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Tom Wesselmann. Represented by: Natalie Seroussi (Paris)

FIAC 2013, rendez-vous à Paris 0


FIAC 2013
October 24-27 OCTOBER
Grand Palais & Hors Les Murs  

FIAC’s 40th anniversary has opened from the 22 of October. This year’s edition is ambitious as the ones before and it aims to confirm its status as a leading international art fair. One may ask - leading in what sector, or, leading in what part of the world? If taken from the continental Europe’s perspective, it seems that FIAC is not the leading art fair, at least if one compares it with Art Basel or maybe even ARCO Madrid. Keeping in mind the current frenetic always on-the-move contemporary-art enthusiasts choosing between three Art Basels (Miami, Basel and Hong-Kong), two Friezes (New York and London), the Armory Show in New York, Art Dubai, FIAC in Paris, ARCO in Madrid and as many as 100 other fairs and satellite events, one understands the reasons why FIAC tries hard (or, at least, shows attempts of doing it) to retain and increase its international credibility.

FIAC Paris. Photo: Emmanuel Nguyen Ngoc

FIAC fair edition in 2013 had 25 countries represented with quite a big chunk of galleries coming from the USA: from the total number of 184 galleries 30% of the exhibitors were French and 25 % galleries are from US. New countries represented this year include Canada, Ireland and the Czech Republic. 36 galleries are participating for the first time or are returning to FIAC after a period of absence.

Hans Bellmer. La poupée, 1938. Courtesy Galerie Le Minotaure (Paris)

Pierre Molinier. Le chaman, ca 1960, galerie 1900-2000 (Paris)

Represented by: Galerie Perrotin (Paris, Hong Kong, New York)

As one can observe this process throughout all art fairs across the globe, the curated public programmes are gaining more and more importance. Public art projects initiated by art fairs complement the somewhat not-so-academically-driven sales and are as an antidote to the private agreements between dealers. Public art programmes, seemingly sit on the opposite side of the table – they are open to all interested general public and seems to ground the FIAC’s attempt to create its identity as critically informed and curatorially grounded art fair. One needs to be sure that FIAC is not ‘just about sales’, but that it is collaborating with curators, writers, philosophers and the likes.

Matthias Bitzer. Represented by: Kadel Willborn (Düsseldorf)

Caleb Considine. Represented by: Essex Street (New York

Anne de Vries. Represented by:  Martin van Zomeren (Amsterdam)

This year’s FIAC’s programme was conceived as multi-layered cake, in collaboration with participating galleries and various institutions, such as City of Paris, Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, Louvre Museum and others. FIAC has usually very strong and extensive programme of outdoor works. One could argue, if audience or even FIAC itself really need so many new large-scale sculptural productions, but it looks like FIAC’s attention is really directed towards expansion of sculptural medium.

Jean Dupuy. Where,  2013. Courtesy galerie Loevenbruck, Paris. © ADAGP, Paris Representé(e) par: Loevenbruck

For example, at the Tuilleries Garden, for the 8th consecutive year, FIAC presents an ensemble of outdoor works in association with the Domaine National du Louvre. This year, works by Giovanni Anselmo, Tarek Atoui, Berger&Berger, James Lee Byars, Valentin Carron, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Jean Dupuy, Sam Falls, Didier Faustino, Georg Herold, Gary Hume, Alicja Kwade, Joséphine Meckseper, Ernesto Neto, Maria Nordman, Francisco Sobrino, Shen Yuan and Héctor Zamora will be presented. Many of the works have been created specifically for the garden. There are also other presentations of new sculpture commissions by FIAC and Petit Palais, but the author of this review found these programmes merely as an extension of the art fair exhibition and highly overproduced and not justified curatorially. Why FIAC needs so many sculptural off-site projects, maybe the galleries could answer that question more correctly.


