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Kamel Mennour is a fascinating and powerful figure of the contemporary art scene.
Born in Algeria and raised in the suburbs of Paris, he developed a passion for photography during his studies in economics. In 1999, he decided to open a tiny gallery in Saint Germain des Prés, where he dreamt of exhibiting his favorite artists, including Annie Leibovitz, Larry Clark, Araki and other superstars of photography who — strangely enough — were not represented in Paris yet. The story of how he pursued these famous artists and got them on board is now legendary.
In less than five years, the gallery became the must-go place for contemporary photography in Paris.
However, after a few years, Kamel Mennour got bored. Selling renowned photographers to a hungry French market was not enough of a challenge. He then started scouting for exciting new artists and, again, became the Parisian reference for emerging art in less than a decade.
Camille Henrot’s first gallerist before she won the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale, Mennour also discovered Latifa Echakhch before she was awarded the prix Marcel Duchamp, France’s most prestigious prize for emerging artists.
Mennour left his first boutique a long time ago, but unlike most gallerists who’ve migrated to the Marais, he remained in his favorite neighborhood, Saint Germain des Prés, where he opened two large and beautiful spaces.
You’ll be warmly welcomed when you walk in — there’s no ice queen behind a gigantic desk in this gallery but rather an elegant and smiling doorman. And it’s very likely that Mennour himself will present you the latest exhibition.
We can’t give you much of an idea of what the show will look like, though, since the gallery owner likes to think of his space as an arena where opposing political and artistic points of view meet, exchange, and sometimes clash.
In any case, Kamel Mennour represents some of the most exciting artists on the market — superstars like Anish Kapoor and Martin Parr as well as on-the-rise creators like Alicja Kwade and Mohamed Bourouissa — so regardless of what’s on, it’s very unlikely that you’ll leave disappointed.
Galeries Kamel Mennour – Paris
47 Rue Saint‑André‑des‑Arts, 75006 Paris
5 Rue du Pont de Lodi, 75006 Paris
6 Rue du Pont de Lodi, 75006 Paris
28 Avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris
Wondering where to go next? Visit one of the other ten best contemporary art galleries in Paris.
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