Roger Pailhas Prize

Paying tribute to the Marseille-based gallerist, known for his daring and innovative booths within the most prestigious art fairs, Art-o-rama organizes since 2015 the Roger Pailhas Prize. Awarded in 2021 by a committee of collectors and art professionals:


François Culioli

Josée Gensollen

Marc Gensollen
Hervé Lebrun

chaired by Benoît Doche de Laquintane and Sébastien Peyret


It rewards the best curatorial project by reimbursing the costs of participation at the fair.

Roger Pailhas

Roger Pailhas inaugurated his first gallery in Marseille (Cours Julien area) in 1986 with a group show that gathered Daniel Buren, Gilbert Della-Nocce, Toni Grand, Jannis Kounellis, Sol Le Witt, Mario Merz, and Bruce Nauman.
In 1990, he opened a second space in Paris with a solo show by John Knight. In 1996 the Marseille-based gallery moved to the Vieux-Port (old harbour central area) into a 1,000sqm space. He closed the Parisian gallery in 1998 and decided to focus on Marseille instead.
In 1996 he created Art Dealers, an original contemporary art fair where he gathered, within the gallery’s space, 8 new international galleries each year.
Meanwhile, he participated in some of the most prestigious international art fairs such as Art Basel, Fiac, and the Armory Show, where he offered, with the complicity of his artists, among the most ambitious and adventurous booths. Samuel Keller himself said that Roger Pailhas’ booths inspired the Statement section of Art Basel. The gallery and Art Dealers ceased to exist when Roger Pailhas passed away in 2005.

2021 laureate : ExoExo, Paris

Gaspar Willmann

In Gaspar Willmann’s installation, a window opens onto the interior. Behind it, a white, middle-aged man embodies the archetypal disturbing neighbor. M.J. Wolfe is a Hollywood actor who has played minor roles in major films (Aviator, Mr. And Mrs. Smith or Collateral) but has always been cut from the final cut, as if by curse. After several discussions, rewrites and smoothing, the artist manages to make him sing “Quelques mots d’amour” by Michel Berger on a tune that he will not follow.


Je t’envoie mes images
Je t’envoie mon décor
Je t’envoie mes sourires des jours
Où je me sens plus fort


The set is organized around him: a garden from which he observes us and the reproduction of a standard dwelling delimited by precarious walls, cut out in steps. The elements that make up this simulation belong to the vocabulary of the déjà-vu: a basic sofa-bed overhung by three paintings. It is here that the personal trajectories meet the collective histories. Conscious of their mediatization stakes, the paintings of the JUMAP series defuse the questions of representation by approaching generic subjects: a landscape, a sunset, a still life.

Yet something is wrong behind the common surface of this presentation. Waste and detritus are hidden under the furniture or wedged under the walls as if to bury a problem. Here the artist transforms our waste into ruin. By methodically blending into the décor, they paint a picture of our own consumption habits, the images we produce, the objects we throw away.


Gaspar Willmann was born in 1995 in Paris, where he lives and works.
Through his practice of video, installation and painting, he seizes objects, forms and everyday images, mobilizes representations and collective behaviors to question their circulation and issues in the context of a technocratic society that acts on affects. A graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Art de Lyon (2019), Willmann has presented his work at the Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard (Paris, 2019) and at Divan Orange (Montreal, 2018). Winner of the Prix de Paris (2019), he completed a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris, 2020).

Roger Pailhas

Exo Exo, Paris, project by Gaspar Willmann, Laureate of the Roger Pailhas Prize

© Margot Montigny