We Pick the Top 15 Booths at FIAC 2015
Gladstone, Gavin Brown's Enterprise, and Hauser & Wirth show exceptional booths.
Collectors from around the world descended on Paris on Wednesday to attend the vernissage of the 42nd edition of FIAC taking place in the French capital’s magnificent Grand Palais.
The beautiful high, translucent ceiling letting in natural light gives FIAC one of the most stunning backdrops seen on the art fair circuit. But the brightness of the white booths made some visitors squint; several collectors never took off their sunglasses.
Star curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist was spotted meandering between the aisles as fashion designer Rick Owens stopped to pick up a fair map. They were amongst several high profile guests to check out the 162 galleries from 22 countries, which also included Peter Brant, Stedelijk Museum director Beatrix Ruf, and French pop-star Matt Pokora, who was all over Instagram on opening day.
And while many dealers came straight from exhibiting in London last week, the atmosphere was punctuated by rumours and whispers about the impact that Frieze’s change of date (to avoid falling on Yom Kippur) will have on gallerists’ willingness to participate in both fairs next year, or choose only one.
Below, we picked the 15 best booths at this year’s edition of FIAC.
1. Hauser & Wirth
Curated by Paul Schimmel, former MOCA chief curator and recently appointed partner and director of the blue chip gallery’s Los Angeles venture, the booth poignantly paid tribute to the murdered journalists and cartoonists of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in the city where the attacks took place. A selection of works focusing on freedom of speech and artistic expression by Isa Genzken, Mike Kelley and other gallery artists were on show alongside a stack of Charlie Hebdo issues.
2. Tornabuoni Art Paris
The French gallery, which specializes in modern and contemporary Italian art, showed a beautifully curated booth featuring a number of carefully selected artworks by Enrico Castellani, Lucio Fontana, Turi Simetti and Paolo Scheggi. The dazzling display was one of the few booths that followed a clear direction and illustrated perfectly what the gallery was all about.
3. Gavin Brown’s Enterprise
A heavy red curtain by Martin Creed which opened and closed automatically covered the “entrance” to Gavin Brown’s booth. Once inside, the walls were covered in a multitude of canvasses and prints hung salon-style. Four large portraits by Ella Kruglyanskaya immediately catch the eye, accompanied by Nick Relph prints, and works by Kerstin Brätsch.
4. Galerie Kamel Mennour
After an impressive debut at Frieze, London, and having just announced the opening of a third Paris location, Kamel Mennour was back in his home turf with another strong show. The Parisian dealer presented artworks from the gallery’s core roster, mixing young and established artists. The booth included a brass instrument-inspired statue by Alicja Kwade, a painting by Lee Ufan, and two impressive Anish Kapoor works.
5. Lisson Gallery
Also showing Kapoor, the London-based gallery made the hop over the English Channel with a lot of great artworks in tow. Being in Paris, the gallery fittingly brought a Spencer Finch light work which recreates the sky as experienced from the top of the Eiffel Tower. A fun Julian Opie video was rounded off by a trio of Stanley Whitney canvasses—one large and two small ones.
6. Almine Rech Gallery
There was lots of activity at the Paris and Brussels-based gallery’s booth as visitors and collectors flocked to the booth to see a woven-fabric artwork by Canadian artist Brent Wadden, a signature stuffed canvas wall-piece by the super hot Justin Adian and a large and eye-catching Julian Schnabel painting.
The Berlin-based contemporary gallery used its prominent position close to the entrance of the Grand Palais to show a vast and dominant 4.8m x 7m acrylic on canvas painting by the late Michel Majerus. In contrast to most other exhibitors, Neugerriemschneider followed the principle of “less is more” with great success.
8. 303 Gallery
The New York gallery showed varied and fantastic art. A Jeppe Hein wallpaper in an edition of three immediately stood out. Available in variable dimensions, the site-specific work can be tailored to fit into a host of different environments. An aluminum light box by Doug Aitken inspired by urban cities and a Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster vase were also on display.
9. Fergus McCaffrey
Another potential candidate for the best-curated booth, the galley, which specializes in postwar Japanese art, brought together paintings by the Japanese avant-garde Gutai group including artists Toshio Yoshida, Kazuo Shiraga—famous for painting with his feet—and works on paper by Shiraga’s wife Fujiko Shiraga. The artworks complemented each other exceptionally in this extraordinarily well thought-out presentation.
10. Galleria Massimo Minini
Hailing from Brescia, Italy Massimo Minini brought imposing wooden, light-blue-painted cylindrical artworks by Italian sculptor Ettore Spalleti, three Leon Golub canvases including a gripping painted burlap work, which was offset by a diptych by the talented American emerging painter Landon Metz.
11. Andrea Rosen Gallery
Split into three presentations, Andrea Rosen’s booth took works from one emerging, one mid-career, and one established artist from the gallery’s roster. David Altmejd’s clay, sculptural wall pieces and a much-photographed shattered mirror were prominently placed in the booth. Separately, a small selection of Ryan Trecartin works were shown around a sculpture by frequent collaborators Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch. Nearby, Robert Motherwell paintings and a Carl Andre floor piece made up the rest of the display.
12. Regen Projects
The Los Angeles gallery came to Paris seeking to do business with its European collectors. Hot emerging LA artist Elliott Hundley was well-represented with his multimedia canvases which were hung near several Raymond Pettibon drawings and watercolors. The booth also included works by Walead Beshty and John Bock.
13. Mendes Wood DM
The Brazilian gallery made the long journey from São Paolo with art from English abstract sculptor Michael Dean and the very popular young Brazilian painter Lucas Arruda, whose colorful small abstract landscapes impressed. Fellow young Brazilian conceptual artist Paloma Bosquê’s wool and thread wall piece provided a fitting contrast to Arruda’s serene paintings.
14. Pilar Corrias
Another practitioner of “less is more,” the London gallery brought a captivating video work by the American artist Ian Cheng. Having first looked ahead at Cheng’s video, collector’s glances were slowly directed upwards towards an intricate flashing blue light installation by Philippe Parreno, which complemented the video rather than clashing with it.
15. Gladstone Gallery
Situated near the entrance, Barbara Gladstone showed a presentation by Ugo Rondinone that impressed with a radical, minimalistic set-up of the artist’s colorful, round target-style paintings, and a scary-sad clown sculpture, which was being constantly photographed. Still, the works were given plenty of space to harmonize with each other. It was easy to forget that this high-quality booth was in fact in the middle of a busy art fair rather than in a gallery space.
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