In 1980, Chantal Crousel establishes the eponymous gallery in Paris —directed today by her son Niklas Svennung— with the aim of showing the transformations of contemporary artistic production in France and abroad. Chantal Crousel, of Belgian origins herself, makes the choice of representing artists from different nationalities who contribute to elaborating a universal language through different mediums.
The origins (1970 — 1980)
It is in the surroundings of Avenue Louise in Brussels that in 1972 Chantal Crousel begins to consider the idea of transmitting that wonder experienced beholding artworks as profession. Admiring a drawing presented in what turns out to be an art gallery and persuaded by the person she encounters in the space, Chantal Crousel acquires her first piece, signed Man Ray. By then she still works as a secretary for the direction of a forklift trucks company. The same year she moves to Paris and devotes herself to studying art by writing a PhD on the CoBrA movement and Christian Dotremont, whose photographic series ‘logoneiges’ is the subject of one of her first exhibitions. At the end of her studies - in 1976, she inaugurates La Dérive with Jacques Blazy, expert in ethnographic and precolombian art. It is a first gallery dedicated already to the dialogue between artistic expressions of different origins: ethnographic and contemporary art.
The first years (1980 — 2000)
Sensitive to the emergence of new artistic movements in Europe and the Americas at the end of the 1970s, such as New Sculpture in England, the Neue Wilde in Germany and the Transavanguardia in Italy, Chantal Crousel surrounds herself with this new generation of artists and elaborates the artistic directions of the new gallery she establishes in rue Quincampoix, Paris. The gallery presents the work of artists like Tony Cragg, Bruce McLean, Alighiero Boetti, Gilbert & George, Walter Danh, Georg Dokoupil, but also Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Richard Prince, Troy Brauntuch, Cindy Sherman, often shown in France for the first time. These years are marked by two professional partnerships: with Ghislaine Hussenot, from 1983 to 1987, and with Ninon Roberlin from 1987 to 1993. In the 1990s, now the only owner and director of the gallery, Chantal Crousel organizes the first exhibitions of Gabriel Orozco, Mona Hatoum, Absalon, Melik Ohanian or Rirkrit Tiravanija. In 2000 she is joined by her son Niklas Svennung.
The recent years (2000 to present)
Situated on rue Charlot since 2005, the gallery confirms its commitment to an artistic dialogue, equally poetic and conscious, by representing thirty–three international artists. Both young and established, they often question the social space by employing new forms for innovative ideas.
At the intersection of several mediums like sculpture, installation, film or music, these artists work on their close context (Abraham Cruzvillegas, Jean-Luc Moulène, Reena Spaulings, Wolfgang Tillmans, Haegue Yang…), they question the representation and the status of images (Roberto Cuoghi, Michael Krebber, Moshe Ninio, Wade Guyton, Seth Price, Clément Rodzielski, Willem De Rooij, Sean Snyder, Haegue Yang, Pierre Huyghe…), they confront social space (Thomas Hirschhorn, Fabrice Gygi, Oscar Tuazon …), language (David Douard, Glenn Ligon, Hassan Khan, Heimo Zobernig, Rirkrit Tiravanija…), or historical, cultural and biographical heritage (Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Fikret Atay, Tarek Atoui, Mona Hatoum, Melik Ohanian, Gabriel Orozco, Danh Võ, Wang Bing…).
Their works find their place in prestigious public and private collections, in France and abroad, and draw the attention in major international artistic events.
The gallery also represents them across the world on the occasion of art fairs: Art Basel, Art Basel Miami Beach and Hong Kong; FIAC, Paris; ART021 and Westbund, Shanghai; ARCO, Madrid; Frieze, London.