Artistic pursuits in Monaco

The combination of residents and galleries in Monaco continues to remind me that the Principality is an unspoken museum. There are works of art on every corner of every street. I’ll lay money on the fact there’s a Picasso on every street here also.
I’m feeling very insecure about delving into the world at large, while shopping for anything other than necessities feels decadent and a little bit vacuous. But within seconds of speaking to gallerists in Monaco I am reminded that nothing beats an afternoon at the galleries.
So, after many weeks of confinement, here is what I would visit in an afternoon, geographically and by curiosity.
In my mind, I’ve already mapped out my go-see plan. Ordinarily this would start with a pit stop at the Hermitage Hotel to break my cappuccino fast, then, imbibed, I head out through the beautiful revolving doors.
Reality: instead of applying lipstick, I slip on a mask, instead of a cappuccino at the Hermitage and a sharp left after passing through the revolving doors I leg it up the street to Boulevard Des Moulins to get my fix and then return back to Adriano Ribolzi’s gallery.
For decades, this master of understatement has quite unassumingly exhibited the most celebrated and tasteful artists of our time. Picking up the phone this afternoon and chatting to Axelle, who works for Mr Ribolzi, I was informed that presently they have a themed exhibition titled ‘Ex Tempore’ comprising four artists – Fabio Viale, Mario Schifano, Sergio Fermaciello and Pablo Atchugarry, whose works reflect how they perceive time.
I am beyond excited at seeing Schifano’s epic four paintings that measure 260cm x 260 cm and up until now were in a private collection. In the main room there is a cluster of iconic marble and bronze Atchugarry’s, and Axelle tells me that all the works by Fabio Viale are sold. With the uncertainty that Covid-19 brings, the Ribolzi gallery has no set date for upcoming exhibitions; but it is business as usual with masks and hand gel.
There’s no need to hail a taxi for my next stop at the Opera Gallery. I  am greeted warmly by Damien Simonelli, the director, and Gilles Dyan, the founder and chairman. Damien Simonelli has a winning André Brasilier behind his desk which magically connects to the large scale 1961 Karel Appel Two Heads and a Flower, the most exciting piece I have seen today. The Opera Gallery will have many more pieces to share and are preparing for their Monaco Masters show which is planned for the beginning of July.
A few metres away, the Yellow Korner Gallery has a photography exhibition titled ‘Paparazzi’ by Bruno Mouron and Pascal Rostain. Mathias Brancati, the gallery manager, tells me that all visitors are now required to wear a mask and no more than three visitors are allowed at a time. The original idea for these photos by the ‘Paparazzi’ photographers, who incidentally have photographed everyone from Jackie Onassis to Orson Welles, found inspiration in a Le Monde article about a university sociology professor who studied the contents of bins in order to understand consumption trends and social behaviour, and subsequently photographed the bin contents of Serge Gainsbourg, Brigitte Bardot, Kate Moss and Madonna, to name a few.
Then it is time to cross the golden square to Kamils Art Gallery at the beginning of Avenue Princesse Grace, where one can see paintings by Eric Massholder and sculptures by Yves Hyat.
And while G&M Design is choosing to remain closed for the time being, you can still peek through the windows to catch a glimpse of the current works by the truly creative Stasha Lewis.
Top photo: Artwork Serge Gainsbourg Paris 1990 at Yellow Korner Gallery