We talk to gallerist Christophe Guye about the latest exhibition at his Zurich based gallery In my bubble.
Your exhibition In my bubble stems from your decision to team up with the University of Zurich and curators Anita Pezzolesi and Gaëlle Waeber. Tell us more about how this exciting collaboration came about.
Since 2021 I've been a lecturer in the Visiting Gallerist Programme of the Teaching and Research Centre for Theory and History of Photography at the University of Zurich. For the spring seminar the topic was 'the art gallery in the system of arts.' It was aimed at advanced BA students and one of the topics explored was the roles played by gallery owners, artists, and the arts system in selecting and assembling gallery exhibitions. As the students turned out to be very capable and engaged, as part of the seminar plan, I assigned a group project where they had to work in teams to come up with proposals for an exhibition. From these proposals, I then selected an exhibition curated by Anita and Gaëlle, that is now on display in the gallery's showroom.
How have visitors responded to the exhibition’s timely theme of self-reflection?
‘In my bubble’ has taken up a topic that has been of great concern to all of us for quite some time. The interest in the exhibition is consequently strong. It was also a suitable match for the gallery in the sense that many visitors come by to take a break from the hectic daily hustle and bustle, to look at art and to reflect on themselves.
There is an intriguing mix of works on show. From Albert Watson’s celebrated portrait of Kate Moss to the evocative works of Daisuke Yokota, Michael Wolf and Jun Ahn, the curation opens up a variety of responses and emotions from the viewer. Do you have a particular image you’re most drawn to?
I have a very close relationship with all the artworks on display. There is a story to each and every work that makes it unique. Like, for example, the iconic photograph of Albert Watson's Kate Moss, which was shot on her 19th birthday in Marrakesh and gave an incredible boost to her then fledgling career. But there is one that holds a very important place in my collection - Untitled #3 – by Daisuke Yokota, a remarkable young Japanese artist. He uses multiple layers of re-photographing to preserve serendipitous coincidences, thereby internalizing his ideas about how memory is formed and evolves over time. He says, "Memories are experienced in relation to the present. As we go through the act of repeatedly recalling our memories, I believe those memories change in relation to what's happening to us now."
You joined us at our 2019 Fair and we look forward to welcoming you back when it is possible. What is it about the Asia-Pacific art market that piques your curiosity?
The Asian market has been a priority for me for quite some time. We have been very active especially in Japan and Korea in terms of working with collectors, galleries and fairs. The gallery has a strong focus on mainly Japanese but also Korean photographers. Over the years, we have built up a small but strong client base in Hong Kong. Our participation at PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai was therefore an attractive opportunity to be even more present in the Chinese market and develop new contacts. Unfortunately, the pandemic has forced us to take a break from continuing to closely engage this market, but I hope that we will soon be able to resume our activities.
Online viewing rooms and digital offerings have increased exponentially within the art fair market over the past 12 months, what are your thoughts on these initiatives?
Virtual exhibitions and art fairs have seen tremendous growth. I also think that virtual gallery exhibitions will continue to be a topic, but in my opinion it will remain more of a guide. It does not replace something very important: browsing and discovering artworks in a gallery or at a fair in direct exchange with gallery staff.
I see on your website you have been attending art fairs since 2012. How have you seen the art market change in the past nine years?
I have noticed that the big fairs have lost none of their appeal, both to visitors and to important professionals in the art world. The art fairs are still the place where new never-seen-before as well as exclusive rarities can be discovered, and contacts can be made with collectors and other important exponents from our industry.
What makes you represent a photographer? Do you have a particular criteria?
I already have artists on my radar that I would like to work with, because I have been following their work for years - apart from being a big fan of their work - because I find that their work fits very well with the focus and programme of the gallery and can enrich it in a new way. I also like to visit fairs, festivals and especially events where I can be an expert and look at portfolios of mostly young artists, always hoping to discover new promising talents.