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The Kooples Art Prize

Direction and production

For The Kooples, Studio Marant builds a prize focused on upcoming artists, in line with the brand’s values. For each edition, The Kooples Art Prize will professionally supports two talents.

Launched in early 2022, The Kooples Art Prize supports emerging artists.  It is invitation for artists to share their vision of the world, to establish their practice as a singular act in a standardised world, to engage in conversation and to nourish a plural vision of society.

A professional jury was appointed to select two winners for the first edition: Gaby Sahhar and Kim Farkas.  Exhibited in the brand’s new flagship on the Champs Elysées, the artists receive production fees and tailored support by the team in charge to facilitate the making of new body of works for the prizes exhibitions.
Both artists have also been invited to exhibit at the MAC VAL in the summer of 2023.

“The approach of the contemporary art prize we have created is unique for a brand like ours and we are proud to offer artists this opportunity to exhibit their work to a wide audience in the store we will soon open on the Champs-Elysées. Our goal is very clear: we want to bring together the radicalism that defines us, our collections and our way of seeing fashion with contemporary artists works.”

Marie Schott, President and CEO, The Kooples

Winning artists benefits 

  €28,000 allocated to the production of new original art works

  €10,000 for the guidance of a professional scenographer to prepare the exhibition of these works.

  €6,000 artists fees for four months of work within the framework of the Prize.

 Two exhibitions: a solo show at The Kooples flagship on the Champs Elysées in Paris and a duo exhibition at MAC VAL.

━ Guidance by curator Thomas Conchou and The Kooples Art Prize team (technical, logistic, administrative, accounting support).

 A 15-day research and design residency at the Artagon House near Orleans. 

 Communication training and support to help the artist promote her/ his work to the public, the media, and art professionals.

  An appointment of legal support by an art lawyer to acquire training and get answers to some of the artist’s profession problematics. 

  One of the works produced for the prize will enter The Koopples Collection.


For its first edition, The Kooples Art Prise is honoured  to announce a collaboration with French institution the MAC VAL, Seine de Marne. This is the first time that the museum collaborates with a brand.

MAC/VAL is the first museum entirely dedicated to the French art scene from the 50’s up until today.  After the creation of the Fond Départmental d’Art Contemporain in 1982, the museum project progressively took shape over a period of nearly fifteen years. In 1999, the Conseil Artistique des Musées approved the collection, and the Scientific and Cultural Project was accepted by the Direction des Musées de France.

The museum collection counts 2,000 artworks by well-known artists such as Christian Boltanski, Bruno Perramant, Claude Closky, Gina Pane, Annette Messager, and Pierre Huyghe etc. but also emerging ones, which shows MAC/VAL’s desire to promote contemporary creation.

To complement the permanent collection, the museum offers three to four temporary exhibitions a year. Whether monographic or collective, they take the form of an invitation inspired by the museum’s artistic encounters. Conceived as an extension of the permanent collection, they provide in-depth exploration of the contemporary art scene.


The Kooples Art Prize collaborated with the ARTAGON house. Artists are invited for a two weeks residency to reflect about their project in this resourceful setting:

Located in the Loiret department, near Orléans, Maison Artagon welcomes artists, researchers and cultural professionals at the beginning of their careers in all fields of contemporary creation. They stay from two weeks to three months at the Artagon House. They benefit from an exceptional working and reflection environment in the middle of nature, as well as tailored support.
In all, around 50 residents benefit from this new programme each year, free of charge they can apply or be invited.


The prize is based on professional support. This team of professionals was gathered by Emily Marant and Marc Beyney-Sonier – curators, jury members, scenographers, producers, communication agency and institutions were each selected to bring their experienced and sharp vision upon the prize and its winners. 

Thomas Conchou was appointed as the guest curator of this first edition.  His role is to accompany the prize-winning artists in the production of their works and bring his curatorial eye to the exhibitions. 

