12 Emerging Artists to Watch at Paris Internationale

Francesca Gavin
Oct 20, 2016 5:53PM

The second edition of Paris Internationale is well underway, with an artist selection so strong it will make you reconsider the city as a hub for innovative emerging art. While some bigger names are attracting plenty of attention across the presentations—notably Nicolas PartyCelia Hempton, and Oliver Laric—the fair also presents an opportunity to discover new artists, new spaces, and a new direction in contemporary work from galleries that are seriously engaged in the conversation around the future of what art can be. From this group, we highlight 12 artists who shouldn’t be missed.

Tobias Spichtig

B. 1982, Lucerne, Switzerland • Lives and works in Berlin and Zurich

On view at Paris Internationale: Jan Kaps

Installation view of work by Tobias Spichtig at Jan Kaps’s booth at Paris Internationale, 2016. Photo courtesy of Jan Kaps.

Spichtig’s work at the Cologne-based gallery Jan Kaps is hypnotically odd. The Swiss-born artist makes figure-like sculptures out of objects including old sweatshirts, street architecture, and satellite dishes. In contrast, his paintings include photographic elements—the image of the globe, a blurry picture of a long-haired brunette—against swaths of a single color. These works seem to echo the artist’s interest in fashion and lo-fi 16mm film, which Quinn Latimer discusses in a text about the artist that accompanies the booth. Spichtig is undoubtedly one of the most peculiar artists at the fair and thus one of the most intriguing.

Patricia Treib

B. 1979, Saginaw, Michigan • Lives and works in Brooklyn

On view at Paris Internationale: Galería Marta Cervera

Left: Patricia Treib, Frock, 2016; Right: Patricia Treib, Untitled, 2016. Images courtesy of Galería Marta Cervera.


Treib’s canvases at Madrid-based Galería Marta Cervera’s booth are a refreshing dose of abstraction at Paris Internationale, where many paintings seem to focus on the figurative. Drawing from the details and compositions of historical paintings, the New York-based artist uses those starting points and turns them into abstract paintings on paper or canvas. The source material is reworked, resulting in blocky colorways—some vibrant and colorful, others more subdued, against often raw backgrounds.

Daiga Grantina

B. 1985, Riga, Latvia • Lives and works in Berlin

On view at Paris Internationale: Galerie Joseph Tang

Galerie Joseph Tang took full advantage of Paris Internationale’s unusual space with a booth devoted to Latvian artist Grantina. Hanging from the ceiling, her large-scale sculptures are fleshy latex sacs intertwined with neon netting, broken metallic shells, and orange plastic straws—fragments of which occupy the nearby glass cabinets. Originally shown last month at the Bergen Assembly alongside Lynda Benglis and Sterling Ruby, Grantina’s work feels like a perfect midpoint between the two.

Kerry Downey and Joanna Seitz

B. 1979, Fort Lauderdale, Florida • Lives and works in New York

B. Montgomery County, Virginia • Lives and works in Brooklyn

On view at Paris Internationale: Taylor Macklin

Installation view of work by Kerry Downey and Joanna Seitz at Taylor Macklin’s booth at Paris Internationale, 2016. Photo courtesy of Taylor Macklin.

A 20-minute video by collaborative duo Downey and Seitz, projected against the yellowing bathroom tiles of Zurich-based project space Taylor Macklin’s booth, looked like it was made for the space. The work depicts a dancer, Jen Rosenblit, in a beige shirt and khaki shorts as she’s pushing, pulling, hanging, crawling over, dropping against, resisting, and reworking an empty interior space. (The interiors resemble the fair building itself as well as a vacant office space.) The work juggles boredom and sporadic activity, like the fantasies of someone in a crappy office job, and hints to good conceptual collaborations in future.

Georgia Gardner Gray

B. 1988, New York • Lives and works in Berlin

On view at Paris Internationale: Croy Nielsen

Installation view of work by Georgia Gardner Gray at Croy Nielsen’s booth at Paris Internationale, 2016. Photo courtesy of Croy Nielsen.

Croy Nielsen, which recently moved to Vienna from Berlin, devoted much of its booth at Paris Internationale to Cooper Union graduate Gray. The artist’s colorful paintings have a blurry, fleshy, peach-like quality to them—often depicting women against forms of transportation, from car interiors to the now defunct Concorde planes. Her past work has included fluorescent-hued, mixed-media figurative sculptures with butterfly wings as eyes, dressed in the guise of ’70s teens. Gray presents an interesting redefinition of what the feminine can look like.

