As Paris continues to buzz, with the opening of a third Gagosian gallery and Pinault’s very impressive Bourse du Commerce, among other private initiatives, the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain (FIAC) had to face several challenges for its 2021 edition.
This year, FIAC left Grand Palais where it had returned in 2006. The grand ‘glass-house setting’ of the fair is going through heavy renovations, scheduled to last until 2024. Mairie de Paris is hopeful that the works will be finished on time for the Olympic Games.
This meant, no direct connection to the beautiful Petit-Palais which usually hosts the curated “FIAC-projects”, directly opposite Grand Palais, and a more difficult access to the galleries in central Paris. Avenue Matignon, hosts a new set of shiny, recently-opened galleries including Skarstedt and Perrotin. The central location of the fair, would have been an easier route for collectors. Meanwhile, Petit-Palais features a poetic Othoniel show we’ve mentioned on this platform before.
Instead, Palais Éphémère, designed and supervised by Wilmotte & Associés for 40 million Euros, welcomed 160 exhibitors last week. The “Young galleries” section replaced “Lafayette’s”, and showcased ten international emerging galleries. The fair had to significantly downsize due to these space constraints (193 attended in the 2019). One of the last important art-market moments of the year (Art Basel Miami Beach will close this year’s calendar next December), FIAC followed the art circuit of fairs such as Art Basel and Frieze / Frieze Masters.
Heavy-hitters such as Hauser&Wirth, Pace, Ropac and Zwirner had chosen to take part. The latter presented remarkable drawings by Josef Albers, resonating with Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris’ collateral exhibition, probably one of the most beautiful booths on view. Other highlights included a fantastic Nicolas de Staël’s painting on Applicat-Prazan’s stand, unseen on the market for a long time and works by Anne Imhof on Galerie Buchholz’s stand. Imhof’s performances at Palais de Tokyo presented during FIAC were sold out.
The fair also had to fulfill the public’s appetite for art presentations but both galleries and visitors obviously missed the Grand Palais. “We’re aware that we have to produce an event that would match people’s expectations.” Jennifer Flay, Director of FIAC remarked before the fair opened.