“contemporary African art will bring a lot to the Parcours des Mondes”

Belgian lawyer Yves-Bernard Debie, who succeeded Pierre Moos at the head of Parcours des Mondes, intends to continue to integrate all the primitive arts, without forgetting contemporary creation.

You took over from Pierre Moos. What consequences did his disappearance have with regard to the Course that he had directed for 15 years?

We never really get over the loss of a friend like Pierre Moos. The Parcours des Mondes and the magazine Tribal Art, our two children, owe him so much. His name will forever be associated with these two Early Arts media. It is not without emotion that we will award, in partnership with Christie’s, and for the first time, the Pierre Moos prize which will reward the winner of the art book devoted to Africa, Oceania, Asia or the Americas which particularly stood out. “ Show must go on » especially since we had carefully prepared his succession together. For several years now, we have been making important decisions together and I have been working, since his death, to follow the road map that we had drawn up.

What are the new features of this 22nd edition?

The creation of a showcase allowing young merchants to take their first steps is, without a doubt, the major innovation of this edition. We had talked about it so often with Pierre. We have also, with a new team responsible for communications, placed emphasis on social networks which will relay and extend the event throughout the year. Well before the event kicked off, its Instagram account was already a meeting place where participants were able to preview some of their treasures. What is certain is that our first bet has already been won since we have found our best level of exhibitors, numbering 58 this year compared to 42 last year. If a fair is measured above all by the quality of its participants, it also owes a lot to that of its collectors and we are happy to be able to honor two of them through two exhibitions devoted to their personal collections. Under the curatorship of the merchant Didier Claes, “ Shared passion » presents the heart of the Vandenkerckhove African art collection, while « Unû » is dedicated to prestigious African weapons selected by Jacques Billen in this search for an aesthetic which already characterizes him as a dealer in Egyptian antiquities.

What is the strength of this event today?

Magic ! This magic whose ingredients are known : Saint-Germain-Des-Prés, the mildness of the month of September, an undeniable enthusiasm among collectors and enthusiasts and the quality of the works presented by art dealers, ever more numerous, from all over the world.

What do you want to infuse into the Course for its next editions?

To be faithful to its DNA, the Parcours des Mondes must still create links between people across continents and ages. This implies that the First Arts from all over the world are present but also that contemporary creation and works that have come down to us from antiquity are confronted. I believe that, in the years to come, contemporary African art will contribute a lot to the Parcours des Mondes but it will not be the only one. Let’s see, for example, the captivating work of Australian artists presented on rue de Seine by Stéphane Jacob. It is also for this reason that Parcours des Mondes has joined forces this year with gallery owner Philippe Boudin to organize the Mingei Bamboo Prize which will reward two contemporary Japanese artists for their works made from bamboo. I am also particularly keen on the links forged with major institutions such as the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, whose Parcours des Mondes this year honors its founding President, Stéphane Martin.

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