French government hosts London reception to boost visual arts relations


Increasing co-operation between the visual art communities in the UK and France was the priority at a reception at the French Embassy in London yesterday. The meeting was held “in the context of art fairs in London and Paris” and is the first step to “building a relationship that will be constructive and supportive for both nations”, said the French ambassador to the UK, Hélène Duchêne.

This fortnight of back-to-back art fairs in the two cities, centred around Frieze London and Paris + par Art Basel, has invited comparisons between the two European art market hubs, and has raised fears that London is losing its dominant position.

Speaking to The Art Newspaper, Isabelle Manci, the French cultural attaché to the UK, says that “you can look at the proximity of these two fairs, of these two markets, as facing each other off, or coming together. I view this as a very strong moment for this part of Europe in general, with opportunities for cross-over. We hope Asian and American collectors coming to London will then stay on for Paris, and alternatively, international travellers coming to Paris will come early to see London’s art”.

A more concrete means of cross-channel collaboration was launched at the event by way of a new £15,000 prize supporting a UK artist showing at Frieze London to show in a French institution.

Organised by Fluxus Art Projects, a not-for-profit organisation formed in 2010 to support art in the UK and France, it has awarded the inaugural prize to Josèfa Ntjam, who has a solo presentation at London gallery Nicoletti in Frieze Focus. Fluxus also supports the annual residencies of four French artists to UK institutions, such as Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridge, and UK artists to French institutions, including CAPC Musée d’art Contemporain in Bordeaux.


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