On the occasion of this first edition, a Libenese Pavillon will pay tribute to the modern and contemporary creation of this country.

A: On a geopolitical plan, ME.NA.SA is a full-of-change region. Have you felt a similar impact on artistic creation in this world region for the last few years?
L: Indeed, the artistic speech has evidently evolved with the geopolitical changes. Artists are inspired by their daily life, so it was logical that the creation is turning to more social and political subjects…
Artists from the ME.NA.SA region work on the notions of identity, immigration, cultural convergence. It is obvious that the arabs revolutions have allowed a freedom of expression. Street Art has exploded in some regions. Photography, video, numerical supports are some reactive tools that allow the artists from young generations to disseminate their works in real time.

A: Who is your favorite artist, discovered during the last Beirut Art editions?
L: It is hard to cite just one and I’ve had numerous favorite artists. I can name Simeen FarahtAyman BaalbakiAbdel Rahman Katanani or also  Agus Suwage, but despite all the affection I have for their works they are only the poor reflection of a creation that needs to be discovered…

A: Are you yourself a collector?
L: Yes, I’ve been collecting for a long time. I am passionate of archeology and also modern and contemporary art.

A: How would you consider the Artsper project?
L: Three words come to my mind to define it: Young, ambitious and innovative

A: Can you give us a wishlist of ten or so works of art on the website?


Jean Pierre ATTAL



Leopold RABUS

Massimo VITALI