PONTS DES ARTS
The Pont des Arts connects the left bank of Paris (at the level of the Institut de France) to its right bank, (facing the Cour Carrée of the Louvre Palace). The result of a meeting between a French family and a Greek, La Chapelle, humbly, wants to be a bridge between two shores of Europe while also opening to the other shores of the world. To live in a country is not only to live there but also to have the possibility to take part in its destiny; to be, at one’s own level, an actor, a citizen. Europe offers its citizens the possibility of a de facto dual nationality. It offers the possibility of creating bridges between people and their respective cultures. To be part of this new territory, to take part in its identity, we have chosen the Pont des Arts. It seems to us that this initiative comes at an opportune moment for our two countries and for their artists.
Paris is in the process of regaining its position as a major center of the world art market without losing the vitality of its local artistic fabric, as has been the case for other leading capitals. Artists’ incubators are multiplying (POUSH Manifesto, Artagon, Villa Belleville, Le Wonder, Le 6B etc.), French galleries are exporting more and more, and foreign galleries (large and small) are flocking there to establish their gateway to the European continent. In addition to a cultural sector historically subsidized by the State - the country is now open to large-scale private initiatives (Louis Vuitton Foundation, Bourse du Commerce, Lafayette Anticipations etc.). Today - a city with an already solid market and a still-vibrant ecosystem - Paris is reclaiming its image as a scholar and a city conducive to thought, reflection, exchanges and intuitions. Timeless and a little rebellious - it stands up against short-term or efficiency injunctions - which have proven to be far too incompatible with the act of creating and the desire to invent.
If the crisis of 2010 pushed many young Greeks to leave their native country to find job opportunities that match their qualifications the crisis of COVID and the economic recovery of Greece have encouraged many of them to return to their country to take part in its renewal. Strengthened by their experiences abroad they have come to enrich a dynamism initiated by compatriots with their own unique culture which today makes Athens a European capital with a strong identity. Artistically this dynamism was reflected in the holding in 2017 in Athens of Documenta 14. Two years later the Goulandris Foundation opened its new museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. In 2020 the city inaugurates the country’s first National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in the Koukaki district. The DESTE and NEON Foundations and the arrival of international galleries such as Allouche Benias, Rodeo Gallery or Gagosian also contribute to make Athens not only a cultural center turned towards its past, but a real city-destination for contemporary art. Encouraged by a growing institutional fabric - an influx of artists from European capitals that have become too expensive and always in search of large and affordable spaces - many curators follow the movement to make Athens an emerging and unavoidable place of European Art.
To be able on our own scale and through Art to be at the initiative of a new cultural bridge between France and Greece and between Greece and the rest of the world is for us a great source of fulfillment. By being there each month at the origin of a meeting between a Greek artist and a foreign artist, we hope to give birth to a binomial that will enrich the work of each.