Meet Alexis Rastel, Director, ARCHIRAAR
We asked a few questions to Alexis Rastel, Director of Archiraar Gallery in Brussels, and exhibitor of the new "Focus Brussels" section in 2020: professional background, gallery programming, participation in the fair, Brussels art scene and flagship work exhibited this year are in the spotlight.
We asked a few questions to Alexis Rastel, Director of Archiraar Gallery in Brussels, and exhibitor of the new "Focus Brussels" section in 2020: professional background, gallery programming, participation in the fair, Brussels art scene, and flagship work exhibited this year are in the spotlight in this interview.
The gallery and its programme
Naturally, I went from being an architect to that of a gallery owner. The cultural references are close, and these two careers require the same entrepreneurial desire. Since my studies, I also frequent the artistic world, and I collect. The motivation to defend and to discover the practice of contemporary artists then did the rest. It's a demanding and very stimulating job!
I collaborate with artists and curators whose practice resonates with my first passion, our relationship to space. The gallery, therefore, offers two very different places in a brutalist building. The white cube intends to be an artistic laboratory and the black cube to welcome the intimate dialogue between two or three works.
Discovering artists: It is, first of all, an encounter with a practice in exhibitions, then with a person in the studio and the gallery. I develop a lasting collaboration with the artists, and for that, we take the time to discover each other. I am convinced that you can only defend a work correctly if you have a clear and global vision of the artist's practice, but especially if you love your work. It is also why most of the artists that the gallery represents often belong to my generation.
Your participation in the fair
Since its inception, Archiraar has met Luxembourgish collectors, some of whom have become loyal. The idea, therefore, arose to come and meet them on site this year. The fair also has a good reputation, and many friends and colleagues have communicated to me the excellent atmosphere that reigned there. The first contacts with the team confirmed the professionalism and commitment to make a quality event.
Several of the artists represented by the gallery have already had exhibitions in Luxembourg. That is why the gallery wishes to expand its network in Luxembourg and develop new collaborations with institutions and various cultural players in the country.
The gallery will first participate in Luxembourg Art Week this year.
Artists shown at the fair
The artists exhibited are Roman Moriceau, Emmanuelle Leblanc, Falcone, Camille Leherpeur, and Takahiro Kudo. The selection fell on emblematic works by Roman Moriceau and Takahiro Kudo, but also on new productions by Falcone, Camille Leherpeur, and Emmanuelle Leblanc.
"Exotique Chimères" is a presentation built on works playing with the illusion of a certain exoticism. Demonstrating the complex relations between appearance and reality, the artists play on these biases to make us penetrate further into their approach.
The Brussels art scene
Many exchanges already exist between the two capitals, and the geographical proximity further facilitates these movements. Also, the quality of life in Brussels has attracted many foreign artists who make this scene ever more alive.
Almost every day, there is an event in the artistic community of Brussels! Throughout the year, you can find a rich and diversified offer.
Flagship work on your booth
The starting point of our "Exotique Chimères" proposal for the stand is a piece by Roman Moriceau: Botanische Garten (Meise). First of all, we see a shimmering image of tropical nature, almost heavenly. It is indeed a photograph taken by the artist in the botanical garden of Meise near Brussels. The choice to carry out screen printing with copper recalls and denounces the colonial exploitation of natural resources. But it is above all for Roman Moriceau the sign of hope to come, that of seeing - after (very) many years - copper oxidize, returning this image to its original green.
Roman Moriceau, Botanische Garten (Meise), 2018, silkscreen print made with copper, 107.5 x 77.5x 4 cm, Ed. 3 © Regular Studio