Leila Greiche, Photograph by Sandra Larochelle
Leila Greiche has spent a decade working in the art industry. She has worked with leading international art institutions. She holds a BA in Art History and French Literature from Sarah Lawrence College, and an MA in Art Business and Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Since opening her gallery, Leila has mounted critically acclaimed group exhibitions including Women’s Work (2019), Body(2019), and Four Pillars (2018).
Anne Low & Dala Nasser, September 17 – 26, 2020, 8 Rue Saint-Bon, Paris, FR. Courtesy of the artists and L’INCONNUE.
The name of your gallery (L’INCONNUE) translates to English as the unknown woman/girl/female. Please elaborate on your experience of being a woman in a male-dominated art world. How has it been a challenge? How has it been an advantage?
I would prefer not to answer as the question is subjective and I would not like my career to be viewed through the lens of gender and comparison. To expand on the meaning behind the gallery’s name “L’inconnue de la Seine” – Unknown Woman of the Seine, famously drowned in the late 19th century. She was placed in a storefront to be identified and was gazed at instead. Her beauty and peaceful half-smile was immortalized into a death mask.
The mask of L’INCONNUE was mass-produced as a common household decoration, as well as a drawing tool for art school. Dubbed, the “drowned Mona Lisa” by Albert Camus, L’INCONNUE’s anonymity allowed for artists and poets such as Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, Vladimir Nabokov, and François Truffaut to manipulate her into a muse, modern Ophelia, the Virgin Mary, a seductress, and a witch.
We mould her as the face of our gallery, as a reminder of women’s beauty is not that of objectification and exploitation for purposes of commerce and artistic muse. Beauty is an aesthetic that informs artistic practices beyond the female form.
Would you say you have a special interest in representing women artists outside the art world mainstream?
Ghosts (redux) – Anna Mikkola, October 15 – 31, 2020, Pariser Staße 4, Berlin, DE. Courtesy of the artist and L’INCONNUE.
Recently L’INCONNUE announced a move to New York City. What brought this move on? What is the status of the move? Do you plan to keep a presence in Montreal?
What brought on the move was a desire to find a larger audience in Manhattan than in Montreal. The current status is private. However, the gallery is progressing with the move. No, I do not plan to keep a space in Montreal.
What are the most sublime aspects of the Montreal art scene?
There are many opportunities to exhibit new artists to the market. Cheap rent for both exhibition spaces and artist studios.
If you could own any work what would it be?
No work in particular comes to mind. However, I would feel gratified to obtain a seminal piece by either of these three artists: Alina Szapocznikow, Lee Lozano and/or Luchita Hurtado.
What gives you the greatest joy in your work?
Working with artists and the mystery of exhibition building.