Franck Thévenaud: “art starts from the moment I have an opinion”

Created in 2016, Concept’Art is currently the prominent art gallery in Guadeloupe. On April 26, at the launch of the last stage of the travelling exhibition entitled “Horizons telluriques” (Telluric horizons) that people car visit until May 11 at Fort Fleur d’Epée in Le Gosier, Franck Thévenaud, its director, told us about his profession and its projects.

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Franck Thévenaud who is from the city of Lyon (France) has been living in Guadeloupe for 25 years. Since 2016, he works in the art world after having founded the Concept’Art gallery located in Jarry in the town of Baie-Mahault. “My job is between the gallery owner and the agent: I’m not really a gallery owner and I’m not really an agent. The artists’ works are exhibited in my wife’s real estate agency and can be shown in various places such as restaurants but also in places where an exhibition is not expected such as a hairdressing salon or dentist’s office, places where people have time to watch them and have a crush. I also like to find extraordinary places to highlight the works because, for me, the exhibition site is very important”, explained Franck Thévenaud.

This need not to be totally locked in an art gallery is also explained by a desire to make easily understood, to democratize art. “I consider that art starts from the moment I have an opinion. The pleasure that people feel when they visit an exhibition is essential”, said Franck Thévenaud who remembers this man who was not a regular visitor of painting exhibitions but, during his first visit, he fell in love with a work and bought it…

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A catalog of ten artists

However, Franck Thévenaud did not decide on a whim to take up this new career in the art world. Before, this art lover used to go to exhibitions in France, abroad and in Guadeloupe. His visits to a large number of individual and collective exhibitions on the island allowed him and still allow him to see the work made by a very large number of artists and to talk to them. “That’s right, I meet artists every day. Some come to the gallery or send me pictures of their paintings, but I ask them to bring them to me so that I can see them. I see many things and I also do not accept works. If I collaborate with an artist, I must like his work and I must also like him, I must want to talk about him, to present his work. I have been following the progress of some artists for several years, some of them are getting better, others are stagnating… At Concept’Art, we are four people to choose the artists but I have the last word. Now, Concept’Art has a catalog of about ten artists in Guadeloupe with whom it works regularly. I tend to limit their number to take care of them, he said.

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A talent-spotter ?

When we asked him if he is a talent-spotter, Franck Thévenaud smiled and replied : “I would be honored to be a discovered of talented artists. Today, I am happy with the artists I chose to participate in the exhibition “Horizons telluriques” which deals with the subject of the future of the planet. Micheline Souprayen and François Piquet have already a career. The other three – Jérôme Sainte-Luce, Denis Ninine and Florence Poirier-NKPA – are younger and I would be happy to bring them something. They studied art and, like Micheline Souprayen and François Piquet, they are professional artists. In my opinion, it’s very important that an artist does only art instead of producing works from time to time because he earns a living by doing another job that has nothing to do with art. I believe that the professional artist puts his heart and soul into his work, he has more desire to produce and to improve because he needs to eat, to earn his living by practising his art”.

Thanks to his job, Franck Thévenaud who does not consider himself completely a gallery owner or an agent, knows the aesthetic tastes of art lovers collectors or others. “At the moment, some of them are looking for hyperrealistic works”, he said. This artistic movement is not very developed by the local artists but it is certain that this professional will be able to find these gems for the customers of his gallery…

Franck Thévenaud recognizes that there is a lack of agents to represent our artists and sell their works but he also knows that it will be difficult to sell all this artistic production on the local market so his great project is to succeed in exporting works made by Guadeloupean artists. “We are looking for partnerships in Paris with other galleries that can exhibit our artists. It’s takes time and it’s expensive. Given the quality of our artists’ work, I can also exhibit them in France but also elsewhere, especially in the United States (…)”, he said.