What does living mean to you? #5
An Interview With Gallerist Emmanuel Perrotin
In the series we ask various prominent figures, “what does LIVING mean to you?” For this issue, we visited Paris, and the living room of Emmanuel Perrotin, a French contemporary art gallery owner. Being a globetrotter, he only gets to spend about half of the year enjoying his living room. Perhaps due to this, the space is filled with objects about which he is passionate and for which he has a deep personal attachment.
The room feels like an art gallery. Emmanuel Perrotin is the owner of contemporary art galleries in six cities around the world including Roppongi, Tokyo, and lives in this space full of contemporary art.
Paola Pivi’s polar bear with its sprouting blue feathers, appearing to be jumping onto the mezzanine, might startle his international guests in the room with its 5meter high ceiling. Works by his gallery artists such as Maurizio Cattelan, Hernan Bas, Mr. and Elmgreen & Dragset are also installed throughout the room. It is the perfect model of integrating art into a living space. Going up the skeletal stairs in front of the custom ordered wooden bookshelves lies a more relaxing second living room.
Perrotin moved into this 17th century former aristocratic residence seven years ago and lives with his partner Lorena Vergani and his children. The 300㎡ building is designated as a historic building in Paris. Contrary to its masonry exterior, he furnishes his living room with midcentury modern furniture designed by esteemed American designers like Vladimir Kagan and Paul Evans.
It is the perfect model of integrating art into a living space
“Many art collectors decorate their houses with French or contemporary furniture. I thought it would be interesting for a French person like me to bring American vintage furniture to Paris. But I see more and more clients starting to choose vintage furniture, so I might redo my décor in a more contemporary style in the future,” says Perrotin. He likes to be different.
For the terrazzo flooring, he brought in an artisan from Italy when renovating the house. Mixing chips of red, white and black marble with a cementitious binder, the flooring matches well with the white walls and gives a modern feeling to the room. Perrotin’s favorite spot in the room is the Frank Lloyd Wright armchair in front of the vertical large window, because he can have a good view of the whole room from the chair.
My living room embodies my life as a gallerist. It is a place where my family and friends can gather, rather than just a place for me to relax
He says he is from a middle-class family. And the living room he grew up in was a place for his family to spend quality time, dining or watching TV together. It was not particularly artistic, yet Perrotin speaks nostalgically of the time.
“My father treasured the Chinese lamp that one of his clients gave him as a gift. Looking back now, it was not necessarily valuable, but I was always careful not to break that lamp.”
Now he himself is a father and has various works of art in his living room, although he tries not to place delicate pieces there. That is the only restriction he has about displaying his art. For instance, Takashi Murakami’s MAX ＆ SHIMON is placed in the entrance hall where children cannot touch it so easily.
The gallery owner spends a lot of time traveling around the world going to art fairs. He gets to spend less than half a year in his living room. To our running question “What does LIVING mean to you?”, he answered, “HUB”. “My living room embodies my life as a gallerist. It is a place where my family and friends can gather, rather than just a place for me to relax. ” Perhaps it is a platform for people from all over the world to meet and develop new relationships.
Q: What makes for a “living room” to you?
About Emmanuel Perrotin
French gallerist. Founded his first gallery, Gallery Perrotin, in 1990 in Paris when he was 21 years old. Perrotin opened galleries in Hong Kong, New York, Seoul, Tokyo, and Shanghai after that. A regular at Art Basel, Frieze, FIAC and more, his gallery participates in more than 20 art fairs a year. He is one of the most influential gallerists in the art world.
This article originally appeared in Hills Life published by MORI LIVING. Text by Motoko Tani, photo by Mana Kikuta, edit by Kazumi Yamamoto.