A large, open-air bookstore, listed as intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO, bouquinistes, have been part of the cultural and social landscape of the city of Paris, adorning the banks of the river Seine, for more than 300 years.
Each bookseller, after a rigorous application is given an authorized location to install four large green wooden boxes, which they can exploit all year long, selling used and rare books, prints, lithographs and photographs.
With this in mind we decided to do a project that would not only pay homage to this long tradition of booksellers, but also reinterpret it, and use it as a way to question and celebrate the way art is exhibited, its interaction with the audience and the significance of books and art in our lives.
Four artists / institutions where invited to collaborate with an architect / designer, to interpret this idea of the box by creating a unique prototype of a bouquiniste kiosks that would each accommodate an artistic work. The four boxes where installed and displayed on the banks of the Seine for a period of two weeks during the month of November, for which they were open to the public to come and visit everyday from 10 am to 5 pm, come rain come shine.
Conceived and curated by Bandini Books and in collaboration with PhotoSaintGermain, this project took place between boxes Nº 33 and Nº 31, at the Quais Malaquais , opposite to the Beaux-Arts de Paris, as part of the 8th edition of the festival, from November 6 to 17 2019.
Box # 2 - OISEAU RARE
The box designed by Valérie Mréjen and Marion Mailaender housed a series of ten postcards of pigeons produced in the 1920s and re-contextualized by the artist Valérie Mréjen: ten portraits of birds in black and white. On the back, she included messages expressing their (birds) thoughts. The artist also hand colored reproductions of the postcards.
Box # 3 - TOUT LA PHOTOGRAPHIE
A collaboration between artist Thomas Mailaender and architect Nelson Wilmotte. Continuing his research on the medium of photography, Thomas Mailaender thought of his project as a tribute to the bouqunistes and his love for books, by gathering and recompiling amateur photography textbooks published in the 60s, 70s, 80s into a encyclopedia universals, with everything you need to know to become the best photographer ever.
Box # 4 - LA DÉPRISE
curated by Aurelia Mercadier and Virginie Huet
For this box, Virginie Huet and Aurélia Marcadier wanted to create a correspondences between the realistic paintings of Mireille Blanc and the collection of vernacular photographs by Emmanuelle Fructus. Emmanuelles' exceptional iconographic collection nurtured Mireille Blanc with source material for original compositions. The box was designed by Rock Deniau.