Art, Meet

Meeting with a pre-Columbian art enthusiast

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Rue Jacob, facing the prettiest square in Paris where the Delacroix Museum is teamed up with the Maison du Chou, the Galerie Furstenberg shines with its uniqueness and originality on the Parisian art market. Prized by specialists, insiders and enthusiasts of pre-Columbian art, it deciphers forgotten worlds that have a lot to teach us about modernity.

Meeting with Jean Christophe ARGILLET, the guardian angel of these exceptional pieces.

What is the history of the gallery?

It was my parents who opened it in 1971, with an exhibition on Dali and surrealism. This DNA persisted for a long time, then I saw a wonderful exhibition in 1997, in Geneva, on Mexico. It overwhelmed me and opened up a new field of reflection, which took shape in the gallery.

Pre-Columbian art; a passion ?

A passion, a fascination. A mystery still surrounds these civilizations of which little is known. The first archaeological discovery concerning the pre-Columbians took place very late, in the XNUMXth century: it paved the way for three stylistic millennia. The objects that can be admired here are the only testimonies of these cultures; they are objects that survived destruction, prohibitions of worship...

How does pre-Columbian art remain fertile in modernity?

To me, it represents the opposite of a dangerous trend in our telephone age. People free themselves from the real in favor of the virtual: the image is photographed before being looked at, captured before being experienced; as if everything passed through the filter of the screen. We are witnessing an abuse of the image and of everything connected. These objects have within them the power to invite us to look again, with the eyes and not with the screen, because they are endowed with a presence that no photograph can ever fill.

Are we talking about art(s) in the singular or in the plural?

Of arts in the plural! Objects, styles, forms are very different from one region to another, at the same time. The statuary clearly reveals the degree of advancement of a civilization. Aztec art, for example, which enjoys good press, is less interesting than that of the first millennium BC. He is degenerate, represents a disintegrating society, obsessed with death.

Do you have any projects on fire?

In May, I go to the Abbey of Cluny for the Bourgogne Tribal Show, an international tribal art fair that brings together specialists and excites curiosities. I would like to convey the message that pre-Columbian art is not reserved for specialists: it is for the curious, for those who like to cultivate their interests and open their eyes!

⇒ Practical information: FURSTENBERG GALLERY – 8, rue Jacob – 75006 PARIS // 01 43 25 89 58



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