Farideh Cadot – Gallery owner in Paris – JOURNAL DES ARTS 7 JULY 2017
‘ART IS IN THE PROCESS OF DYING OUT’
After opening her first gallery in April 1976 in an abandoned factory in the 13th district of Paris, Farideh Cadot moved to Marais ; 77 rue des archives from 1981 to 2002, and simultaneously managed a space in SoHo, New York from 1985 to 1993. On June 20 she announced that she was definitively closing her public space on rue notre-dame-de-nazareth (Marais) where she has been since October 2010.
Why are you closing your gallery?
I’m only closing the public space, not stopping my work. I’ll just be doing it in a different way, in my private space, a few blocks away; on 110, rue Vieille-du-Temple in the Marais. I will be working on my archives, representing and promoting same artists, will do exhibitions and events but only upon invitations for those who have the mentality to look at the works of art, a rarity these days!
When I started out, this profession had a whole different dimension. Richard Serra slept in my living room on a mattress (left alone in Paris after the Centre Pompidou, rejected his sculpture project), Sol LeWitt cooked pasta, likewise for the musicians, I’ll be picking up Philip Glass or Ron Gorchov in my old Renault. I wasn’t of the same generation but it was a period when, whether an artist, gallery owner or art critic, the most important thing was to preserve one’s way of thinking, way of living.. What we did ressembled to what we though and said. The only thing we didn’t think about was money. Not that we didn’t like it or did not have a need for it, it just wasn’t the primary or main goal.
What changed this point of view?
Our strength was that those who had money were almost intimidated; they barely dared to enter the galleries because they knew that their money could not buy everything; that more than that was required for art. My collectors at the time and who still accompany me today are people who buy with their hearts and their minds, with whom there has always been an intellectual exchange, a friendship and a connection. Whole afternoons were spent deep in discussion in the gallery. The aim was not just to sell. Now it’s the opposite. I already wrote a manifesto on this subject in 2011 in journal Liberation in which I announced this decline. Today, when you read about the opening of a foundation in Mexico it’s all about the people, the outfits and the party, but never about what there is to see. almost as though the art was in the process of dying out.
How would you Explain this?
After the stock exchange and property rich people turned to art not for the love of it but mainly looking for a certain notoriety .. By giving money to a museum, one becomes a member or through other channels one even becomes the taste maker or even can select the works, having access to commissions, etc… I know heads of entreprises who have become millionaires by selling old or second hand cloths on the Net. with no culture as such, but purchasing works worth l, 3, 4 or 10 million euros suffices to have a 4 page spread in papers and be proud to be listed on a VIP dinner and be considered un important person!! What else can help promote them and their merchandise better in terms of communication? These days all you need is a good press agent in order to have your photo published in Vanity Fair. I am not interested in that. Besides all that we had fun and there is no fun any more!
Because people chase money. With more than half the galleries in the Marais always empty, one may wonder how on earth they survive. Why are they are obliged to keep a space; pnly because of the « dikta » of the art fairs? I was present at such fairs as Basel , Chicago, Fiac and Arco for twenty years. I stopped because the artists with whom I work are like me: they didn’t want to feature in these showcases. In addition, these days fair directors impose what should be exhibited because of the demands of the market. So what do these galleries do to survive? They rent out their spaces four times a year during the famous ‘Fashion week’, enabling them to cover their rent and perhaps a little more. If that is what life is about, then I’m not interested. Likewise, there are no real private viewings anymore but instead there are very private dinners organised days before so that « important people’ don’t bump into other people. As the expression goes: when you cannot change the world, you change worlds. Well, I have the freedom to do so. What surprises and touches me is that my attitude is in the process of launching the debate on this art world that has become lawless & godless and wild!
Interviewed by : Henri-François Debailleux