«The quality of a prize lies in the different stages that will allow the laureate artist to create at their best. Therefor, it was essential that the team of invited curators, the jury and the general curator, would embody and be representative of the contemporary scene.»
Marc Beyney-Sonier, Artistic Director, The Kooples Art Prize

Thomas Conchou, curator of The Kooples Art Prize 

Thomas Conchou is a curator, co-founder of the curatorial collective Le Syndicat Magnifique, member of the Curatorial Hotline collective and a certified mediator by the Fondation de France for the implementation of new actions by commissioners. In 2020, he is the curator the Maison populaire de Montreuil’s art center, an organization of public education and amateur practice. He conducts a two-year cycle of exhibitions and events on artistic practices and queer relations. In 2021, he is one of the curator reporters for the AWARE prize where he presents the work of Gaëlle Choisne, winner of the prize. In 2022, he joins the jury of the Utopi-e prize for queer artists and the Salon de Montrouge’s committee. He is the winner of the Textwork writing grant from the Pernod Ricard Corporate Foundation, and is preparing exhibitions at Sissi Club, Marseille and at the CAC Brétigny in Île-de-France.

Anissa Touati, curator 

Anissa Touati is a French exhibition maker and an independent curator trained as an archeologist. She also serves as the founding director of the cultural organization Octavia. She is the Curator-at-large of Paris Internationale, the artistic director of the pavilion for a Mediterranean nation of the Biennial of Lagos 2023 (Nigeria) and the curator in chief  of the launch of the Thalie Foundation in Arles. She is the former artistic director of Contemporary Istanbul, for which she built a program reflecting on the question of Mediterraneism and the former associate director of the Chalet Society in Paris.

Since 2021, She is a committee member of the MAH Geneva, a member of the acquisition committee of the FRAC Corse, a member of the final jury of Paris-Malaquais higher school of architecture and a nominator to The Sovereign African Art Prize, South Africa.

Anna Labouze & Keimis Henni, directors at ARTAGON

Anna and Keimis are a duo of artistic directors, curators, teachers and cultural project developers. Their fields of interest are emerging art, the relationship between art, society and education, the dialogues between different fields of creation and international cultural cooperation projects.
They founded the association Artagon in 2014, which is dedicated to supporting, promoting and accompanying artists and cultural professionals at the beginning of their career. In 2021, they open their first venue, Artagon Marseille, supported by the Ministry of Culture. In 2022, they open the Maison Artagon in Orléans and Artagon near Paris.
Since 2017, they are the artistic directors of Magasins généraux, a cultural venue founded by the BETC communication agency in Pantin.

Julien Blanpied, curator at MAC VAL

A graduate of the Ecole du Magasin in Grenoble, Julien Blanpied is a curator, art historian and art critic. Since 2005, he has been collaborating on temporary exhibitions at the MAC VAL where he works on the favourable conditions for the emergence of questions of identity construction (social, gender, cultural, postcolonial, etc.). He also writes for various magazines and artists’ catalogues.

Curator for the exhibitions Brognon-Rollin “L’avant-dernière version de la réalité”; Taysir Batniji “Quelques bribes arrachées au vide qui se creuse”, “Royal Wedding”, “Framing Abstraction”, “Itinéraire Bis”, “Domino-Domino”…, he is currently preparing, collectively, an exhibition for the EDF Foundation “Faut-il voyager pour être heureux?

Marie Schott, CEO of The Kooples and Capucine Safyurtlu, Creative director

Marie Schott (ex-CEO of Etam and founder of AnaShaf) was nominated in 2021 by MF Brands to write this second chapter and Capucine Safyurtlu (ex-editor at Numéro, Vogue Paris) has recently joined her as Creative Director. The challenges are exciting for the duo and their teams: reinventing accessible luxury of the 2020s, «resetting» a brand whose notoriety capital has remained very reputable in France, realigning the brand with the times, while capitalizing on an extraordinary heritage. The Champs Elysées store and The Kooples Art Prize are one of the multiple projects of this future Reset.


Four curators were invited to present twelve artistic projects. Each of the rapporteurs propose three young professional artists – at an early stage of their careers (active for less than 10 years), working alone or as part of collectives. Artists are selected upon a specific project that has been thought for the Art Prize, keeping the Champs Elysée flagship space in mind.

From left to right –

Anya Harrison – curator at MOCO, Montpellier Contemporain and author.

