Home Lifestyle Kamal Munawar, a showroom owner on a mission

Kamal Munawar, a showroom owner on a mission

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Portrait | He is considered one of the most influential figures in French art. Nothing preceded him for this position, however, and Kamal Munawar arrived without warning to become an institution thanks to the galleries that bear his name. Portrait of an inspiring man.

With his interpersonal skills, he could have been at the helm of a leading communications agency to which we entrust the best budgets, or campaign manager of a prominent candidate. Full enlightened He is in his place no matter the circumstances and the people he meets. The famous Parisian gallery owner whispers in the ears of city councilors as well as prominent philanthropists and collectors, such as François Pinault. In the capital, all Paris for twenty-five years had expressed its “loyalty” to him by visiting his galleries solemnly for every new exhibition or on the occasion of a charity sale. Galaxy Minor are four spaces strategically located between 6y and 8y arrondissements, avenue Matignon, where a generation of artists were born who became bankable like Petrit Hallaj or Mohamed Bourouissa.

Ha Unparalleled work Above all to be able to gather under its umbrella reliable names (Daniel Boren, Philip Barinoe or Anish Kapoor) alongside rising stars, avoiding the pitfalls of arrogance, lack of taste or culture shock … When we ask him about this ability to build bridges , feeling the fragments of tomorrow, and showing fluidity, he answers that you have to Be a player And follow-up: In my job, as in other companies, there is a significant element of risk, which often serves as a motivator for action. Besides, I don’t know any risk-averse entrepreneur! However, I will not talk about luck because taking risks requires intuition. “.

© Kamel Munawar

even player. Full enlightened Who also devotes his passion to football, he won his place in this elitist environment by playing the match of the person who had nothing to lose. The son of a housekeeper and house painter of Algerian immigration, he discovered art late in life during a trip to Amsterdam. The passion that has driven him for more than thirty-five years was born at a “defining moment” in 1988, during a visit to the Rijksmuseum where Rembrandt’s famous works are crowned. night watch (1642).

I felt like I was immersed in the very solemn and mysterious heart of this landscape, its impressively dynamic figures and Rembrandt’s use of light and shadow. I was hypnotized and knew – in that moment – that I wanted to devote myself to an artistic career. It was very exciting and very scary at the same time, because I did not yet know how I could implement this project. “, the gallery reprises. Without worrying about propriety and allegories, he sets off headlong into an attack on a world from which he is in opposites. In pursuit of his dream, he devotes all the energy and enthusiasm of his youth to entering the seraglio, to understanding its mode of operation.

He began filming by touring Parisian flea markets. Twentysomething sells its favorites door-to-door. In a good school, he realizes that he enjoys the broth and the feeling of connection. But in contemporary art, you also have to know how to communicate and make a good impression. Translation, appear in well-located design walls in order to be closer to those who classify the artist. Openings are not just a small story and exchange of pleasantries, it is a crucial period when many things are at stake. This nuance did not escape. Slowly but surely, the ex-child of Ménilmontant opened his first gallery on Avenue Mazarine in 1999 at 6H Circle.

© Kamel Munawar

The now specialist in photography and lithography feels ready to confront himself more directly with the art world. The goal: to get into the big leagues, with the ambition of dialogue with peers, gallery owners and collectors. It must be said that at that time the environment was much more exclusive than it is today, and that the market was more geographically limited. Survive or die In this small world, to jostle her a little too to participate in it. This is his new challenge.

Determined, complete, he does not try to follow his peers, because for him the essential is elsewhere: ” Art that is complex, abstract, subjective… is not subject to any rules. So there is no specific recipe. I have traveled a lot and still do to meet artists, more or less young, from all over the world. It has always been a way for me to learn about their artistic vision and production in order to get an idea of ​​their abilities and potential. Kamel Munawar explains. As a true pioneer, the man looks everywhere, hones his taste and does not lock himself in a narrow vision. This openness will be his strength. He is like a fish in water or rather ” World Watcher He likes to say to those who question him.

He made his mark by focusing on two major families of artists: those with highly readable but highly predictable work; And those who do not hesitate to turn around, to approach the world from a new angle, and who propose new writings. The aesthetic is particularly enthusiastic about this second category. Also, when he opens the doors of his gallery, he makes sure that beyond talent, the creator shows as much seriousness as determination. Seasons pass, the Parisian traces his path, mastering the symbols of his new world and weaving his web. It must be said that he has the ability to identify candidates who will please Pinault, an establishment or a wealthy Chinese.

© Kamel Munawar

Full enlightened He is above all a conscious man, he knows how fragile today’s success is. This frank acceptance of reality permeates all aspects of his life and work. This pushes him to Keep your thoughts in motion, try to anticipate and surround yourself with the right people.” To be able to carry out a project that resembles it, as he explains. Over time, a second space opens up large enough to develop a more ambitious art program and begin participating in important art exhibitions. His great success is of course the Rue Matignon – where he first established himself – here everyone now calls it. We love his pointed look because we appreciate his charisma and presence.

Kamel Munawar: “Crisis or no crisis, art will always be a part of our lives because it lifts us up and allows us to travel into our subconscious, to wonder about the world, to see its beauty.”

Was he promoted? never ! The man wants to remain available and, in turn, transmits the virus of art to the public, far from it. The 50-year-old can now afford everything financially but he won’t be a gambler, education matter. He also uses his very valuable time to open his galleries to hobbyists, young and old, during educational guided tours. He also puts all his strength in his conviction in the service of a cause very dear to him: the help of sick children. the philanthropist She supports scientific research through the HEROES for Imagine project that began in 2015. On the front line, she is involved in fundraising for the Necker Hospital’s Imagine Institute, an organization dedicated to the research, care, and teaching of genetic diseases.

The initiative has so far raised more than 22 million euros, invested in financing strategic projects and technology platforms, in particular DNA sequencers. this is the reason, Full enlightenedthe door of courage because of his personal history, which was marked by the illness of his infant son at the time.

In these times of inflation and multiple crises, is contemporary art immune? What does this great meditator notice in the world? For the expert, the time for wanting to run behind opening up new spaces is over: “ In my opinion, this dynamic is outdated. There is a lot to offer digital possibilities, and I prefer to explore this dimension. For example, we launched Online Viewing Rooms in 2020, which are online viewing spaces. It’s an exciting way to enhance the collector’s experience and create new ways to display and sell art online. I know the millennial collectors, who were born with the internet, phone in hand, and who shop online as often as I pick up my kids from school, are the collectors of tomorrow. In fact, the numbers speak for themselves: 91% of millennial art collectors buy art online. “, Analyse.

Crisis or no crisis, art will always be a part of our lives because it lifts us up and allows us to travel into our subconscious, to wonder about the world, to see its beauty.

In the geopolitics of contemporary art, is he worried about losing the momentum of the Paris square in the face of the American and Asian giants? In his eyes, the French capital will always hold an exceptional position in the international market, arguing that our ecosystem remains solid. As long as artistic programming, partnerships with foreign cultural institutions, and participation in major international art fairs continues, the City of Light will retain its aura.

Always on the move, Kamel Munawar is secretly preparing a new project… promising to come back even more inspiring and rewarding!

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