FIAC Paris 2014 Articles and Reviews




Fairs Market France

Paris fair sheds its Frenchness

Pinault and Arnault invitation to view Fiac ahead of VIPs pays dividends

The 41st edition of Fiac (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain) at the Grand Palais in Paris

“For me, Fiac is like the Frieze Masters of contemporary art; you can, in the main, be assured of the quality of the works,” said an anonymous US dealer attending the 41st edition of Fiac (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain) at the Grand Palais in Paris. The French billionaire Francois Pinault, whose collection is housed at two galleries in Venice, also put his faith in the French fair; he bought 30 works at Fiac and its new satellite event, (Off)icielle, at the Docks-Cité de la mode et du design.

The roll-call of curators, artists and collectors reflected the fair’s prestige, with the British artist Tracey Emin, the French artist Bernar Venet, the president of the Centre Pompidou, Alain Seban, and Beatrix Ruf, the newly appointed director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, in attendance. Sources on the floor said that Pinault and Bernard Arnault, who is due to open his Fondation Louis Vuitton museum in west Paris later this week, entered the fair at a special pre-arranged time; a fair spokeswoman said that “out of discretion, both men came through a separate entrance a little earlier”.

The Paris-based art advisor Laurence Dreyfus said, however, that “there are not many spectacular works at Fiac this year, except perhaps for the Olafur Eliasson pieces on the stand of Neugerriemschneider gallery” (the German dealer’s solo presentation of works by the ubiquitous Danish-Icelandic artist proved popular, especially Dew Viewer, 2014, a cluster of 212 glass spheres; prices for the works were undisclosed). But a UK collector was overheard on the fair floor saying: “Fiac always plays it safe”.

Other art world professionals were evangelical about the elevated profile of the Paris fair. The dealer Michel Rein, who runs galleries in Paris and Brussels, said that Fiac has shed its reputation for being “too French”. There are 46 French galleries out of 191 galleries in total. “Of course Fiac is truly international,” said Rein who has participated in 23 editions of Fiac. “Why would you fill the fair with French dealers anyway?” he added. A 24-carat gold ATM by the Bulgarian artist Stefan Nikolaev on Rein’s stand, entitled Cry Me a River, 2009, was a hit, with two editions of the piece selling for €15,000 each. Nikolaev said that the work is “a comment on our relationship with money”.

A selection of works by Roni Horn at Hauser & Wirth gallery, especially a series of photographs of the French actress Isabelle Huppert, was also a draw (Portrait of an Image with Isabelle Huppert, 2005, $425,000). A gallery spokesman said that museums have expressed interest in the other Horn works, including one of the artist’s famous glass drums (I deeply perceive that the infinity of matter is no dream, 2014, $3.5m).

The VIP preview also proved profitable for the London- and New York-based gallery Skarstedt. It sold at least four works including a large-scale wall piece incorporating everyday detritus, such as buttons and beads, by the late US artist Mike Kelley (Memory Ware Flat no, 10, 2001) for “more than $1m”, said Bona Montagu, the director of Skarstedt London. “We’re seeing a lot more Americans here,” she said.

The younger galleries housed upstairs in the Salon d’Honneur section seem keen to graduate to the main floor of the fair where the established galleries showcase their works, but the mid-career dealers on the first floor still reported strong sales. The London-based gallery Campoli Presti sold two works by the US photographer Eileen Quinlan priced at $15,000 each.

But the final appearance of the veteran Paris dealer Yvon Lambert at Fiac struck a poignant note. Lambert will close his Paris gallery in December and plans to launch a new business next year devoted to art books and exhibition catalogues. The French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, toured Lambert’s stand with the newly appointed culture minister Fleur Pellerin, giving Lambert the state’s stamp of approval before he bids adieu to the Parisian art scene.

Mike Kelley’s Memory Ware Flat no, 10, 2001) sold for “more than $1m” with Skarstedt



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The Mother of all French Markets: The Incandescent FIAC 2014 Paris

©Sylvia Davis

FIAC Paris 2014


October 23, 2014

FIAC 2014 opened at the Grand Palais in a shimmering flurry of celebrities, dignitaries, and VIPs.

