BAD+ 2024: The fair roots itself in the Bordeaux region with a third edition rich in partnerships

by | Jun 3, 2024 | Art Fair Coverage

Pauline Loeb emerging from Jim Shaw’s Montezuma’s Revenge, 2007. Collection of CAPC museum of Bordeaux © Pauline Loeb 

For its 3rd edition, the Bordeaux Art & Design fair, also known as BAD+, decided to reduce the number of exhibitors (40 this year compared to 55 in 2023) while expanding exciting initiatives such as The Art in the City program, in association with all the cultural institutions of the city, art centers, avec even Châteaux. A interesting promise with beautiful discoveries.
My press trip started in an unusual way, feeding two stunning Highland cows on the lawns of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, a Grand Cru Classé of Bordeaux, with a glass of white wine in hand! Indeed, artist Lélia Demoisy (represented by the participating gallery Lara Sedbon) was presenting a wall sculpture commissioned by Florence and Daniel Cathiard, the estate’s owners. Entirely created on-site from used wine barrels, this piece complements the numerous artworks the couple has collected over the years. These artist residencies are part of the many initiatives that Jean-Michel Compain and the BEAM (Bordeaux Events and More) team have established to firmly anchor BAD+ in the cultural landscape of the region.
Château Smith Haut Lafitte

Left: Wang Du, ‘W. A.’, 2008, bronze, at Château Smith Haut Lafitte. Right: Lélia Demoisy in front of ‘Peau de Barrique’, 2024 © artfairmag

After a second visit to Château Kirwan, which also houses a beautiful and eclectic art collection, and a delicious Gala dinner by Michelin-starred chef Matthieu Vianney right in Hangar 14, it was time for the fair itself! 

Spanning two floors of this iconic Bordeaux venue, the forty galleries enjoyed plenty of space, making it very pleasant to explore. On the ground floor, the standout booth of the excellent Belgian gallery La Patinoire Royale Bach was a burst of color, featuring ceramics and canvases by the Hell’O collective as well as the monochrome pop works of Spanish artist Jaime Hayon. In a much more monochrome yet extremely poetic register, the stand of Nadja Vilenne, based in Liège, showcased two large pieces by Valérie Sonnier representing Le Bassin des Beaux-Art, along with a series of five photographs simply titled ‘Séquence II’ depicting a small bouquet of snowdrops in a vase, viewed from different angles.

La Patinoire Royale Bach

Jaime Hayon & Hell’O featured by La Patinoire Royale Bach at BAD+ 2024 © artfairmag

There were several other very beautiful offerings, such as those from HdM Gallery, which notably featured the poetic dystopias of Yang Yongliang and one of Bao Vuong’s famous marine views in deep, textured black. But I must admit, it was on the upper floor that the fair seemed most impactful to me. It was hard to miss the whimsical booth of 3 Punts Galeria, whose entrance was flanked by an immense cement and concrete head by artist Samuel Salcedo. Also in concrete, there was a hollow face by Alejandro Monge. The Barcelona gallery also featured Gerard Mas, notably three polychrome resin busts showing Renaissance women with a cheeky twist. Loved it!
3 Punts Galeria

3 Punts Galeria at BAD+ 2024, featuring Samuel Salcedo, Alejandro Monge, Gerard Mas, etc. © artfairmag

There were also very lovely things at Anne-Sarah Bénichou’s booth, with Mireille Blanc’s overexposed and somewhat unsettling still lifes, as well as Cyrielle Gulacsy’s luminous pointillist canvases. The sobriety and noble materials added flair to the stand of By Lara Sedbon, which featured the aforementioned Lélia Demoisy, as well as Fabien Merelle and Stephen Whittaker, two artists who particularly resonate with me.

As for design, a specialty that the fair aims to bring back to the forefront, Mia Karlova excelled with a stunning booth divided into two spaces where the works complemented each other beautifully. From the smooth, rounded blue wooden furniture by Jordi Sarrate to the wooden sculptures by Valery Pchelin, from the ceramic works by Korean artist Moon Seop Seo to the paper and cardboard armchairs by Vadim Kibardin, and not to forget the incredible Subterranean coffee table by Sho Ota, there was a true dialogue between collectible design and contemporary art.

Mia Karlova
Mia Karlova Galerie at BAD+ 2024 featuring Jordi Sarrate, Valery Pchelin, Moon Seop Seo, Vadim Kibardin, Sho Ota, etc. © artfairmag

Art Dealers Interviews

And because design is too underrepresented in the fairs I visit, I wanted to ask Mia Karlova about the incredible work with walnut by Jordi Sarrate – a large table, a console, and a stool, all three tinted in a beautiful indigo. At the NM Gallery booth, founder Natalia Maslova introduced me to the raw porcelain sculptures by Barcelona-based artist Sofia Karnukaeva, some of which were mounted as lamps. I stayed with ceramics (I love this medium) at Valérie Bach, who told me about the works of the Hell’O collective, a duo of Belgian artists from the graffiti world, Jérôme Meynen and Antoine Detaille. Finally, I couldn’t resist having Javier Lopez from 3 Punts Galeria show me the quirky and amusing work of Gerard Mas.

How Much Does It Cost?

Varied works, just like the fair itself, that I particularly enjoyed, at very reasonable prices. You needed to pay €4,800 at La Patinoire Bach to take home one of the three colorful ceramic icons. Even though it’s not easy to recover from, I would have loved to place in the middle of my living room that incredible chair by Vadim Kibardin, made entirely of paper and cardboard, for which Mia Karlova was asking €6,050. At Anne-Sarah Bénichou’s booth, a small still life by Mireille Blanc, titled ‘Magnolia,’ was offered for €4,500, while at the By Lara Sedbon stand, a small piece by Stephen Whittaker was available for €2,800.

What I’ll remember from my visit to BAD+ is a wonderful eclecticism with quality works for a wide range of collectors, from seasoned to first-time buyers. Perhaps a slight disappointment in the relatively low proportion of design galleries, but this was more than compensated for by the genuine warmth, both from the organizers and the dealers, which truly brought a smile to my face.

Sum it up, I'm in a rush!

  • When? | May 31 – June 2, 2024
  • Where? | Bordeaux, France
  • Atmosphere | Calm and well-behaved
  • Curator’s pick | 3 Punt Galeria
  • Featured Gallery Gem | Mia Karlova
  • Spotlighted Artists | Jordi Sarrate, Gerard Mas, Lélia Demoisy
  • For Whom? | Local collectors

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