Region Sud Prize

Since its beginnings, Art-o-rama has been committed to participating in the professionalization of young artists and allows them to encounter different actors of the art world – curators, gallery owners, critics, collectors…

Each year with the Région Sud Prize, Art-o-rama offers visibility to the young creation from Art Schools of the Région Sud, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. The Show-room section highlights the work of 4 artists selected by a curator. The curator accompanies them in their exhibition project, produces a critical text and introduces the artists to the gallery owners and publishers participating in the fair, who will then be invited to vote for the winner of the Région Sud Prize of the year.
The following year, this artist will benefit from an exhibition space in the main section of Art-o-rama following a two-months residency within the Moly-Sabata / Albert Gleizes Foundation. The artist will be the recipient of a 2000€ production grant and a catalog will be published.
Concerning the 2021 Edition, the Show-room artists will benefit from a new residency program created by a regional network of art centers and venues from the Région. Prior to the fair, the artists are invited for a summer residency at the 3 bis f art center in Aix en Provence. The 3 non-winning artists will then each partake in one of the following residencies: Centre d’Arts Plastiques Fernand Léger de Port-de-Bouc, Centre d’Art Contemporain de Châteauvert et Voyons-Voir, art contemporain & territoire.

The FCAC (Fonds Communal d’Art Contemporain de la Ville de Marseille) is also committed to acquire each year at least one work by an artist from the Show-room.

The Région Sud Prize often stands as a first experience for artists in a commercial environment of international scope and allows the galleries participating in Art-o-rama to discover artists who were formed in our region.
In 2021, the 4 selected artists accompanied by Tiago de Abreu Pinto are Néphéli Barbas, Julien Bourgain, Louise Mervelet and Flore Saunois.


mountaincutters – 2021 guest artist

Mountaincutters is the laureate of the 2019 Région Sud prize. It is a hybrid entity, that graduated from the École Supérieure d’Art et de Design de Marseille Méditerranée and is based in Brussels. Since 2013, it has been acting as a full-fledged artistic organism-environment, developing mainly site-specific projects through various contamination processes. Its work often takes the form of ephemeral modules, active the time of the exhibition whose components are made from unprocessed raw materials such as iron, steel, clay, copper, lead, paper or glass. Some will then be reworked and will reappear during the development of future installations.

Furiosa, 2019.


mouth, south : fictional conversations


Flore Saunois

What are you thinking? About the tipping point, the moment when or space where something is about to exist or could exist. It’s an ontological type of thought. It is, yes. When I think why is there something instead of nothing. So, you do think about perception also. Yes. And, appearance. That’s to say: what are the conditions for something to appear? On the level of a text or of language, for instance. With naming, sure. When we name a thing it starts to exist. Language affects reality. Time is also important to you, right? Essential since time is transformation. It’s linked to an array of possibilities; to the passage from a “could be” to a “being”. Time makes it happen. With the idea of a seed is a tree afterwards. The disappearance of things are crucial to me. That’s why I came into language and its ambiguity. There is a constant in-betweenness here, right? Yes. And, mystery, also. Phenomenological and scientifical queries through exhaustive combinations about the mysteriousness of things. I like mapping them. The point where it twists? When reality folds into another thing that can’t be clearly described.   


Julien Bourgain

Is it about celebration? I don’t know — we laughed out loud. It’s all changing. Since you left university? Yes. And, it’s much more now since it connects to the fluidity of my own identity and gender. And, that’s why you want to show your community in your work, right? I want to offer visibility to them and take the time to value the relationships that I have in my life right now. So, it has to do with relational aesthetics and the affective turn… In a way, yes, but it’s the same thing. What do you mean? Life and work is the same, for me. When I perform I’m the same person as when I’m not. There’s no separation. I’m not playing a role. And, what are you searching for? Ways to find poetry in peoples’ meetings. I love to create situations that people meet and inside of this there are plenty of smaller encounters and connections. And there are different steps in this process that create a way. Parcour: this is the word. The course, the journey. Yes. Like the stories I tell in a performance that during its course unfolds additional little narratives that may give the impression that are not linked, that are loose in the plot, but in fact all that is connected. I really like when others make these bridges between stories. Thus, it has to do with social networking. It deals with the social tapestry — we nodded in agreement.


Louise Mervelet

Last time we spoke, you showed me a puppet-baroque interest that emphasizes an hybrid approach. Hybridity is a concept dear to me. Not only in terms of themes but also when speaking about mediums. I don’t stick to one. I work with all of them. You activate different mechanisms at the same time… Yes. And, it can be analysed even on a political viewpoint. Towards an idea of impurity. You mean on the level of the material, right? Yes, on this level also. I prefer using cheap material. Something that was discarded, set aside, that has a doubtful origin. And, above all poor. But, this material at the end turns into another thing , right? Yes, because I would work on this poor material in a way or better: garbage like. I take this garbage like material and transform it into another thing. At the end it becomes precious. So, there is this ambiguity. There is as well a great focus on playfulness. I see it more as acts in the realm of imagination. There is something light that emanates from my work. I’m talking about different visual codes that I manipulate, that I combine and give back to the viewer a sinuous subjective point of view. Because you are playing with a lot of visual material from video games to television series… And, in this process I’m trying to play with the viewer and I don’t want to be clear in this game.  


