BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Pierre-Yves Caër Gallery – Paris, France

The Parisian gallery creating a home for Japanese artists in the European art market.

Yuki Nara (installation view)
Yuki Nara (installation view)

When Pierre-Yves Caër returned from Japan to Paris in 2014, he had one goal: to open a gallery focused on Japanese art in the French capital. After more than a year of work back and forth, in 2017 he realised his goal, opening a space bearing his name on the Rue de Notre-Dame de Nazareth in September of that year. The space (which had been initially established by the well-known gallerist Farideh Cadot) opened with a show by Yuki Onodera, a selection of several very different series of photographs, including one that used collage, inspired by Eadweard Muybridge’s breakdown process and another, “Below Orpheus”, that creates a semi-fictional narrative from two locations at exactly opposite ends of the earth.

Hiroyuki Nakajima (installation view)
Hiroyuki Nakajima (installation view)
Yuki Onodera (installation view)
Yuki Onodera (installation view)

Caër’s passion for contemporary Japanese art began when he was furnishing his apartment in Tokyo, hunting out pieces to surround himself with in his new home. Even while in the Asian capital, he found that, although the quality was very high, there were simply not that many places that one can purchase local artists: “I quickly realized that the Japanese contemporary art market remains quite narrow, despite exceptional artists,” he said. Having discovered a few favourites while in Japan, such as painter Chisato Tanaka, who he now represents, on his return to France, he realised that was also a lack of galleries representing up-and-coming Japanese artists there. Caër has observed this trend at FIAC and even the Asia Now fair. “Of course, the most renowned artists – like Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama, Chiharu Shiota or Nobuyoshi Araki – are represented by the largest French galleries. Beyond them, few Japanese artists are exhibited in France, much fewer than Chinese or Korean artists.”

Despite this lack of representation, the visual arts have a rich and vibrant heritage in Japan, with many techniques and artistic movements specific to the region. In the contemporary art, this often translates into a search for perfection, balance and harmony, explains Caër: “The quality of execution [in Japan] is unmatched, which makes these works exceptional. Artists constantly look for perfection – kanzen – to create a higher level of emotions. In addition, Japanese artists are the heirs of century-long artistic traditions, for example in ceramics, and they use washi – traditionally manufactured paper – in painting, calligraphy and even photography.” The work of Hiroyuki Nakajima is a good example of this mix of tradition and innovation. The sixty-one-year-old artist works in the sho tradition, using calligraphy that he has practised for over fifty years, but in a performative and at times, colourful, style. Meanwhile, Yuki Nara’s light and poetic ceramics draw on his contemporary architecture training, as well as the ceramics practice of both his father and grandfather. Both artists have been taken into Caër’s roster.

Chisato Tanaka (installation view)
Chisato Tanaka (installation view)

For the future, Caër is working on collaborating with museums and institutions in Paris, as well as prominent Japanese galleries, to offer the artists on their books access to new markets without having to make heavy investments in the region. One thing is for certain – this is only the beginning of Caër’s journey: “In my view, gallery owners are like artists,” he says. “They never stop. It is their vocation…When I am eighty, I will still be an art dealer.”

by Josie Thaddeus-Johns

Josie Thaddeus-Johns is a writer and editor based in Berlin, covering art, music, film and more. She writes for the Guardian, Broadly, Creators Project, and others. She is currently working on her first novel.

All images courtesy Pierre-Yves Caër Gallery, Paris

More Information on Pierre-Yves Caër Gallery

Galleries (40)

Futura Art Gallery — Pietrasanta, Italy

A gallery that unites established and emerging artists

Gianni Manhattan - Vienna, Austria

Young, International and Critically Astute

Misako & Rosen — Tokyo, Japan

Redefining the Conversation Around Aesthetics

Tiwani Contemporary – London, Great Britain

The London Gallery Promoting African Self-definition

Frutta Gallery — Rome, Italy

Understanding Tradition Without Hesitating to Break It

Contemporary Fine Arts – Berlin, Germany

From West to East and Back Again: a Berlin Institution That’s Made Its Mark

Bo Bjerggaard – Copenhagen, Denmark

Showcasing Figurative Painting With a Side of Communal Spirit

Blindspot Gallery — Hong Kong, China

Throwing a Spotlight on Local Artists

Vane – Newcastle upon Tyne, Great Britain

The Not-for-profit Space Offering Context And Critique In Newcastle

H’art Gallery — Bucharest, Romania

One of Bucharest’s Oldest Private-Run Galleries

LambdaLambda Lambda – Pristina, Kosovo

Mastering the Language in the Kosovan Capital

Deák Erika Galéria – Budapest, Hungary

Beyond Budapest’s Baths

The Breeder Gallery – Athens, Greece

Breeding New Forms in Athens

Tim Van Laere Gallery – Antwerp, Belgium

An autonomous gallery representing both upcoming and well-established artists

Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler – Berlin, Germany

One of the most cutting-edge galleries in Berlin

Galerie Fons Welters – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A Doorway to Amsterdam’s Contemporary Art

Bosse & Baum – London, United Kingdom

Ambitious perspectives in Peckham

TM51 – Oslo, Norway

Three Galleries in One – Oslo’s Most Accessible Space

mfc-michèle didier – Paris, France

A Space that Reflects the Artistic Discipline

V1 Gallery – Copenhagen, Denmark

Challenging the Boundaries of Art

Upstream Gallery – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Tackling the Shift Between the Analog and Digital in a Post Internet World

Galerie Forsblom – Helsinki, Finland

Bringing international contemporary art to the Finnish capital

The Journal Gallery – New York, USA

Saving New York from Becoming a Sale-Focused Gallery Wasteland

Peres Projects – Berlin, Germany

Bridging the Gap Between Los Angeles and Berlin

Galeria OMR – Mexico City

Mexico City’s advocate for modern artistic tendencies and international contemporary art

LOYAL – Stockholm, Sweden

A Gallery that Pushes the Dialogue Around Young and International Art in Sweden’s Capital

Chimera-Project — Budapest, Hungary

Post-contemporary interest in aesthetics while eagerly re-constructing and defining traditions

La New Gallery — Madrid, Spain

Celebrating contemporary art in all its multi-faceted forms

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery – Sydney, Australia

Her uncanny ability to recognize unique Pacific Rim talent

Take Ninagawa Gallery – Tokyo, Japan

Promoting emerging Japanese artists within a cross-generational, international framework

RaebervonStenglin – Zurich, Switzerland

It is much more about concepts, long conversations and long-term commitment

Galerie Emanuel Layr – Vienna, Austria

Finding the right chord among the various artists

Platform China – Beijing/Hongkong, China

This shows how much prejudgment there still is

Fluxia – Milan, Italy

Strive to discover new approaches in contemporary art

Gaudel de Stampa – Paris, France

“Discreet” seems to be the perfect adjective

NON – Istanbul, Turkey

The dawn of an era of collaboration

Vermelho – São Paulo, Brazil

There were no galleries open to a new generation of artists working in a nontraditional way

Eleven Rivington – New York, USA

Newfound talent and rediscovers international artists for a new audience

Ibid. – London, Great Britain

Rather than listing names