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Sneak Peek: What to see at FIAC 2016 in Paris

Sneak Peek: What to see at FIAC 2016 in Paris

BY Nicholas Forrest | October 17, 2016
The 2016 edition of the Foire Internationale d´Art Contemporain (FIAC) - the international art fair held annually at the Grand Palais in Paris - is arguably one of the most important in the event´s four-decade history. Amid subdued art market conditions and an uncertain economic climate, FIAC has taken the bold move of expanding its footprint for its 43rd iteration, which takes place on October 20-23, by introducing the new On Site sector for sculpture and installations. This will be hosted at the Petit Palais, located opposite the fair´s main venue.

Created to enable FIAC galleries to present important works in museum conditions, On Site will showcase around 40 works by 35 artists within Galerie Sud, Pavillon Sud, Jardin du Petit Palais, as well as the esplanade in front of the Petit Palais - which, like the Grand Palais, was built for the Exposition Universelle in 1900. The On Site sector is being presented in conjunction with Christophe Leribault, curator and director of the Petit Palais, and associate curator Lorenzo Benedetti.

Commenting on the introduction of the On Site sector, FIAC Director Jennifer Flay says that the aim was to provide FIAC exhibitors with museum-like exhibition conditions for important works that they would like to isolate from their booths and show in a museum context. "What is also very special is the fact that we have obtained the authorization from the city of Paris and the Prefecture de police to pedestrianize the Avenue Winston Churchill between the two museums," she adds.

Despite the negative economic and art world environments, FIAC has once again defied the odds with its gallery lineup for 2016, attracting an increased number of participants. A total of 186 galleries from 27 countries have signed up for this year´s fair, compared to the 173 galleries from 23 countries that took part in 2015. This year´s lineup includes 43 new exhibitors, of which 13 are French galleries, as well as participants from four new countries and territories: Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, and Poland.

"As we know, there is a bit of a slowdown in many ways, but it is something that I think that we in the art market take in our stride because we have seen many different cycles over the last 20-30 years. So it´s a kind of natural cycle, which is something that we have to be alert towards and take the time to analyze," says Flay. "We are looking very closely at what is going on, but at this point I don´t think that we risk a collapse such as those that have happened in the past."

Flay states that current art market conditions are "like taking a step back," and it is a "time to reassess." She believes that the market is quite healthy, but the situation is particularly hard for younger galleries, who seem to be more fragile. "It´s always been difficult to be a young gallerist, and that is the part of the market that seems to be hit the most at the moment," she says.

FIAC continues to support younger galleries through its Lafayette Sector, which provides financial support for 10 emerging galleries to exhibit at the fair. The galleries are selected by an independent jury, which this year has chosen Galerie Allen (Paris), Arcade (London), Experimenter (Kolkata), Freedman Fitzpatrick (Los Angeles), Grey Noise (Dubai), Hollybush Gardens (London), joségarcía ,mx (Mexico), Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler (Berlin), Micky Schubert (Berlin), and TORRI (Paris).

Another important new initiative for FIAC 2016 is the expansion into the Salon Jean Perrin, located between the Salon d´Honneur and the Square Jean Perrin entrance. The room will house nine galleries presenting solo exhibitions of late 20th century artists whose work has been identified as "currently undergoing critical reassessment" - namely Endre Tót, Darío Villalba, Nil Yalter, Hessie, Irma Blank, Henri Chopin, William S. Burroughs, Tetsumi Kudo, Ilona Keserü, and György Jovánovics.

According to Flay, the Salon Jean Perrin showcase is a reflection of an important and interesting trend within the international art market that involves looking back at the past and taking a closer look at artists who may have been overlooked or underappreciated. She says that this movement is part of the wider process of taking stock, and reassessments are also often moments of gathering strength.

Additionally, FIAC will inaugurate a new program of contemporary dance, music, and poetry this year, strengthening the fair´s support of performative and cross-disciplinary practices. Titled "Parades for FIAC," the performance festival will be held in various locations around the Grand Palais, including the Salon d´Honneur and the courtyards of the Louvre, where visitors will encounter a series of live action experiments that explore new trajectories in artistic performance.

The combination of a long history, the focus on quality, rich diversity, an extensive program of events, and a very strong core group of supporting galleries has enabled FIAC to not only weather the weakening art market conditions, but to also emerge relatively unscathed from a prolonged period of disturbances throughout Europe - particularly in Paris, which continues to remain on high alert following the recent terrorist attacks.

Source:http://www.blouinartinfo.com

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