Julia Marchand – Associate curator at Fondation Van Gogh, Arles and founder of Extramentale Arles

Juliette Desorgues – Visual arts curator at the Mostyn Art Center, Wales and author.

Oulimata Gueye – Head of post-graduate program at Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, critic and author.

Prize winners from the first edition

   Gaby Sahhar

Gaby Sahhar, born in 1992, is a French-Palestinian artist based in London with an interdisciplinary practice. They founded and run the LGBTQIA+ artist support platform Queerdirect. Through the prism of ink, paint, video and installation, their visual practice questions the ways in which queer identity, gender and sexuality can be expressed and manifested in public space despite today’s dominant patriarchal and capitalist structures.

Kim Farkas

A French-American artist of Peranakan origin, born in 1988, Kim Farkas is based in Paris. He graduated from the Beaux-arts de Paris in 2014 and co-founded in 2012 the publishing house Holoholo Books. From car tuning to cosplay, from hacking to hacking and his Peranakan heritage, Kim Farkas borrows from hybrid fields between countercultures and laboratories of capitalism. With his sculptures and installations, Kim Farkas criticizes systems of distribution and singular objects forced to metamorphose. It is the rigour and uniqueness of these practices and their circulation in our economy that interests him.


by Thomas Conchou

Gaby Sahhar’s artistic practice mobilises a variety of mediums such as ink drawing, oil painting and video, and touches on installation in its spatial setting.

For Zone O, a seven-meter long painted fresco is presented on a round structure around which the public is invited to circulate. This immense panorama is interested in the urban experience and in particular in the transit sites of Western metropolises: these standardized places whose characteristics are almost identical and where the singularity of each person dissolves in the crowd of users. The colors that dominate the composition are those usually associated with nation states or the European Union: red, royal blue, gold, bronze and silver. A zone indicates the indeterminate or transitory quality (zoner) of a space, which oscillates here between a train station, a covered passageway or the street. Using images collected from magazines, gleaned from the internet or taken on the fly, Gaby Sahhar paints the contemporary experience of these places that are both sterile and functional.

In Sahhar’s fresco, silhouettes in law enforcement uniforms or latex suits assume sensual, authoritative and submissive positions in scenes that navigate from domestic to urban space. They co-exist with numerous objects (backpacks, gloves, shoes, flannel shirts and masks) that recall the idea of fragmented bodies, scattered in a city whose avenues, subway stations and plush interiors can be guessed. 

Behind the idea of the permanent negotiation of a body subjected to the pressure of the gaze and the alienation of the city, the artist seeks to draw attention to the individuals whose difference is often sanctioned in the so-called “anonymous” places: queer people, racialized people, or people with disabilities, who see their circulation or their safety constantly hindered.  


It reminds us that the regimes of visibility or invisibility of public life do not apply uniformly to all, and that being able to navigate easily between them is a form of privilege. Questions of social role, conformity and assimilation are contrasted with the difficult existence of alternative gender identities through the friction of indeterminate but fluid figures and inexpressive or masked faces.

Within the installation, the public is led to discover a film composed of three narrative segments, shot in the artist’s studio, in a training facility for interpreters-translators and in the streets of Paris. In her studio, Gaby Sahhar reproduces a space halfway between the psychoanalysis room and the interrogation room, in which characters move around in bright lights. The training yard takes on the appearance of a call center, transfigured by the play of lights, reminiscent of the space of a club. As for the Parisian captures, slowed down and distorted, they linger on the tarmac and the sidewalks. These transfigured spaces keep the traces of their first functions but acquire the same character of indeterminacy and reversal as the fresco by their visual treatment.

Finally, upstairs, Gaby Sahhar presents two paintings installed on a steel structure. One presents a motif dear to the artist: the representation of a featureless face that expresses her attachment to the history of Expressionism and more precisely to the standardization of facial representation among the progressives of Cologne who, at the end of the 1920s, placed proletarians at the center of their works. The standardization of faces – to the point of erasure – marks their oppressive condition in the capitalist system of the time. The second painting expresses the artist’s link to Palestinian culture and questions the affective capacity of commodities in circulation in diasporic populations to produce identification, despite the distance.

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