Néphéli Barbas

What I see is a concentration of different architectural elements and diverse allusions to different historical moments. And locations too. It’s an effort to put in space elements that belong to different cities. Which is something that already occurs: you walk in any city and all of a sudden you have a feeling that different periods of times and architectures emerge in it: Art Deco on your left, modern in front of you and Baroque on your right, between a Neofuturist and a Brutalist. That you told me is also connected to memory. Yes, of how we remember things. But, it’s not melancholy. Or wishing for a moment in the past. No, it’s not. It’s more of looking elsewhere, outside oneself, what is around us. And, you did see these things, right? Yes, there are things that I run into or that I miss or that I want to possess but it’s not in an idealizing way. Because it’s not talking about an ideal city. Exactly, it’s more about… through this idea of appropriating things to find an instant that our look happens to find something that makes it stop because of the irregularities of its surrounding. So, it’s the contrary of appropriation art or the idea of the readymade… Yes, I change what I find with my sight. You go through moments of deconstruction to create something that is odd and familiar at the same time, right? In a way, yes. That would be my visual vocabulary.     


Tiago de Abreu Pinto



Tiago de Abreu Pinto – 2021 curator

Curator and writer Tiago de Abreu Pinto’s recent projects are focused on art-writing by means of storytelling through the medium of the novel.


Tiago de Abreu Pinto (Brazil, 1984) is an independent curator (Ph.D Art History, Complutense University of Madrid). Recent exhibitions curated by de Abreu Pinto include Amanhã à primeira luz, Casa Triângulo (São Paulo, Brasil, 2019); Below Blue Horizon, Rodriguez Gallery (Poznan, Poland, 2019); Armando Andrade Tudela, Nicolás Lamas and Sergio Verastegui, Salón (Madrid, Spain, 2017); Notes for a Shell. Art-O-Rama (Marseille, France, 2017); Proteo. Tasman Projects, collection of Fernando Panizo & Dorothy Neary (Madrid, Spain, 2017);

A spear, a spike, a point, a nail, a drip, a drop, the end of the tale. Ellen de Brujine Projects (Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2015); Meditaremos em silêncio a diferença entre nós. NoguerasBlanchard (Madrid, Spain, 2015); Retroalimentación, Sala de Arte Joven (Madrid, Spain, 2014); Marcelo de Andrade, Kunsthalle São Paulo (São Paulo, Brazil, 2014); The Sound of your Voice, Marrakesh Biennial (Marrakesh, Morocco, 2014); Parallax, The Goma Gallery (Madrid, Spain, 2013); This dialogue is fine but a decision is always an alone act, NoEstudio (Madrid, Spain, 2012). He is the author of various short novels and fiction pieces such as Terral: Ivan Grilo. São Paulo: Familia, 2019; Below Blue Horizon: Sreshta Rit Premnath. Poznan: Rodriguez, 2019;El enemigo de adentro/El enemigo de afuera: María Sosa. Ciudad de México: Parque, 2019 (co-author Dorothée Dupuis); Proteus. Madrid: Tasman Projects, 2018; Biblioteca Sin Títulos (Library without Titles). Madrid: Reina Sofia Museum Library, Centre d’Art Santa Mònica and La Casa Encendida, 2017; Notes for a Shell. Marseille: More Projects, 2017; This is Art Now vol.1. Madrid: Cristina Garrido, 2013. de Abreu Pinto is the curator of Opening at ARCOmadrid2020 and N.A.S at ArtRotterdam2020.

Previous Guest Artists

  • 2019 Jonathan Vidal
  • 2018 Delphine Wibaux
  • 2017 Sabrina Belouaar
  • 2016 Rafaela Lopez
  • 2015 Vincent Ceraudo
  • 2014 Sergio Verastegui
  • 2013 Yann Gerstberger
  • 2012 Caroline Duchatelet
  • 2011 Sandro Della Noce
  • 2010 Pascal Martinez
  • 2009 Émilie Perotto
  • 2008 Julien Bouillon
  • 2007 Arnaud Maguet et Olivier Millagou


Du pouce jusqu'à l'auriculaire (2021)

Espace Croisé, Roubaix
, France
Produced by Centre d'Art Espace Croisé and Fondation Martell

Photography © mountaincutters

Flore Saunois

L'ombre d'un doute (2017)
In situ installation, photograph of a door partially open, projected at scale 1 on the same door (then closed), variable dimensions

Julien Bourgain

Bain de soleil au pavillon (2017)
filmed performance, 6’31’’
Pavillon Vendôme, Aix-en-Provence (France)

Louise Mervelet in collaboration with Stanislas Paruzel

Ananas Tree Enhanced (2020)
mixed techniques, 51 x 32 x 33 cm

Néphéli Barbas

Résidence protégée (2017-2020)
plasterboard, mdf, drawing on paper, 26 x 47 cm and 38 x 27 cm
Photo © Juan Gugger

Région Sud Prize's curator : Tiago de Abreu Pinto