Wednesday, December 1

Papier is Montreal’s largest and most fashionable art fair by far

Initially created as an alternative to the Art Toronto fair, Papier has become an essential meeting point for galleries here to foster their own identity.

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“It’s easy to be intimidated by contemporary art,” said Karine Vanasse, “but hopefully that barrier will disappear. We need new art lovers. “


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The Quebec actress is the spokesperson for the fourteenth edition of Papier, which runs Friday through Sunday on the Grand Quai in Montreal’s Old Port. With 35 galleries displaying works by some 400 artists, it is by far the largest art fair in the city, not to mention the trendiest arts event of the year, every year. From high-profile collectors to casual readers, gallerists and established and emerging artists, it is the convergence point of a who’s who in the Montreal art world.

“It’s really important for Montreal, but also for Quebec and Canada,” said Antoine Ertaskiran, co-owner of the Bradley Ertaskiran gallery and vice chairman of the board of the Association des galleries d’art contemporain, the Canadian nonprofit organization. What does Papier wear?


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Originally created as an alternative to the spotlight, Art Toronto fair, Papier has become an essential meeting point for galleries to promote their own identity.

“Before the pandemic, there were collectors and curators coming from all over Canada to Montreal for the fair,” Ertaskiran said. “It is very important for galleries to show artists, meet clients and for the vitality of the art scene in Quebec.”

As its name suggests, Papier’s fame is exhibiting works on paper. It’s a one-of-a-kind business card that once made the event stand out from the crowd (and kept the prices affordable), but that’s changing with the times.

“The goal of Papier was to be a different kind of fair, so we chose a medium,” said Ertaskiran. “It could have been photography. In the last two years, we have opened up to other media. “


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Fair parameters suggest that galleries display at least 50 percent works on paper. Ertaskiran believes that the fair could one day end the requirement entirely.

“I think that will be the evolution of Papier,” he said. “I think Montreal is mature enough to have a real, full-blown art fair, a bigger fair. We already have great sponsors, who I am sure will be on board. Time will tell.”

With more than 16,000 visitors a year, Papier is already a big business. Ertaskiran sees the fair as a gateway for Montréal to take an interest in visiting the city’s art galleries throughout the year.

“It shouldn’t be just one time of the year,” he said. “We want people to come to our galleries on a regular basis. With Papier, we remind people once a year, with a big event, that contemporary art exists, galleries exist ”.


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For Vanasse, Papier’s appeal is about opening up the art world to everyone.

“It’s the right environment,” he said. “It is contemporary art, but there is something very festive and accessible about it, with the mix of expert collectors who come knowing they have access to specific artists, who are passing through the fair alongside someone who might be visiting an art fair for the first time. time. time in your life. That mix is ​​very interesting. “

Papier is even more attractive this year, after last year’s event was forced to go fully virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This edition is done in a hybrid format, offering both face-to-face and online options.

Among the attractions is Papier Educational Talk Series, including The Uncollectible: Working With the Emerald Outside the Museum Walls (Friday noon); Jean-Paul Riopelle: His global and contemporary legacy (Friday at 2pm); and Emergence / Transition: The Bronfman Fellows in Contemporary Art, a conversation with the 2020 and 2021 winners of the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art, hosted by Eunice Bélidor, curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Quebec and contemporary art Canadian, Saturday noon.


Paper runs from Friday, November 26 to Sunday, November 28 at the Grand Quai in the Old Port. For tickets and more information, visit

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