From Katharina Grosse’s Trippy Timber to Matta’s Surreal Smokers, a Look Around Paris’s FIAC
The prestigious fair kicked off in style at the Grand Palais.
The 45th edition of the prestigious contemporary art fair in Paris opened today to press and VIPs ahead of its public opening tomorrow (through 21 October). An art fair like no other, FIAC takes over the Grand Palais’s glass and steel cathedral, lending it a real gravitas.
This year FIAC is hosting a whopping 193 galleries, including 17 newcomers. Despite the exclusive access, the fair was brimming with people on preview day; show-stopping booths like Gagosian’s solo presentation of Katharina Grosse attracted gaggles of onlookers, elbowing each other for photographs in front of the German artist’s monumental installation Ingres Wood (2018).
Similarly, Galerie Gmurzynska’s humorous fire-themed booth conceived by the French designer Alexandre de Betak was a hot selfie commodity. Works by artists including Joan Miró, Alberto Burri, and Yves Klein were on view in the fire station-like booth. All of the works curated by the Swiss gallery related to smoke and fire. They even had fire extinguishers on display.
And if you thought Hauser & Wirth’s booth at Frieze London was lack-luster by the gallery’s standards, it definitely made a triumphant return to FIAC after a noted year’s absence. The gallery was carefully curated around the subject of desire and sexual ambiguity, with the title Le Coeur Est Là (translated: “The Heart is There”). In the opening hours of the fair, the gallery parted with Philip Guston’s Martyr (1978) for $6 million, and Louise Bourgeois’s large-scale wall piece Les Matins se lévent (2010) for $2.5 million.
Indeed, eroticism was a running theme, with Gerhardsen Gerner showing Carroll Dunham’s cheeky Self Examination (2016-17) and the Mexico City-based gallery Lulu exhibiting work by Canadian artist Ambera Wellmann, who nabbed the nation’s prestigious RBC painting prize last year.
Elsewhere, David Zwirner picks up on the between-the-sheets theme, showing Jeff Koons’s famed pornographic work, Manet, Soft (1991), from his controversial “Made In Heaven” series with the Italian pornstar Ilona Staller, before they were married. A gallery spokesperson remarked how Paris was a natural home for the the highly explicit photograph, considering that Gustav Courbet’s Origin of the World is a stone’s throw away at the Musée d’Orsay.
By the end of opening day, the Koons hadn’t sold (the capital may still be smarting from the many debates over his tulip sculpture). The gallery noted a lot of interest, however, and had a successful first day of sales beyond that, placing a large-scale iceberg painting by Harold Ancart for $150,000 and a Carol Bove for $500,000, both to prominent European collections.
Below, see some images from FIAC 2018:
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