Interview: Pierre Bazalgues 's fantastic curiosity cabinet

This week, we invite you to discover the fantastic curiosity cabinet of Pierre Bazalgues. For 20 years, this passionate merchant's aesthetics leaves no one indifferent and inspires many collectors and artists. Let yourself be caught by your curiosity and discover this intimate and secret world in the heart of Paul Bert Serpette.

What is your background ?

I was a teacher for 20 years and I became an antiques dealer late. It is thanks to the meeting of a Paul Bert Serpette's merchant that I took a liking to this job. I first continued my activity at half-time, time to apprehend the market, then I ended up resigning from the National Education to exercise this job full-time

Tell us about your specialty?

I am specialized in the gruesome curiosity cabinet. I present objects from medical schools ; I also like the atmosphere of the artist's studios and I also have a lot of tenderness for black neogothic and romantic. Religious objects interest me just as much because they often talk about death, through reliquaries for example. All these pieces, taken out of context, become objects with strong artistic interest. There is a real correlation with my old profession because I have a lot of teaching and didactic material.
I already collected before opening my booth. For me, it was logical to present objects I like, I wanted to enjoy myself.
I am antiques dealer for 20 years and I'm watch passing the trends. It is amusing because my booth always proposes the same thing : a reflection on death.  It's something so unavoidable and timeless that I'm not worried. It's not a fad, despite the fact that there are more and more images of skulls in ready-to-wear. This is one of the oldest collection themes. We started collecting vanities well before the faience of Delphi. It is a very personal and intimate subject ; objects of curiosity put themselves in an office, a library or a cabinet, but not everywhere in the living room It's a small world to oneself

Why did you choose to settle in Paul Bert Serpette?

Paul Bert Serpette is really a crush, surely thanks to the meeting of this merchant who made me discover this universe. When I was a teacher, I already came to bargain hunt in Paul Bert Serpette, it is my favorite market. I did not consider the job without a booth in this location. I do not unpacking, I do not sell in auction and I'm not on social networks, for me everything is going here. I appreciate the contact with the clients to whom I sell these objects. We establish a real complicity

Who are your collectors?

There is in the death an egalitarian side, it concerns absolutely everybody. We could consider that I have an enlarged customer base, which is false because collectors of this type of objects are discrete. Death is still a taboo subject and you have to manage to pass a step to have a vanity at home. A large part of my clients are artists who work on the subject. The skull is a must exercise, whether for a photographer or a painter or even a lover of library. This is a subject that leaves no one indifferent and it is often the children who attract their parents on my booth. I am often very flattered because I am dealing with a cultured public. It's a way to be stronger than death, to control the uncontrollable.
I have an American client who saved me 25 years of analysis. He had talked about this passion to his psychoanalyst and I was able to have attempts to explain the taste for this type of object. You can have this sensitivity for no reason, but it is still a way of reacting and taking the lead against death.

What object do you want to highlight?

I have this skinned, unfortunatly incomplete, which was made in Berlin in 1900-1910. It is made in cardboard and resin and has the manufacturer's plate. It is a didactic element which was addressed to students. It constitutes a typical example of teaching material that, taken out of context, takes an other dimension. I like its provocative side because we are here in the world of trends and with this object, I put my feet on my mooth.