How did it all begin?
As all the events that lead you further from where you would have imagined, it started with an unexpected meeting, five years ago. We had a friend in common. I (Charlotte) was a lawyer at this time and was fascinated with Pierre because of his passion and knowledge. I quit my job and started a new life in art, while Pierre was studying art at school. Subsequently we both had many different experiences in the art world, in France and abroad, and then Pierre called me last August to tell me that it was time to build something together, and here we are!
What is your background?
Pierre-Arnaud: I studied History of Art and the art market in Paris, then I was a trainee at Artcurial (first French auction house) and I met my first client there as an art advisor. From this time I started to work as a full time advisor before going to New York where I worked for the Martos Gallery. After a year there I ran Martos’ space in L.A. and returned to France when Charlotte and I decided to open our own gallery.
Charlotte: I was a corporate tax lawyer after studying law for about 8 years. Then I studied History of Art at Ecole du Louvre and La Sorbonne University where I also got my law degree. I worked for Artcurial (with Pierre!), for FIAC, and in a communication agency specializing in contemporary art.
What does the name of the gallery mean?
Pact is the acronym from our initials: Pierre-Arnaud (Doucède) and Charlotte Trivini.
Pact also refers to the way we design each exhibition as an artistic pact. Thus, each show is the result of a stimulating conversation: either with the work of another artist who influenced the exhibited works (this historical work, from the secondary market or loaned by a gallery or a collector, and presented within the same exhibition, may be a contemporary art work, a modern one, Art Brut, Tribal Art, etc.); or through the intervention of someone outside the contemporary art world, whose work or identity correlates to the theme of the exhibition (a mathematician, dancer, surgeon, film director etc.).
What is the program of your gallery?
Our commitment is to display the talent of artists with no or very little visibility in France, whether or not they are already recognised abroad. We also love interactions between art and other fields like technology: how technology influences art and vice versa. Many of the artists we show deal with this problematic and consider art as a research, like scientists or “experimentators”. We are both part of the Y generation and our choices reflect it, even though we are open to any kind of approachand would be able to show very different artists.
Tell us about your “collaboration shows”
It comes from our wish to enrich exhibitions with a highlight. We both have many interests aside from art, like cinema, science, philosophy etc. And we wanted these fields to link together. But it is always the choice of the artist. Sometimes we suggest something, sometimes the artist suggests the collaboration, but at the end it is a consensus between the artist and us.
For our inaugural show last April, we realized that Manuel Scano Larrazàbal had so many inspirations like dance and music that we introduced him to a choreographer and performer, who wrote a text about the exhibition and we organized a dialogue between the two, with a journalistic approach, that people could read to get a key to understanding the exhibition and the artist’s spirit when visiting the exhibition. Our summer show brought together the American painter Michael Bevilacqua with the composer Jake Harper (Banrei) who created a song especially for the exhibition basing it on «Spies in the wire», which is a song by the band Cabaret Voltaire.
And for our next three shows, we will implement pacts with a more historical approach: Dorian Gaudin with a piece by Gianni Motti (lent by Perrotin gallery), Ethan Greenbaum with vintage photography by Aaron Siskind (lent by François Sage gallery) and then Gosia Walton with a historical piece of Piotr Kowalski.
Are you going to build a roster of artists you represent? With whom?
Yes, we will definitely build a roster. Even if there isn’t one for the moment, we already plan long term work together with artists, but we also consider one-time collaborations with some; it will depend on many criteria. We definitely don’t want to have a short roster and show the same artists over and over again, but neither we want to only do shows without any perspectives for the future; so it is a balance that we build and it takes time to be ambitious and connected to who we are and where we want to go.
As a young gallery, how do you think the model of the art gallery should be changed, or renewed?
To have a physical space is still necessary; it is where you invite people, where you discuss, it is especially a permanent meeting point that reassures people on the sustainability of your initiative. But in the other hand, the model should be of its time and our time is a time of decompartmentalization. That’s why we introduced the pact to enlarge the simple specter of a traditional gallery and to bring many different profiles to our sphere.
And definitely people shouldn’t have any limit but fair-play and generosity: from our part we do exactly what we love and we humbly try to be passers, to give people some ways to think and to marvel, to learn them things but most of all to learn from them. I would add that most of art people should renovate their state of mind in being more humble, to throw away their condescension: nobody should take advantage/power on others because having an information or knowledge they don’t have.
And the art scene of Paris?
Politicians should not not to forget the importance of a specific taxation for art. If our taxation system is not competitive enough, we would leave the international zone of exchanges and our market would die.
To make Paris become more international, we should enable people at school to go abroad and watch how the art world works out there. Being self centered is a shame, isn’t it?
And to find funding when creating a business in art in France is very difficult. I would then say that to make Paris more dynamic we have to make administrative and banking issues easier.
But there are many good things happening right now: the Pinault foundation is opening very soon, and there are many new fairs and very good exhibitions at an international level in our institutions.
What are the difficulties of a gallery at the very beginning?
Many things need to be done before opening the gallery: having a network for collectors, press, other galleries, fairs, etc. When you start, people are afraid to trust you. So you need to give them evidence of your abilities, knowledge and choices. And that is a construction that begins long before the day of the opening, which is a difficult but also a great challenge that all the great dealers have known and overcome.
What are your plans for the future?
To expand while remaining independent and with the same energy and love for art and people (we’re not trying to be cool but if we become cool, that would be cool!)
And to help others. It might take years, but why not using art for other purposes?