Major Parisian institutions are not asleep during FIAC. They seize the opportunity to grasp the attention of international art world. In 2013 Paris is offering a lot outside FIAC. For the time since it reopened, the Palais de Tokyo gives Carte Blanche to Philippe Parreno. Then, Centre Pompidou, after the several years of more or less mediocre programming presents Pierre Huyghe’s retrospective and retraces the work of Roy Lichtenstein. The humorous sculptors and conceptual artists Dewar & Gicquel (2012 winners of the Marcel Duchamp Prize) are featured in the Espace 315.

Exposition view on Philippe Parreno, "Anywhere, Anywhere, Out Of The World", Palais de Tokyo, 2013. Philippe Parreno, The Writer, 2007

In private gallery scene the things are also busy: at gbagency one could see beautifully installed new Omer Fast's X-rated video Everything That Rises Must Converge. This controversial work one week earlier was cleverly installed at the Frieze Focus at the Arratia Beer Gallery stand.This work was a one of must-sees in London and is even more so in Paris. It's a cinematic glimpse at the LA adult film industry, showing 24 hours in the life of porn stars. Beautiful images in four screens repulse and seduce the viewer, the interviews with the porn director about his hippy parents and sexual abuse during childhood are interwoven with stories of illegal immigration and narrative around dinosaur egg theft.

Omer Fast.  Everything That Rises Must Converge at gbagency. Photo: Etsuj 

Another interesting show in Paris during FIAC was Berlin based American artist’s Daniel Keller’s LAZY OCEAN DRIFT at the New GalleryExhbition offers us to imagine the world where ‘labor, consumption, marketing, leisure and protest have all been hybridized, automated, outsourced and offshored into something both ubiquitous and unrecognizable’ . The visual aesthetics of the show mixes the material liquidity, 3D printing and ‘prove you are not a robot’ mechanisms, mixing it up a bit of Jimmie Durham’s stones and coconuts, inserting natural elements and mixing them with the keywords from TED talks, as if they culd save the world from repeating mistakes. What strikes me again about DANIEL KELLER’s work, is his ability to define the way in which market operates now, to isolate the conditions of how labour and ideas fluctuate and are produced and consumed. He says that ‘90% of late 20th century jobs haven't existed for 50 years and humanity itself has become 'nonessential' for the continued maintenance and growth of the global economy.’ On that note, I wish to FIAC that they would see this change of condition not as a premise to stick to the old, grounded ideas, but rather to rethinking, challenging and re-growing itself to the new, better edition of 2014.


Regarding the sales figures we rely on the reporting source website, which says that the gallery Yvon Lambert (that recently closed his NY gallery space) reported the unidentified Turkish collector buying at $250,000 wrecked Ferrari – it is a work titled Dino by Bertrand Lavier, 1993. Vedovi Gallery sold Basquiat’s 1984 “O.M.R.A.V.S.,” showing a lone black figure among electricity pylons on a plain white background for approximately $5m.

Bertrand Lavier. Dino, 1993, Crashed Car - 130 x 420 x 180 cm. Courtesy de l'artiste et de la Galerie Yvon Lambert (Paris)

Galerie Chantal Crousel had a 2013 white and blue inkjet painting by American artist Wade Guyton on its stand. It had been presold to a collector who is donating it to the Belvedere Museum in Vienna. The price was $350,000.

David Zwirner sold youngest and hottest art world star’s (goodbye, Loris Greaud thanks God) Oscar Murillo’s “0 + X = 145” for $120,000.

Ai Weiwei. Iron Tree, 2013. Iron - 628 x 710 x 710 cm; total height including pedestal 690 cm. Courtesy the artist and neugerriemschneider (Berlin). Photo: Ai Weiwei

Neugerriemschneider from Berlin presented one of the FIAC’s highlights - Ai Weiwei’s now iconic sculpture produced in 2013 in the edition of 10 Iron Tree. One sculpture from the edition sold to a German collector during the first few hours of the preview. The asking figure was about 1 million euros, dealers said.