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OPENING OF THE NEW EXHIBITION SPACE: conversation between Melanie Meffrer Rondeau & Olivier Belot

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After the crazy but smart idea to establish the gallery in the heart of St Ouen flea market in an old warehouse, here you are, boulevard Magenta. Why this neighborhood? A promising potential?

Mélanie Meffrer Rondeau : We like the idea of being in a neighborhood which is continuously creating and recreating its identity. Moreover, being the only gallery in the area helps us believe that our visitors can spend more time over here. It is also a way to confront ourselves to a public that may not be very familiar with the art world.

 

Olivier Belot: Our main focus is to avoid following a trend and to bring people to see "art" and artworks in unexpected places. Leaving our comfort zone is a necessity. Artists are always raising questions about the place of human beings, society and policies. We cannot ignore this fact.

Is untilthen back as a classic gallery or will it be again an unusual exhibition space? What will be the gallery's dynamics and what does that inspire you?

M.M.R. : We will not have any opening on the street, and the main space will not be designed as a white cube. In fact, the gallery will be just like a house where Olivier and I are the hosts...

 

O.B. : We were dreaming of a house for the artists. This is what we have always wanted to put forward and now we are making it happen with this new space. The shape is probably less problematic for all of us and what we should not forget is that it is a living space in the first place.

Can we have a hint on the program? Are you keeping some 'hors-les-murs' exhibitions? What about foreign art fairs?

M.M.R. : We will have artists holding exhibitions about every 8 weeks in the main space of the gallery. This space has to be lively and occupied. We would also like to invite curators to work with us and we will be collaborating with Stéphanie Rollin and David Brognon. We are really glad to take part in FIAC this year and we cannot wait for Douglas Gordon’s exhibition that we will hold at the gallery in october 2017. And there will also be Gaëlle Choisne’s first exhibition in Paris, in the beginning of 2018.

 
 

 O.B. : We have been accepted at the FIAC for the very first time. We could not be happier. Regarding the 'hors-les murs' program, the gallery's role is also to find other possibilities and to bring people to see its artists' works. It is very important to avoid institutionnalizing the galleries’ world and to offer other forms.

You have been working together for a few years now. What is the secret of your longevity? In other words, what helps you hold on ?

M.M.R. : Indeed, we have been working together for 15 years now. It took some time to get to know and to appreciate each other (which was not the case at the beginning...). However, today, we have a certain way to work together and we know how to move forward to help our project grow up. We do communicate a lot, without hiding our disagreements. At the end of the day, it is like for every relationship... Communication, compromises, patience and a lot of love.

 
 

O.B. : Showing respect and listening to the one another. I do not expect my associate to be just like me, but on the contrary, I try to understand her differences, her complementarities. Working together is to tell each other soft things as well as tough ones. 

Until then .... How do you see the next 10 years?

M.M.R. : Like an uncontrollable fit of laughter… 

 

O.B. : What I wish for us it keep that same curiosity for the artworks. I also hope that we do not ever fall in a sacralization of the object but that we keep the gallery as a place of experimentation for the artists.

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