One of the leading international art fairs, FIAC was founded 40 years ago to bring a curated exposé of contemporary art to the public. It was born as an event “by gallerists for gallerists” and gradually expanded to a mainstream audience, welcoming around 80,000 visitors at the capacious Grand Palais main venue. It has also sprouted numerous extramural sites and events, including installations in public spaces such as the infamous sculpture by Paul McCarthy. Set up in the swish Place Vendome, the giant green shape –some saw it as a Christmas tree, most identified it with a sex toy – was vandalized, causing it to deflate (there’s an irony somewhere in there) and had to be taken down.

Agrandissez l’image
The Mother of all French Markets: The Incandescent FIAC 2014 ParisPrime Minister Manuel Valls, Minister of Culture Fleur Pellerin (right)

Agrandissez l’image
The Mother of all French Markets: The Incandescent FIAC 2014 ParisGilbert and George, as if they had just jumped out of their picture

Agrandissez l’image
The Mother of all French Markets: The Incandescent FIAC 2014 ParisArtist Tracey Emin catching up with friends Georgie Hopton and Hikari Yokoyama

FIAC is not a museum exhibition, it is a bustling market. The main distinction is that the art on display is bought and sold right then and there. The whole art world stands to notice when a piece or a particular artist is attracting interest at FIAC, and eager collectors elbow their way through the doors on preview day to scoop up their next treasure. The continuing success story of FIAC will start a new chapter in March 2015 with the debut of FIAC Los Angeles.

For emerging young artists, being noticed here can be the fortune cookie that presages an auspicious future. To underline this incubator effect and promote the next generation, a new addition this year is the (OFF)icielle art fair held at the Docks, presenting 68 newcomer galleries from 14 countries.

The sense of occasion on the vernissage came from the tour of the exhibits by Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Minister of Culture Fleur Pellerin, as well as the presence of celebrated artists likeGilbert and George and Tracey Emin, who stood out for being eminently gracious, meeting and greeting, chatting to old friends and generally having a grand time.

For all the fond handshakes and champagne clinking, there’s serious business swiftly moving on in the background, which makes the energy of the FIAC particularly seductive. Sales appeared to be ticking along nicely as we witnessed, just during our brief visit, the red dot going up on Jean Dubuffet’s L’Heure de Pointe, priced well over 530,ooo euros, by Waddington Custot gallery, and brisk interest in a striking 2.9-million-euro Basquiat at the Van de Weghe booth.

FIAC, however, is not an exclusive playground for the elite collector. While the main statement pieces are intended to attract attention, and priced accordingly, galleries offer a wide selection of new art, prints, or limited series – items that are within reach of every art enthusiast. FIAC is a great place to start a collection. With 191 galleries from 26 countries there’s bound to be something that catches your eye, and gallery representatives are approachable and passionate about the art they bring to the show. If you find a piece you love, you could be taking back home the ultimate souvenir from Paris, one that will ignite memories and inspiration for years to come.

FIAC Paris is held every year in October.

FIAC 2014
Grand Palais
Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris 8th
October 23-26
Noon to 8pm – Until 9pm Friday
Métro: Champs-Elysées / Clemenceau
Admission including catalogue €60 – Children under 12 free





“À votre avis,” by Amadou Sanogo, is being shown at the FIAC in Paris as part of the art fair’s (Off)icielle satellite event. CreditAmadou Sanogo/Galerie Magnin-A, Paris
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PARIS — As the art world continues to boom and expand, there can be little doubt that, in order to survive in it, size helps.

In recent years, major galleries have compulsively opened outposts worldwide: Gagosian alone has 14 galleries, with another set to open in London next year; Emmanuel Perrotin has four; David Zwirner, three. Around 200 art fairs are crammed into the calendar, with the major ones like Art Basel and Frieze London also holding international sister events (Miami Beach and Hong Kong for Basel; New York for Frieze).

As the International Contemporary Art Fair in Paris prepares to open its 41st edition on Oct. 23, it appears clear that this event is happy to play with the big boys.

