Cutlog (October 22-25) http://www.cutlog.org/ is the newest addition to Paris’s art fair circuit and it arrives at a time when the Fiac, (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain), is looking better than ever. Paris’s Fiac with its emphasis on established, modern artists attracts about 60,000 visitors annually on a par with London’s Frieze, held a week previously. But while Paris and the Fiac have tended to look a bit dowdy over the past few years, compared to the more contemporary selection in London, the financial crisis which has taken a much bigger bite out of contemporary art sales than Impressionist and modern art, has altered the perspective.
Bruno Hadjadj launched Cutlog with more inspiration than connections because he’ never let obstacles get in the way of a good idea. A sculptor and set designer who runs Spree, one of the city’s best fashion stores with his wife Roberta, he’s an autodidact. In 2006, when legendry club CBGBs closed in New York City, Hadjadj was on the pavement front and center—nearly forty-eight sleepless hours— to document the crowd who came to pay their respects. The results turned into “Bye Bye CBGB,” his self published visual account of the event. That same year he also produced and directed “Banditos,” along the Eastern seaboard, a handmade road movie.
Participating at Cutlog are about 30 galleries from Germany, the U.S., Italy, Spain, the U.K. and France including Paris’s Artfact and Berlin’s Kwadrat, Icoba, a new artistic coalition from New York and Spain’s Raina Lupa from Barcelona. “The common denominator with the galleries participating is that Cutlog is their first spot in a major art fair. They’re all very closely involved with the artists they represent as well. It’s almost more familial than commercial,” says Hadjadj who was surprised by the decrease in video. “There is a real return to painting,’ he adds, “and photography is now at the same level.”
Held at Paris’s old Bourse de Commerce, a circular building in the center with an iron and glass dome Victor Hugo once likened to a jockey’s cap, Cutlog is close to the Centre Pompidou and not far from the Jeu de Paume at Concorde and the Fiac, held at the nearby Grand Palais, the Louvre’s Cour Carée and the Tuileries gardens. The location gives Cutlog an advantage over Slick (October 23-26), Paris’s other young fair, staged at Centquatre in the 19th, the huge arts center recently opened on the site of what was once the city’s municipal funeral complex.