This week, we offer you a break on the booth of Benoit Guinaudeau, recently installed in the alley 3 of Paul Bert. Oscillating between designer furniture, curiosities and African art objects, this antique dealer offers each weekend an eclectic selection but all in harmony, to create decors impregnated with his personality.
What is your background ?
I grew up with parents who constantly bargain hunted, for my part I hates that. The desire to bargain hunt came back at 20 years old. At that time, I studied law but all I could think about was antiquing, so I stoped these studies. My parents were not very happy, but ended up helping me by financing me a school specialized in art market in Paris. I met many antique dealers, I spent two very beautiful years. After my studies, I worked for a year for a gallerist of the Carré Rive Gauche. With my ex-wife, we opened our first shop in Cognac in the southwest of France. We have then bifurcated on the Ile de Ré and opened two shops. In 2014, we opened a new space in Paris. At the time of our separation, we closed the shops and I then settled at the flea market It's a homecoming.
What is your speciality ?
Two or three months ago, I would have said that I specialized in 1950's-1960's and now, the more I'm at the flea market, the more I want to present classic pieces, but always with a modern side. I have evolved a lot but while keeping this line that you could find in my decorations. I buy now a lot of African art but objects that I find decorative and which are not really objects of collection.
What drives you in the antique trade ?
I am driven by discoveries. At one time, it was almost a drug. It was not even a question of money, but really a desire of possession. I am not at all a collector, I do not keep objects and I do not attach me to it at all. When I have an object and I sell it, it's a bit like I always owned it. At the flea market we can make an ephemeral decor, and even if it changes quickly, it has belonged a time and will always belong to us a little.
What does Paul Bert Serpette represent for you ?
At Paul Bert Serpette, we have clients that we do not see elsewhere, it is a concentration of important customers. We also have a great freedom, we can afford everything and if it does not work, things go quickly to be able to readjust. Paul Bert Serpette is the best barometer of art market's trends. This is the only place in France we know what will work or not. Here, merchants are influencers, trends prescribers.
What is the piece of your stand that you want to highlight?
I present ritual panels from the Salampasu tribe of Congo. They are pigmented wood and are dated from 1950's-1960's. Their appearance is very modern and kinetic, they have a raw side but Vasarelli way, they are amazing. It's very decorative while having a curiosity side. These are objects that do not leave indifferent. This is another way to see African art that is often apprehended only through the prism of the collection object, a little elitist and difficult to understand.