Under the guidance of Jennifer Flay, the fair’s general director since 2010, the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, or FIAC, is extending its reach in multiple directions. Its first international event, FIAC Los Angeles, will be held next year at the Convention Center from March 27-29. This year the Paris fair is effectively doubling, with the opening of a new satellite event, (Off)icielle, that focuses on emerging galleries.

“Since 2006 there have been up to six or seven different ‘offs’ around the FIAC, but, with respect, none of them really made the standard,” the New Zealand-born Ms. Flay said during an interview this summer in her office here. “So yes, we decided to do it ourselves.”

Before Ms. Flay was named artistic director of the FIAC in 2003, the fair was considered a fusty relic on the art fair circuit: “too boring and too poor,” as Ms. Flay put it. Today, it has standing as a major international event that has injected new life into the French art scene.

As usual, the fair, which this year runs through Oct. 26, is being held in locations across Paris. Its main gallery base is in the Grand Palais, with events in the Tuileries, the Jardin des Plantes, the Place Vendôme and on the banks of the Seine. The spread of the FIAC is so extensive that this year it has organized shuttle boats along the Seine that can serenely transport ticket holders from the Grand Palais to the Cité de la Mode, where (Off)icielle is being held, avoiding the frenzy of the Paris Métro.

Such is the draw of the FIAC that many Paris art institutions synchronize their calendars with its opening. This year, happily timed events include the reopening of the Picasso Museum on Oct. 25, the inauguration of the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton on Oct. 20 (opening to the public on Oct. 27), and the reopening of La Monnaie de Paris on Oct. 25, with a major exhibition dedicated to the American artist Paul McCarthy. Celebrations are also being held by the Fondation Cartier for its 30th anniversary.


“Joel,” 2011, by Omar Victor Diop, part of the (Off)icielle event at FiAC.CreditOmar Victor Diop/Galerie Magnin-A, Paris

The Grand Palais will hold stands from 191 galleries from 26 countries, including Turkey, Mexico, Norway, India and South Korea. Most galleries, as in previous years, hail from France, the United States and Germany. Major dealers include Hauser & Wirth from Switzerland; White Cube from Britain; Paula Cooper and Gagosian from the United States; Sprüth Magers from Germany; and from France, the cream of the Paris galleries, including Perrotin and Marian Goodman.

It will also be a last FIAC for the legendary French dealer Yvon Lambert, who confirmed this summer that, at 68, he will be closing his Paris gallery in order to focus on books and literature.

The Grand Palais will be divided into sections, with established galleries in one area and newer galleries in another. There will also be a space dedicated to the works of the nominees for the Marcel Duchamp prize, one of France’s most prestigious contemporary art awards. On the shortlist this year are Théo Mercier, Julien Prévieux, Florian and Michaël Quistrebert, and Evariste Richer. The winner will be announced on Oct. 25.

The work of 3,430 contemporary and Modern artists will be on sale, including established names like Marina Abramovic (Krinzinger Gallery); Zeng Fanzhi (Gagosian); Nan Goldin (Matthew Marks); Ai Weiwei (Lisson Gallery and Continua); and Dan Flavin (Pace). They will be alongside rising stars like the 35-year-old British painter and sculptor Lydia Gifford (Laura Bartlett); the multidisciplinary Indian artist Asim Waqif (Nature Morte); and Cyprien Gaillard, the 34-year-old French multimedia wunderkind, whose work will be on show at Bugada & Cargnel, Sprüth Magers and Gladstone Gallery.


“Installation View, Drawn,” by Lydia Gifford.CreditLydia Gifford/Laura Bartlett Gallery

(Off)icielle, the new satellite fair, runs from Oct. 22-26 at Paris’s new City of Fashion and Design, known as Les Docks, which opened in 2012 in the 13th Arrondissement in the city’s southeast quadrant. Sixty-eight galleries from 13 countries will be showcasing works there in a vast, 3,700-square-meter space.

Fringe events are not new to art fairs, a recent example being Frieze Masters, focused on historical art, which opened in London in 2012. But rather than scanning the past, Ms. Flay wanted (Off)icielle to highlight up-and-coming dealers, or galleries that might have been overlooked.

