Q&A: Patrice Vallette on championing local art in Malaysia

“Art is not just decoration for our walls, but a connection with our deep inner selves and the world around us.” mused Patrice Vallette, founder and director of Vallette Gallery when we caught up with him for a chat. True to his word, his gallery is committed to building up momentum in the Malaysian art scene, by showcasing artworks by emerging artists.

Read on for our interview with Vallette, where he told us all about art appreciation, how his passion for it began, and where his gallery is heading to next.

Patrice Vallette
Patrice Vallette, art gallery owner and curator.

Lifestyle Asia (LSA): First of all, do you paint?

Patrice Vallette (PV): I cannot, I’m not an artist! I simply love being around artists, music and anything creative. I suppose with this gallery, I want to bring something extra and create experiences for people to think.

LSA: Did you always know you’d become an art gallery owner? 

PV: There are two angles I keep in mind — my life has been nourished with art and couture since I was a child, so I have such a passion for it. On another angle, I’m also quite business-minded and entrepreneurial, which is of course important in sustaining an art gallery.

Post image Related: State of Art: 4 KL art exhibitions to visit in May 2017

Patrice Vallette
“Weirdo Invasion” by Indonesian artist Eddie Hara, showcased in the Vallette Gallery at The Row.

LSA: What compelled you to open Vallette Gallery? What was your “eureka” moment?

PV: When I first arrived in Malaysia, I met so many different artists and started learning more about the market. I was exploring, and so curious to learn more about what kind of platforms were supporting these artists, particularly contemporary artists. From there, artists began giving me artwork, and I had this idea to have a private viewing exhibition at my apartment, where I cooked, poured wine and artists communicated with guests. After three months, I was fully committed to look for a place and decided to invest my energy into this new adventure.

LSA: Where do you think Malaysian art is headed? What will the art scene be like five years from now?

PV: Art is a universal expression that reflects and connects with its viewer. But at the end of the day, it needs a platform and for the public to be more involved. There are many Malaysian artists overseas in Europe who do so well, but they need more access here. Overall, I think Malaysia’s art community and awareness is positive, with more appreciation and curiosity. My job as an art gallerist is to curate, communicate and value the artist’s work to the wider audience — I love Picasso, but without an art dealer and writers, Picasso is not himself.

LSA: What’s next in the pipeline for Vallette Gallery? 

PV: It will be an intense year for us, we have so many plans — there are art education programs for students, for example. We’d love to do more art and economic conferences, as well as debates. The gallery will always be our focus.

Visit the newly located Vallette Gallery at The Row on 52 Jalan Doraisamy, Bukit Damansara, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +6019 301 2569