Unexpect the Expected

This weekend!  And on!!

Oddly, on this coast of ours down the road from where Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Dufy, Léger, Renoir and so many others painted so many masterpieces, there is so poor an art world; I mean, in terms of commercial galleries there are more on Edinburgh’s Dundas Street than on the French Riviera.

So, three cheers and cries of “chapeaux!” to Paul Conti, who has opened his Galerie Inattendue just before the last roundabout on the pénétrante to La Colle sur Loup (the one with the big red sweeties). He’s ahead of the game too, since rumour has it that the communes involved are to make the length of the pénétrante an Avenue of Art, or of big red sweeties at any rate.

Now in this scandal-ridden epoch, I should declare an interest: some of the artists on show are good friends. Oh and just to prove there’s no butter shortage after all, I’d like to show my work there too one day.  With that out of the way, I can give you a neutral description.

The self-effacing Conti acquired the property – it was what we might call light-industrial, having been an imprimerie or menuiserie, I think – without quite deciding what to do with it. Then he hit upon the idea of a gallery, but not one of those empty ones with a forbidding youngster behind a desk, no, here we have a hive of activity. The space is 450 square metres over three main spaces, each with their own rhythm and character, mainly white and light, and tarted up since their earlier workshop life to a high specification. If I say “earlier” workshop life, there is a new workshop life too, because the gallery is planning bit by bit to hold workshops, seminars, film screenings, studio sessions and all-what.

There is also an upstairs where a photo studio has been set up and where there are plans to equip with framing materials and so on. These facilities will be available for hire. The place and the programme are certainly work-in-progress and this weekend is a good moment to try it all out. On Friday there is an apéro inattendu from 6 or 6:30, the monthly vernissage and this time the launch of the photo studio too; then on Saturday, from 2 till 5, the photo studio will offer a free portrait session to those who come by; and on Sunday – on more or less every Sunday now – there is open house, Les visiteurs du dimanche, from 2 till 5.

The tone of the gallery so far – with a slight penchant for photography – is to have group shows that change by overlapping, so that there’s a feeling of change – and of the inattendu – all the time.  The gallery closes on Mondays and has gifts to buy and a crunchy gravelled forecourt for you to pretend to do your own valet parking. There is a loo, a biggish room with the seat tucked in the corner; but that is a topic I shall turn to in my next post…