“It’s not some little thing we’re doing on the side, it’s absolutely a part of FIAC,” said Ms. Flay, who, having run her own gallery in Paris from 1990 to 2003, understands the importance of art fairs for dealers.

Galleries showing at (Off)icielle include the London-based Limoncello, with works by the young Israeli artist Yonatan Vinitsky. From Paris, galleries include Magnin-A, which focuses on contemporary African art and is showing works by Omar Victor Diop and Amadou Sanogo among others, and Semiose, which includes the multimedia artist Sébastien Gouju. From the United States, LTD Los Angeles is showcasing the 25-year-old Argentine-born artist Amalia Ulman, while Zink Gallery from Berlin brings the 23-year-old Russian video artist Aslan Gaisumov.


“Untitled (video still),” 2011-2014, by Alsan Gaisumov.CreditCourtesy of Aslan Gaisumov and Galerie Zink, Berlin

Ms. Flay said that in holding the satellite event, she also hoped to provide an accessible entry point to the art world for aspiring collectors. “There is something about being surrounded by these younger galleries that is so much less intimidating than the context of the Grand Palais,” she said. “We’ll be creating a different atmosphere.”

While the FIAC offers private gallery tours and exclusive events for its V.I.P. guests, (Off)icielle is channeling an edgier vibe. Les Docks has impeccable hipster credentials: The former industrial warehouse holds the ultratrendy bar-cafe-nightclubs Nüba (run by the Baron nightclub crowd) and Wanderlust (part of the Silencio bandwagon), where (Off)icielle will hold screenings and events. In keeping with the urban vibe, street food will be available.

Another new event at this year’s FIAC is a collaboration with the Austrian crystal maker Swarovski. As part of the Hors Les Murs section— the showcasing of art outside of the Grand Palais — the house is sponsoring a new work by the French sculptor Didier Marcel, which will be in the Jardin des Plantes in the Fifth Arrondissement. Mr. Marcel, who won a competition to create a work “inspired by Swarovski,” is creating “Rosée” (Dew), described as a scattering of drops of crystal throughout the Jardin’s Rose Garden.

Meanwhile, a Hors Les Murs feature, “Tree” by Paul McCarthy in the Place Vendôme, will not be visible during the fair: The 80-meter-high inflatable sculpture was deflated by vandals the night of Oct. 17, and Mr. McCarthy and local authorities said he would not seek to re-inflate it. The lime green sculpture was described by the artist as a Christmas tree, but critics said looked like something much more prosaic: a sex toy. “After the violent reactions, the artist was disturbed by the potential impact of the work,” according to FIAC officials.

Doreen Carvajal contributed reporting



Paris makes a comeback

 PARIS  |  23 October 2014  |  AMA  |    |  

The one domain that seems to have been saved from the culture of “French bashing” is art. The sudden yet spectacular revival of the Parisian art scene and the multiple events and inaugurations of international recognition taking place day by day across the capital have not gone unnoticed by the Anglo-Saxons, who this week pay testimony to this resurgence in the media with an unusual enthusiasm that deserves to be recognised.

It is in this resolutely optimistic context that the 41st edition of FIAC opens this year, a time when Paris offers art amateurs a myriad of spaces and events, some public — the reopening of the Musée Picasso and Monnaie de Paris — and others private, such as the Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Paris: art capital? 
The pick of Paris museums remains, without a doubt, one of the richest in the world, with tens of millions of visitors arriving every year; however, France’s place on the global art market has been in constant recession over recent years. It is in London (where the majority of important collectors live), New York or Hong Kong where most high-value transactions take place.

The French art scene is obviously not the most profitable in the world, yet France and Paris can nevertheless count on their different qualities. As Anny Shaw underlines in The ArtNewspaper: “London might appeal to the business head, but it seems that Paris appeals to the heart, and never more so than this year.”

Conversely to many perceptions, and despite Paris’ ‘sleeping beauty’ image, we have recently seen the giants of contemporary art (Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac and the equally famous Gagosian gallery) invest in the Parisian suburbs with the opening of vast spaces in the towns of Pantin and Le Bourget respectively. The inauguration of the Fondation Louis Vuitton in the heart of the Bois de Boulogne and the proliferation of new projects elsewhere in Paris, for the most part private, are also consistent with the notion that the decided attractiveness of the capital is only waiting to be exploited.

