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Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Perrotin is pioneering new ways to see art at its gallery without being physically there. Gone are the days where must visit the esteemed show in person, and here are the days of online viewing rooms. And for the Bharti Kher and Cinga Samson’s shows that unexpectedly closed early at the gallery, there are still many other ways to explore their practices.
Whitewall spoke with Peggy Leboeuf, Partner of Perrotin, about what’s on view in the gallery’s first-ever online viewing room, and which artists are keeping her inspired.
WHITEWALL: Tell us a bit about Perrotin’s first-ever online viewing room.
PEGGY LEBOEUF: Our debut presentation at Art Basel Hong Kong spans almost six decades, from the 1960s onwards to the present day. It was important for us to showcase the dynamism of the gallery’s roster. Pillars of contemporary art such as Daniel Arsham and Eddie Martinez sit beside canonical artists such as Hans Hartung and Georges Mathieu.
WW: On view are artists like Daniel Arsham, Elmgreen & Dragset, JR, Georges Mathieu, and Takashi Murakami—all very visual artists. What will the viewer be able to see online, opposed to seeing in person?
PL: For me, the beauty of a virtual presentation is in its simplicity. You can spend as long as you like with a work and see it from all angles. We intentionally chose pieces that are materially rich, and that particularly shine in the detail shots. Art fairs are immense opportunities for connection and collaboration; however, the quiet details of the work can often get lost in the excitement.
WW: How are you seeing or anticipating artists, collectors, and the public react to something like an online viewing room at Perrotin?
PL: When I first entered the art world, everything hinged on physical connection. Art was, and is, an unparalleled transcendental, experience. Digital will never replace that feeling, or quite convey the textural properties of certain pieces. But digital offers a different way of seeing, and in many ways, its own revelations. Collectors are ready to engage in a dialogue about innovation and adaptation, as are we.
On another note, there is a feeling of solidarity amongst members of the art world. We are all in this together.
WW: The gallery’s shows by Bharti Kher and Cinga Samson closed early. How can the viewer still experience these works?
PL: In so many ways! We are so fortunate that Siddhartha Mitter just wrote an exquisite review for Cinga in The New York Times. I would suggest starting there. Then, I would sit down and watch our video series. Listening to Bharti speak about her practice is incredibly enthralling. It all lives on our website, alongside virtual views of both shows! Finally, we have worked with our in-house photographer for years and value his expert ability to document our artists as they intend. For us, a robust archive is absolutely essential.
WW: During this difficult time, how are you doing with COVID-19? Where are you enjoying seeing art?
PL: I truly believe in art’s ability to nourish during dark times and bring us together. I am using this time to do a deep reading of some essential texts, especially those I was saving for a rainy day—Patrick Charpenel on Gabriel Rico, Daniel Arsham in conversation with Ludovic Laugier, Joseph Henry on Salman Toor’s practice, as well as Pieranna Cavalchini on Bharti Kher. I am especially excited about John Henderson’s new monograph, which was imminently published and is an expansive introduction to his rigorous painting practice.
WW: Are there any social media accounts you’re particularly enjoying right now, during a time where so much is online?
PL: Daniel Arsham! His meditations on life, creativity, and the world are invaluable. Best of all, it’s all on his social media. And of course, Murakami!