It's priceless: #soon

13 - 19 April 2020

Some of you are aware of the physical and intellectual connection that we love to construct at the gallery with our friends, artists, collectors, and authors…

Could the health crisis that we are currently traversing put a strain on this connection? I don’t believe it for a second. This crisis, on the contrary, asks us to think now about what tomorrow will be. To correct our errors, I hope, but also and above all, to intensify what makes us strong, to place human qualities and aesthetic choices in a better light, which the standardisation and globalisation of the art world have managed to stifle.

So it struck me quite quickly that I would only regain my foothold in the “real world” by taking stock of the two main factors that this crisis has brought to light and that, in and of themselves, are and should be the alpha and omega of any gallerist: the “truth of the work of art” and the “truth of its price”.

The “truth of the artwork” is – or at least, I believe so – the reason our heart beats. Far from a certain kind of contemporary art that manipulates gigantism and brutality and that – as Annie Le Brun rightly denounces – attempts to reconfigure our sensibility, to annihilate our subjectivity, it is a matter of restoring to artists and their works their rightful place, of recovering the ontological relationship to the work of art.

However, clearly there is a second factor that we must consider. How could we believe that the economic explosion that will rock the economy, and the art market all the more so, will not reshuffle the deck of what is commonly called “the price of an artwork”? An artwork is priceless and hence the truth of its price is that it stems from an agreement between a buyer, the artist, and the gallerist, who – after familiarising themselves with the artwork and the conditions of its creation as closely as possible, after having discussed and debated it, and in short, depending on how indispensable or essential to its eventual owner each of the three parties considers it to be – decide its value.
Far from arbitrary tools of evaluation, attempts to define a “rating”, far from the process of financialisation of the art world, I dare to affirm that an artwork is priceless. It is worth as much 10 as it is 100.

Therefore, to give form to these thoughts, as of now, through our viewing room and social networks, we will start a new experiment: It’s Priceless. A presentation that will initially take place online and for which no image of the artwork itself will be revealed. To fight against the excess of commodities, images, and information (which Annie Le Brun – once again – likens to a “censorship through excess”), It’s Priceless will be an exhibition format in which I will explain for each of the presented artworks why it is priceless to me.
And the work will have even less of a price in that no price will exist before we start to discuss it. We will establish this price among ourselves (the potential buyer, the artist, and the gallery)!
We’ve been given a chance to get together (artists, collectors, art lovers, journalists, authors, and gallerists) around a means of apprehending art. Around artworks that resonate with us and bear a message or emotions. Far from the deafening ruckus of their commonly accepted conditions of display.

Let us live and relive the sensitive world (in the two senses of the term: what we touch and what touches us), only the froth or flotsam of which was still reaching us. Let’s open up new horizons. It’s Priceless.

Christophe Gaillard.