This autumn, the rich public programming and the good health of FIAC have created an almost euphoric feeling. So what to make of it all? “Paris is suddenly in a very good mood for art,” said Jean-Philippe Billarant, an industrialist and longtime collector who plans to give tours of his collection, housed in a converted silo, during FIAC week. Le Silo sits 30 miles northwest of Paris. “The atmosphere of Paris reminds me of Chelsea 30 years ago, and that’s interesting.”

This enthusiasm is shared by Sunny Rahbar, co-director of the Third Line Gallery and exhibitor at FIAC where he is showing work by Ala Ebtekar, Amir H. Fallah, Farhad Moshiri, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Rana Begum and Slavs & Tatars. The gallerist explains, “I can say that the fair has gone from strength to strength. We have participated for the last 3 years now, and every year we meet more and more collectors. And yes, it does feel that the market is getting stronger for sure. I feel the future for the market is only going to get better and stronger as there seems to be a renewed interest and a good energy around the fair here and contemporary art in general.”

Focus on FIAC
Since Jennifer Flay took over FIAC, media and art professionals alike have said that the fair has taken on a new life. The efforts made to drag the event from the drowsy atmosphere in which it found itself in the early 2000s seem to have paid off. With an obstinate desire to internationalise, the New Zealander has, over the years, drawn some of the biggest galleries in the world and their precious collectors to Paris. Whilst many fairs have taken off across the world and the competition is intense between the leading events, today FIAC is hot on the heels of competitors such as Frieze and Art Basel.

The 41st edition sees its doors open on 23 October into a more or less serene atmosphere, the rejection of subjecting works of art to wealth tax having arrived just in time to reassure French collectors.

Internationalism is the key word for Jennifer Flay. This year 191 galleries originating from 26 countries come together at the Grand Palais; amongst these, only 65% are European (compared to 73% in 2013). Featured are 48 French galleries, 26 German, with galleries from Norway and Portugal making their debut appearance, whilst 45 North American galleries are to exhibit (four from Brasil and four from Mexico). Furthermore, for the first time, we see the participation of Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Amongst new participants, and also those returning, include: Helly Nahmad Gallery (New York), Hannah Hoffman (Los Angeles), Antoine Levy (Paris), Vera Cortês Art Agency (Lisbon), Cory Nielsen (Berlin) and Wallspace (New York).

Artists at the Grand Palais 
In light of this 41st edition, Artprice has released precise information on the key players at this event. This year we will see no less that 1,451 artists. Whilst big names such as Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon and Gerhard Richter will be on display, one will be surprised to find that contemporary Chinese artists, on the other hand, are rather underrepresented: Luo Zhongli, Chen Yifei and Zhang Xiadong — amongst the ten most popular artists in the world — will not be exhibited at FIAC.

From international galleries to international names; amongst the 84 nationalities represented, American artists take the lion’s share with 25%, followed by Germany (12%), France (11%), the United Kingdom (9%), Italy (3.3%), Switzerland (2.9%), Belgium (2.8%) and China (2.7%).

Recent figures on exhibiting artists show that more than 80% of exhibited artists are still alive, the average age being 50 years old. The doyenne of this selection is Cuban Carmen Herrera, aged 99 years old, exhibited by Lisson Gallery London. As for the youngest, they are just 25 years old: Lucien Smith at Skarstedt and Phillip Timischl at Neue Atle Brucke.

The next step: go international 
If the scale of the event has undoubtedly risen over recent years, the ambition of becoming a rival to Art Basel is still a target to reach for.

Whilst it is certainly globalised, the art market is not totally closed off to locals. Yet we must wonder if the small number of high-level collectors residing in France (the consequence, as we saw above, results in the lack of luxury sales on French soil) does not represent significant obstacles for FIAC.

