1. Political statements
Isa Genzken, Untitled, 2012. Mannequin and mixed media. 185 x 73 x 45 cm / 72 7/8 x 28 3/4 x 17 3/4 in © Isa Genzken Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Galerie Buchholz
Established by Iwan and Manuela Wirth and Ursula Hauser in 1992, Hauser & Wirth has grown to become an international art powerhouse — the Wirth’s placed at the top of Art Review’s ‘Power 100’ list only this week. Today, the gallery represents some of the world’s best-known contemporary artists and artist’s estates — from Louise Bourgeois, to Maria Lassnig and Henry Moore.
Among the 170 galleries participating in FIAC, Hauser & Wirth’s stand retains a central position. ‘This year’s stand is inspired by the tragic attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris last January, and brings together works on the themes of free speech, self-expression and outcries for social injustice, amongst others,’ explains curator Paul Schimmel, a Partner and Vice President of Hauser & Wirth, who formerly served as chief curator at Los Angeles’ MOCA. ‘The highlights for me are an Isa Genzken found object assemblage, and an explicit anti-war piece by Paul McCarthy,’ adds Schimmel.
2. The international attention-grabbers
Monika Sosnowska, Facade, 2013. Painted steel. 728 x 510 x 210 cm. Courtesy of The Artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow
Yngve Holen, Sensitive 7 Detergent, 2014. Washing machine drum, SLS print, pedestal. 140 x 65 x 60cm. Courtesy the artist and Neue Alte Brücke, Frankfurt/Main
For Paul Nyzam, Director in the Contemporary Art department of Christie’s Paris, certain works were clear standouts at this year’s fair. Listing his ‘coups de cœur’, Nyzam cited, ‘The Modern Institute’s (Glasgow) solo exhibition of Polish artist Monika Sosnowska, who represented Poland at the Venice Biennale in 2007, and whose monumental — yet incredibly fragile — sculptural works reflect the architecture of the Grand Palais.’
Other highlights included: ‘the menacing and ingenious deconstructed machines of German artist Yngve Holen at Frankfurt’s Neue Alte Brücke — a popular hit at Frieze only a week previously — and works by Davide Balula at François Ghebaly’s, a brilliant French gallerist who works from LA’. Among the works Nyzam fell in love with was ‘a painting by Günter Umberg at Thomas Zander (Cologne), its multiple layers of pigment coming forming a velveteen surface so engaging the viewer temporarily forgets their immediate surrounds — a fantastic way of clearing one’s vision after such an ‘art overdose!’
3. City-wide installations
Antony Gormley, Big Look, 2014 © Marc Domage
Angela Bulloch, Heavy Metal Stack of Six, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, London / Hong Kong © Marc Domage
Outdoor events remain a standout feature of FIAC, with this year’s display extending along the banks of the Seine and into the Jardin des Tuileries, which features monumental sculptures and installations by artists including Angela Bulloch and Antony Gormley.
‘The fair continues to expand its ambitions and innovative programme of off-site projects, including FIAC’s Hors les Murs programme in the Tuileries Gardens,’ commented a spokesperson from Lisson Gallery. First opened in 1967, Lisson’s participation builds on its history as a champion for works by major contemporary sculptors — its represented artists including Anish Kapoor, Richard Deacon and Tony Cragg, whose Column stands in the Jardin des Tuileries as a permanent installation.
4. Major galleries in miniature
Lehmann Maupin, Installation view, Stand A54, FIAC 2015. Grand Palais. October 22-25, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Photo: Robert Glowacki
While galleries such as Hauser & Wirth have adopted the tightly curated approach, others have used FIAC as an opportunity to show the breadth of their artist portfolio and history. With galleries in New York and Hong Kong, Lehmann Maupin’s booth combines Asia’s most coveted contemporary artists with some of Western art’s biggest names — with assemblages by Kader Attia presented alongside works by artists including Liu Wei, Tony Oursler, Alex Prager, Roberto Cuoghi and Lee Bul.
The strategy is one followed by PACE, whose FIAC booth ambitiously aims to deliver a snapshot of the gallery’s 70-strong artist portfolio and 55 year history. International director Valentine Volchkova states, ‘Our booth at FIAC is a true representation of Pace, and we tried to recreate the atmosphere of the gallery by presenting historical works and masterpieces spanning from Larry Bell’s work from 1969 to Tara Donovan’s recent Pin Drawing from 2015’.
A spokesperson from Lisson echoed Volchkova’s aim: ‘FIAC offers us the opportunity to present a varied selection of work from different gallery artists, which this year includes Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Spencer Finch, Susan Hiller, Shirazeh Housiary and Wael Shawky, amongst many others.’
5. Officielle — the place to see young talent
Paris’s Officielle fair seen from the Seine
‘During FIAC, Paris’s cultural offering reaches a peak — there’s very much a feeling that young artists are a valid part of that conversation,’ comments Antoine Cadeo de Iturbide, whose project Early Work supports the city’s newest contemporary artists.
Now in its second year, the satellite fair Officielle is ideal for those seeking to discover emerging artists, hosting 69 galleries specialising in contemporary and emerging art. Speaking in Blouin, FIAC director Jennifer Flay emphasised, ‘It is a place for the discovery of new artists and also artists who may be older but have been overlooked.’
Elsewhere, the annual Marcel Duchamp prize provides recognition for a young artist living and working in France — and is described as ‘unmissable’ by Christie’s Paul Nyzam. Meanwhile, the city’s ‘Young Curators’ programme has been credited with launching the careers of curators including Simon Castets.
Why Paris? Why FIAC?
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‘FIAC is a key event on the international art world calendar — and there is no setting more beautiful for contemporary art than beneath the glass-roofed Grand Palais,’ comments Christie’s Paul Nyzam. ‘The quality of the fair, the exhibitors, the works and collectors who come to Paris for the event has continued to rise. It’s something that we realised when we were in London for Frieze a week ago: A lot of collectors prefer to come to Paris than London. A spokesperson from Lisson Gallery agrees: ‘FIAC has grown to become one of the most important European art fairs for the gallery.’
‘I already took the opportunity to visit as many institutions and galleries as possible when I arrived in Paris!’ says Hauser &Wirth’s Paul Schimmel. ‘I’ve lots to recommend, from A Brief History of the Future at the Louvre to the pop-up atelier at Studio des Acacias, showing a joint presentation of work by Rashid Johnson and Matthew Day Jackson, and the spectacular dense and rich installation of Kiefer’s books at the bibliotheca.’
During FIAC, Christie’s Paris will be hosting Modern Art sales as well as highlights from its forthcoming sales of Contemporary Art (8th and 9th December) and Photography (November).
Main image at top: Swarovski Series — Wu Tsang, 2015 © Swarovski
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