For Lilia Ben Salah, opening a gallery in Paris represents the next step in a personal journey that corresponds with the artistic program she wishes to develop on the contemporary art scene. A desire that has been reinforced over time for this professional with a cosmopolitan career, who boasts twenty years' experience as a gallery owner in Tunis, and since 2015 in Dubai.
The choice of Paris as the site of a new artistic adventure is obviously linked to the place held by the French capital on the international contemporary art stage. Capable of reinventing itself, the city is also marked by its Enlightenment heritage, where the crossroads of cultures and artistic practices naturally attract the public's curiosity and involvement. Furthermore, the city has positive connotations on a more personal level: Lilia Ben Salah is the granddaughter of a Parisian, and has been coming here to recharge her batteries over the years, alternating with trips to Switzerland, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Today, Lilia Ben Salah affirms a clear and frank desire to be one with the landscape and codes of Parisian and French art, while voicing her own distinctly unique position and perspectives!
Over the course of her artistic career, the gallery owner has rubbed shoulders with artists, both emerging and established, whose life paths have also led them, like herself, to move around, to settle for a time in one place, before leaving for other, newer horizons. This nomadic lifestyle, whether chosen or imposed, has encouraged them to break free of cultural differences, thereby forging a transversal and multicultural conception of the arts that has become a source of inspiration, and ultimately, the true wealth of their practice.
Through her programming, Lilia Ben Salah seeks to showcase these free, uncompromising expressions that play a role in the cultural hybridization that is so essential to the development of societies. It is also a way for her to continue the work she has been carrying out for two decades: supporting the artists she believes in and working with them in close collaboration, inviting curators to design projects, getting closer to institutional players, but also presenting and sharing the art she herself loves.
Lilia Ben Salah has no desire to limit herself to a specific region but aims instead to maintain the distance needed to promote the great diversity of practices and points of view of those artists, familiar with the eco-cultural-political fluctuations of today's world. A mission that the gallery owner also intends to carry out via participation in international fairs, and the creation of offsite projects.
In addition, she hopes to provide another reading of art history over the past few decades by reconsidering the scope of the work of certain historical artists, originating from Africa and the Middle and Near East, by presenting them outside of their geographical context.
For too long, the art market and international critics have neglected the contribution of these artistic scenes and their protagonists, and particularly their influence on Western art. The opening of the gallery on the avenue Matignon is in this respect the ideal location for an international public of collectors and art institutions, for whom Paris remains a major landmark.