Spread out along the spacious aisles and picturesque dome of the Grand Palais in Paris, the Foire internationale d’art contemporain, also known as FIAC, has returned once again for another year of sales in the French capital. With Wednesday evening slowly dragging into the late hours, the fair’s VIP opening is now concluded, once again garnering strong praise and enthusiastic response from its attendees. This year, the list of galleries brings together exhibitors from 25 countries, marking its 45th edition with a fitting reflection of its storied history, one echoed by the prestigious locale of the Grand Palais. With an exacting selection of modern art, contemporary art, and design galleries, among the most emblematic of the international scene, the fair’s opening hours once again underscored its vitality in the modern fair circuit.
At the Galerie Perrotin booth, one could browse a series of new works by artist Xavier Veilhan, pieces playing on the architectural layout of the booth, and occasionally referencing the massive expanses of the Grand Palais itself, including a particularly striking piece that gazed out over the fair from above the booth, contrasted by a series of floating black spheres. Also bearing a taste for the monumental, Gagosian was showing a massive new sculpture by Katharina Grosse, a voluminous pile of wood and other detritus painted over in her signature flurry of color.
At Victoria Miro, one could browse a series of new works by Grayson Perry, hyper-elaborate wall pieces that seemed a marked departure from recent work, while 303 was presenting work by Alicja Kwade that recalled her enrapturing installation from the final room of the Arsenal at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Pace Gallery was on-hand as well, showing a series of works by Zhang Xiaogang that referenced the artist’s new show open at the gallery’s New York location.
At the Place Vendome, artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset had coated the open courtyard with red starfish, continuing the ongoing installation series while making a coy reference to changing ecological conditions and rising sea levels, posed against the storied facades of the City of Light. Elsewhere, at the Jardin des Tulieres, the fair’s sculpture park had also opened to the public, bringing with it a range of works including pieces by Robert Indiana, Richard Long, Thomas Schütte, and more, marking the space with a unique new perspective that made the already appealing, aimless wandering its walkways encourage all the more inviting. With a fall bite in the air, this element of the fair’s curation felt particularly at one with the spirit of the city.
On view through the end of the weekend, FIAC is an essential French entry in the current art market, and will only continue to surprise in the coming days. It closes Oct 21.
— D. Creahan