J. Parker Valentine

B. 1980, Austin • Lives and works in New York

On view at Paris Internationale: Galerie Max Mayer

J. Parker Valentine, Fallen Sentence, 2016. Image courtesy of Galerie Max Mayer.

American artist Valentine’s broad practice spans geometric sculpture to abstract painting, artist books to film projections. At Paris Internationale, Galerie Max Mayer displays a number of her drawings—the medium at the crux of her practice. Light and gestural, the organic works are pinned to the windows or to wood slats like layers of strange, tanned, conceptual skin.

B. Ingrid Olson

B. 1987, Denver • Lives and works in Chicago

On view at Paris Internationale: Simone Subal Gallery

B. Ingrid Olson, Mutilation, self delay, 2016. Photos courtesy of Simone Subal Gallery.

Olson has been gaining momentum over the past few years, showing at places like the well-respected DOCUMENT gallery in Chicago and CURA. magazine’s gallery space in Rome. The Chicago-based artist is making increasingly interesting work that critiques the methods, display, and structure of photography—including the montage-like images on display at Simone Subal Gallery’s booth at Paris Internationale. The layered images, which often include blur and fragmentation, are filled with hints of the body, the studio, and of performance. Nothing in the work is clear, save for Olson’s obvious talent in deconstructing her medium.

Vajiko Chachkhiani

B. 1985, Tbilisi, Georgia • Lives and works in Berlin

On view at Paris Internationale: Daniel Marzona

Vajiko Chachkhiani, Life Track, 2014. Image courtesy of Daniel Marzona.

Georgian artist Chachkhiani, who is showing at Berlin’s Daniel Marzona, made the best video you may see for a while. The film, Life Track (2014), is displayed alongside wooden hat molds that are embedded in the walls (they resemble mushroom caps), and depicts a window from the outside. A large, intense man comes to the window and stares at the viewer, his uncomfortable glare a strange contrast to the reflection of nearby forests and chirping trees. It is a work that is impossible to forget.

Caroline Mesquita

B. 1989, Brest, France • Live and works in Paris

On view at Paris Internationale: Union Pacific

Photo courtesy of Union Pacific.

Paris-based artist Mesquita is currently exhibiting her figurative brass and steel sculptures, as well as video works, at Kunstverein Langenhagen in Germany. This week at Paris Internationale, London’s Union Pacific gallery presents a series of small sculptures that shift away from this body of work, moving from a playful take on art history into something arguably more rigorous—though there are still elements of the patina and texture that made her work in the past so interesting. Mesquita’s new geometric floor pieces look like dice from Dungeons & Dragons games or a very large gemstones (the pieces are all titled after diamonds).

David Leggett

B. 1980, Springfield, Massachusetts • Lives and works in Chicago

On view at Paris Internationale: Shane Campbell

Left: David Leggett, Heavyweight Champ, 2016; Right: David Leggett, DWB, 2016. Photos courtesy of Shane Campbell Gallery.

Leggett, who was recommended to Shane Campbell by one of the gallery’s artists, Tony Lewis, has been bubbling on the Chicago scene for a while now, with work that often touches on race, masculinity, and representation. At Paris Internationale, his multimedia canvases have an undeniable Pop draw. A small yellow canvas features a Simpsons-style policeman depicted next to an African-American Bart Simpson, accompanied by cut-out magazine pages. Other pieces feature a range of materials, from spray paint and felt to World Championship Wrestling trading cards and googly eye stickers. Leggett, who did his post-grad at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and attended the residency at Skowhegan in 2010, is an artist who could follow in the footsteps of both William Pope.L and Destroy All Monsters.

Studio for Propositional Cinema

Live and work in Düsseldorf

On view at Paris Internationale: Tanya Leighton

Installation view of Studio for Propositional Cinema, A QUANTITY OF LIGHT . . ./ A REVERBERATING OF METALS . . ./ A SEQUENCING OF MOMENTS . . ., 2016. Photo courtesy of Tanya Leighton.

Studio for Propositional Cinema is an artist collective that came together in Düsseldorf in 2013. The group does everything from live performance to running a bookstore and has a forthcoming show at Swiss Institute in January. At Tanya Leighton’s booth, the walls (which form a backdrop to the sculptures of Oliver Laric) are covered with silver printing plates for posters with lines such as “An outline of an inventory of some strictly visible things,” inspired by Georges Perec’s book, An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (1975).

Dickon Drury

B. 1986, Salisbury, U.K. • Lives and works in London

On view at Paris Internationale: Koppe Astner

The raw oil-on-linen paintings Drury is showing at Koppe Astner have echoes of the work of Sanya Kantarovsky or Sol Calero. The Slade graduate’s work often draws on the myths and the folklore of his native Cornwall (he grew up in St. Ives). But these pieces, depicting windows, doors, and frames, also focus on the concerns of painting itself—such as perspective, depth, and light—grappling with the medium in what seems to be an initially naïve way.

Francesca Gavin