Projet Casa's Top Picks
Paul Hamelin and Danielle Lysaught with their first acquisition at Papier 11, April 2011, Barcelona, by Francine Simonin at Galerie Lacerte. Photo credit: Martine Paquet whose memory we wish to salute for her immense generosity towards the beginners that we were.
Danielle Lysaught and Paul Hamelin are art collectors and co-owners of Projet Casa.
During our first visit to the Montreal Contemporary Art Fair (then called Papier) in April 2011, we were fairly new to contemporary visual art. Our shared interest in this milieu had been solidified by our first gallery visits the year before. It was with a willingness to learn and understand that we made our first steps in the fair!
The quantity, diversity and (surely) quality of the works presented impressed us. The first year we acquired 2 medium size artworks, including the one pictured above. The following year, 4 pieces... then we lost count, perhaps it is exponential? All kidding aside, we tried to make at least one acquisition per year at the fair, in parallel with our gallery discoveries throughout the year.
This learning process has continued slowly, year after year, through meetings, readings, curiosity and a lot of fun in learning about this stimulating and exciting world.
Today we are delighted to partner with the Plural Fair for the presentation of special projects that allow for more elaborate or installative works to be exhibited in a dedicated space, without commercial limitations. The collaboration, which began in 2018, continues in parallel with our other project in Montreal, Projet Casa on Avenue de L'Esplanade, an exhibition space that we share in our home in order to allow early career artists, not represented in galleries or for unseen works, not suitable for gallery presentation, to be shown to the public. After almost 15 years, we can say that our encounter with contemporary visual art has enriched and changed the course of our lives. The fair, now Plural, has contributed greatly to our journey.
This year, we even venture to make suggestions from the catalog of works presented by the exhibitors (those available on the site on April 17). We have selected 10 affordable works - most of them between $500 and $1,500 - that could have been our first purchases (even now if you don't hurry!).
We would also like to share a few tips that have been helpful to us:
- Choose pieces that challenge you. Beautiful works are pleasing, while those holding a mystery, a tension, evolve according to our perception over time and allow for the discovery of new layers of meaning progressively.
- Learn about the artist, check out their website or Instagram page to see the rest of their work and find out more about their process and journey. Choose an artist that you will be interested in keeping up with through the years.
- Ask the gallery owner or the artist questions about the genesis of the work, the context of its creation, the techniques used, the materials, etc. Ask if it is possible to meet the artist. The artist's point of view enriches and completes your appreciation of an artwork and these are often meaningful and thought provoking exchanges.
- Dare the 3D, three-dimensional works undeniably increase the interest and change the way we, as viewers, relate to pictorial pieces (drawings, paintings,...). Do not hesitate to turn up the volume!
With our best wishes for a very fruitful visit in discoveries and encounters of artworks, exhibitors and projects at Plural 2023,
Danielle et Paul