[October 21 2019]
Parallel to the FIAC art fair, which took place in Paris last week, was the inaugural edition of Salon de Normandy by The Community, a collaborative and multidisciplinary salon at the Normandy Hôtel, between October 17 and 20, 2019.
Hosted and curated by The Community, a collective-run, independent, and multidisciplinary art institution, the Salon continued the collective’s dedication to promoting new and emerging talents and forward-thinking and experimental art through interdisciplinary programming. For 4 days, the Salon gathered together an international community of galleries, exhibition spaces, projects, fashion collectives, art publishers, and experimental music labels.
Amidst the participants, photographer Nick Sethi presented photographs taken over 10 years in India, as well as a display of Indian objects, artworks, and ephemera. His work explores India’s rapidly changing identity, as well as his own, and the ever-changing meanings and relationships of ideas, images, people, and materials over time as they move through both physical and digital space. Down the hall, for the first time publicly RareBooksParis brought together a specially curated selection of rare and out of print titles. Auto Body from New York presented the group show “A Hotel Setting” inviting eight Paris-based artists and designers in the context of room 212 at the hotel. Auto Body’s installation included subtle interventions from each artist and designer, transforming the existing hotel room, and in effect blurring the line between historical décor and the works themselves. Acting as an extension of The Community’s multidisciplinary direction, the Experimental Space on the second floor included an exclusive selection of unique pieces by international fashion designers whose collections are not yet available in France.
Each night of the Salon, a live act activated the ground floor of the hotel. The program of public events varied from concerts, performances, readings, books, and magazine launches, such as dominatrix and writer Reba Maybury reading from ‘The Consequences of His and Hers’ (2018-19) at the Piano Room, Berlin-based record label PAN (founded by Bill Kouligas) presenting a special screening of films by Jenna Sutela, James Hoff, and Spiros Hadjidjanos, and Slovene ambient music artist e/tape performing a 3-hour soundscape at the main hall of the hotel.
Due to its first large-scale renovation in the hôtel’s 150-year-old history, the Salon and its participants occupied more than 15 different spaces within the building. For some artists, the hotel room-exhibition space even doubled as accommodation. It was this unique space and energy that had some comparing the Salon to Colin De Land’s infamous 1994 The Gramercy International Art Fair, which has now become The Armory Show.
Photo Beata Duvaker and Ieva Lygnugaryte