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Combining modern art and contemporary art with happiness, the Parisian spring fair offered us a 25th successful edition between 29 March and 2 April. Through a “Promise” sector dedicated to young galleries and to very small emerging creation, we were able to make beautiful discoveries, and rediscoveries, with 154 galleries from 25 countries brought together. Here are a few. 

© David Kowalski Courtesy Dilecta. Photo / Nicolas Brasseur

At Dilecta, the tiny grey paintings by David Kowalski (1979) struck us with their strangeness and great poetry. Strange in their reduced format, but also their photographic framing; strange monochrome that might suggest that they are drawn; strange also their repetitive patterns: bushy landscapes of sub-The wood emerges from ghostly silhouettes of deserted houses or from views of empty interiors with windows pierced by pale lights…

© David Kowalski
Courtesy Dilecta.
Photo / Nicolas Brasseur

Landscapes painted in greyish hues that look like fairy-tale or film-noir scenery… Yet it is a great softness that emanates from these canvases, created by superimposing layers of paint, erased, faded, or even sanded in places. And it is probably this subtle interplay of additions and removals of matter that creates the vaporous density of these silent landscapes. 

Gray poets

You had to lift your head to see Mark Jenkins’ (1970) Roof Girl perched on the top of the Danyzs gallery skyline. Dressed in jeans and a banal sweatshirt, with her hands in her pockets, her face bent over by her hair, this teenage puppet destined to hit the passerby with her incongruous presence could go unnoticed, just like most street sculptures American artist.

© Mark Jeankins
Courtesy Danysz Gallery

Thus staged in the position of the voyeur, in an inappropriate place, the faceless teenager leaning on the void had, however, enough to interplay the barge… The undefined faces condensing hundreds of faces (photographed in the room) of Laurent Lafolie also evoke the vulnerability of being through the fragility of the image, on the stand of the gallery Binôme…

Li Donglu, La nuit, 2023, huile sur toile, 114 x 195 cm
© A2Z Art Galler

Troubled faces

Fragility we have also seen magnificently put into abyss in the collages of photographer and fashion designer Antwerp Gert Motmans (1972), shown at the Esther Woerdehoff gallery. Composed from torn photographs or newspaper clippings and fragments of small painted landscapes mixing the truncated faces of skies, mountains and seas, these patched images give a glimpse of the fantasy of remembrance. 

Gert Motmans, DAY 11, 2022 Série Now it’s day, but I am dreaming, Analog collage, silver gelatin prints © Gert Motmans, courtesy Galerie Esther Woerdehoff. DAY 11

Also enigmatic are the large landscapes, beautifully painted with oil by Li Donglu (born 1982 in Guangzhou, China). Deserted and timeless landscapes, often nocturnal, icy mountains, boiling earth, smoky rocks, and misty woods, evoking some primitive cosmogonies heralding Chaos / mixing Genesis with Chaos…


More soaring, the palimpsest landscapes of Yann Lacroix: lush vegetations invading architectures, or rather, overlapping with architectural views as if time (or memory) had deposited there by strata.

Yann Lacroix, Sans titre (Room with a stranger view) 2019

An impression made by the interplay of transparencies and gradations, bringing the colors, more or less bright or faded, into resonance. Just as the forms that, between appearance and disappearance, plunge us into the vagueness of reminiscences or the fog of dreams. The landscape here is Interiority. 

> David Kowalski 


49, rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth, Paris III

> Mark Jenkins 

Danysz Gallery 

78, rue Amelot, Paris III

> Laurent Lafolie 

Galerie Binôme

19, rue Charlemagne, Paris, IV

> Gert Motmans 

Galerie Esther Woerdehoff 

36, rue Falguière, Paris XV

>  Li Donglu 

A2 Z Gallery 

24, rue de l’Echaudé, Paris VI

>  Yann Lacroix 

Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou

45, rue Chapon, Paris III

Stéphanie Dulout