Despite a visible effort to strengthen their image as an international fair, a process which inevitably comes with a reduced number of French galleries, FIAC is still a long way from the renown of Art Basel, which remains unrivalled, except perhaps by the presence of Frieze, which is of course a younger fair; both of these events have successfully expanded to the United States (Art Basel Miami and Frieze New York) as well as Hong Kong (for Art Basel). So FIAC will take up residence in Los Angeles from 27 until 29 March 2015. The outcome of this Californian adventure is yet to be seen…

Around FIAC, and (OFF), and other offsite events
Amateurs and collectors, often weary of well known names who are mostly inaccessible for the majority of buyers, will this week have a wide range of coinciding events. With seven in total, the big newcomer this year is the launch of l'(OFF)icielle de la FIAC, taking place at the Cité de la mode et du design, in the Jakob + MacFarlane building. Jennifer Flay has highlighted that she wanted “a new event entirely, not just another satellite of the FIAC,” much in the same spirit as Liste, the much-valued event that takes place every year alongside Art Basel.

In the media space that FIAC and its surrounding events must share with the inauguration of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the appearance of l'(OFF)icille raises many questions. For the 60 participating galleries, the success of a newly-created event is in no way assured, even if the opening on 21 October seemed promising.

Does the appearance of this parallel fair — equally as reliant on the powerful Reed Exhibition’s organisation — not risk suffocating a still-hesitant market, rather than leaving the competition in the same segment, leaving them in pieces? Furthermore the stand tariffs at l'(OFF)icille and its mother festival barely seem to differ (€445 against a Grand Palais’ €494 to €545), despite the huge difference in reputation. However, it is worth mentioning that these tariffs are often subject to negotiations. One may wonder if the aim of Reed Exhibitions, in the creation of this new event, is to partially open up FIAC to galleries who have for many years dreamed of participating and to let them in through a side entrance.

As for these external events, despite the cancellation of Cutlog (the director of which accused Reed of monopolising all available locations across the market and thus saturating it), the choice remains varied.

The event considered to be the most important of fairs “off-not-officielle”, is YIA — Young International Art Fair — taking place at the Carreau du Temple in the heart of the Marais quarter, from 23 until 26 October.

Claiming the need to mix up young galleries and more well-established players, YIA’s founder Romain Tichit refuses to deliberately be considered as an “off” event. Betting on the originality and creativity which, it is said, are at the heart of its success, the objective taken up by YIA is to set themselves apart, establishing their own identity in an environment which is, at best, more conservative. This proves a considerable challenge when the YIA has often been accused of unequal selection.

Not far from the Grand Palais, in Hotel le A, rue d’Artois, the first French edition of the Outsider Art Fair will take place. The fair, which was founded in New York 20 years ago, demonstrates the important position of Art Brut today, and more widely that of what Anglo-Saxons refer to as ‘Outsider Art’. Coincidence or not, the event takes place for the first time this year whilst Bruno Decharme’s key abcd collection is on display at Maison Rouge.

Other noteworthy events include Art Elysées (Champs Elysées, from 23 until 27 October) and Design Elysée which, having focused on the particular segment of ‘classic’ Modern and contemporary art and historic design from the post-war period, are also looking to make their mark.

Another fair working in the less competitive, but perhaps more difficult, sector of the avant-garde is Variation, formerly Show off, which takes place at the Espace des Blancs Manteaux from 21 until 26 October. This fair centres around contemporary digital creation, via the work of 40 artists who present photography, videos, 3D printing, sculptures and prototypes.

A sign of the desire for renewal and dynamism which can be noted in today’s atmosphere, the Slick Art Fair has also opted for a name change, rebranding itself this year as Slick Attitude. For its 9th edition, the event will take place underneath Paris’ Pont Alexandre III, bringing together 30 galleries with one common objective: to promote the young international art scene in France and to emphasise the work of new galleries which aim to research and uncover emerging talent.

Finally, new arrival Fair In Off, which is also to take place at the Espace Commines between 23 and 26 October, will try to grab the attention of amateur art-lovers in a landscape which already leaves very little room for competition. According to organisers, it is to be a “complimentary initiative”, bringing together 14 emerging artists standing staunchly at the fringes of traditional fairs. Fair In Off proposes to “bring the public closer to the process of artistic reflection.”

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