FIAC 2016 | A fair of two halves
The 2016 edition of the FIAC attests to its organizers’ desire to bring — once more — change to the forefront of the fair.
For the first time in the fair's history, the Avenue Winston Churchill, running between Paris' Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, has been closed to traffic. The last time it happened was during the 1900 Exposition Universelle, where the first moving walkway, eloquently named “The Way of the Future,” was presented.
The 2016 edition is business as usual, with large scale, more accessible — and very profitable — pieces on the ground floor, in what is standard economic logic. Luckily, there are a few gems, including Berlin-based Galerie Gregor Podnar, presenting works by Irma Blank, or Sadie Coles gallery, going decidedly against the grain with what is possibly both the fair’s most original booth and clearly the most perplexing to the French public, with works by Urs Fisher and Sarah Lucas. Last but not least is Chantal Crousel, with high-quality works including the stunning Timekeeper by Pierre Huyghe and beautiful pieces by Jean-Muc Moulène, who currently has a retrospective at Centre Pompidou which opened yesterday.
But it’s on the first floor that the strongest artistic proposal can be found. Calcutta’s Experimenter — securing a sale to Maison Rouge owner Antoine de Galbert just minutes after the opening of the Grand Palais’ doors — offers a superb video installation by Bani Abidi, the star of the booth. His film Karachi II portrays the Pakistani city from a personal perspective.
Aurélien Froment’s Non Alignés (Fatim Diop) is on show at Marcelle Alix, a captivating video narrating the story of a Bengali citizen who left his home country to travel around the world. Stopping in Dakar, he holds a black and white photographic account of his travels...
Aurélien Froment, "Non alignés" (Fatim Diop) 2016
C L E A R I N G continues to grab the attention of visitors with sculptures by Huma Bhabha, beautiful as they are expensive, whilst also displaying work by the younger artist Marina Pinsky; Dubai gallery Grey Noise, at the forefront of artistic innovation, offers up the immaterial and poetic work of Charbel-Joseph H.Boutros, worth the detour and the artist’s careful explication.
Lastly, at Budapest-based gallery acb, photographic works by Endre Tot — who has shown virtually everywhere — really go to show that the first floor of the Grand Palais is where it's going on.
Endre Tót, I am glad if I can read a newspaper, 1979, color photo, 50 x 70 cm, Courtesy Endre Tót, acb Gallery.
FIAC’s Conversations are also worth a visit, with a varied and very well-structured programme.