Look back of International Contemporary Art Fair Paris, FIAC 2021, France

The 2021 edition of FIAC (International Contemporary Art Fair) take place from 21 to 24 October at the Grand Palais Ephémère, Paris. FIAC Galleries brings together around 200 exhibitors in the Grand Palais, including many of the most influential specialists worldwide in the fields of modern art, contemporary art and design. It presents the finest examples of artistic creation since the turn of the twentieth century; modern masters through to the latest trends.

During the FIAC, Paris becomes the world capital of contemporary art with the FIAC, the International Contemporary Art Fair. In total, some 1,500 artists show their work for the 75,000 spectators to see in the aisles of the Grand Palais Ephémère, the Tuileries Gardens, the Musée Eugène Delacroix and Place Vendôme.

Founded in Paris in 1974, the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC, Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain) brings together modern and contemporary art galleries. All media are represented: painting, sculpture, photography, installations, videos, performances, and digital arts. FIAC Programmes presents, for the duration of the fair, a freely accessible programme of performances (Parades for FIAC), conferences (Conversation Room), and screenings of artits’films (Cinéphémère).

A veritable institution recognized worldwide, the FIAC is an opportunity for the public to discover the latest developments in contemporary art, through works by some of the most famous artists in the world. The FIAC is also the occasion for an artist residing in France, or of French origin, to be awarded the prestigious Marcel Duchamp Prize, which brings with it international recognition. Like all fairs, the FIAC is also a marketplace where the works of art change hands and professionals meet.

With its public programmes, FIAC also pursues a desire to broaden the range and scope of the venues made available to galleries and artists, thus making the intimate experience of creation accessible to the widest possible audience. FIAC is also an occasion to explore the rich and varied exhibition programme on view in Paris: museums and cultural institutions offer a wide range of exhibitions during FIAC week. On the Thursday of the fair, numerous galleries participate in Gallery Night, offering openings, encounters with artists, book signings, along with art and design exhibitions.

FIAC Hors les Murs is a parcours inviting the public to discover a cartography of installations presented at some of the most prestigious locations in Paris: in the Tuileries Gardens, on the Place Vendôme, on the Place de la Concorde, and in the Musée national Eugène Delacroix.

Exhibition venue
The Grand Palais, which the FIAC use to took place, was plan to a temporary installation between 2021 and 2024. Because the Grand Palais was not eady to house FIAC in the best possible conditions, FIAC held at the Grand Palais Ephémère (Champ-de-Mars) in a short term till 2024. Grand Palais Ephémère house the major art, fashion and sporting events traditionally held in the Nave.

Located on the Plateau Joffre on the Champ-de-Mars, the Grand Palais Ephémère intrinsically reflect the history of this site, in direct continuity with the role it fulfilled during the great World Exhibitions of the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was designed by the firm Wilmotte & Associés who payed much attention to the aesthetics and architectural features of the temporary building, enabling it to blend harmoniously into the surroundings of the Champ-de-Mars, while ensuring its exemplarity in terms of sobriety and sustainable development.

With the Grand Palais Ephémère, the ambition of the Rmn – Grand Palais and Paris 2024 (2024 Olympic Games in Paris) is to propose a model that is exemplary in terms of simplicity and environmental responsibility, and emblematic of the cultural, environmental and sporting aspirations of our time. Its architecture and design, together with the international events it host, combine to express this ambition.

Every year, the FIAC brings toghther art galleries around whole world, from twenty countries to present the trendiest artists and emerging artists exhibiting in their galleries. For 4 days, from Thursday October 21 to Sunday 24, 2021, about 200 galleries take over the Temporary Grand Palais for the great International Contemporary Art Show.

There was more than 30 first-time exhibitors at FIAC this year, including the Andrew Edlin Gallery of New York and Marfa’ Projects of Beirut, Lebanon. Several major galleries brought works related to museum solo shows of their artists currently on view in Paris, including Perrotin, David Zwirner, and Zeno X.

Perrotin’s group presentation offered a home-size version of one of Jean-Michel Othoniel’s series of reflective stainless steel sculptures, Noeud Sauvage, which are based on mathematical and theoretical analysis of millions of tied knots and are prominently featured in his beautiful, baroque Petit Palais exhibition, “The Narcissus Theorem,” about a man who is resurrected as a flower and, in reflecting himself, reflects the world around him.

Similarly, David Zwirner highlighted geometric abstractions by painter and color theorist Josef Albers, who shares the spotlight with his wife, textile artist Anni Albers, in a sprawling survey of their influential work at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, alongside related pieces by Harold Ancart and other gallery artists in its booth, while Zeno X presented a small, significant painting by Marlene Dumas, who has solo show at the Musée d’Orsay.

Inspired by the poetry of Charles Baudelaire, Dumas’ museum exhibition features portraits of the poet and his muse, Jeanne Duval, with paintings exploring darker motifs from his poems. The artist’s powerful 2008 painting of a women’s pudendum that was initially shown in an Axel Vervoordt–curated exhibition at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice and is now on view at the fair, reflects Baudelaire’s interest in the pleasures of the flesh, while ironically referencing one of the Musée d’Orsay’s most famous works of art, Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du monde.

Other galleries, such as Templon, Galleria Continua and Skarstedt, spotlighted artists who have current solo shows at their spaces in Paris. Templon displayed a fantastic shaped canvas by the young self-educated artist ROBIN KID a.k.a THE KID, who comments on the overwhelming influence of media on the psyche of today’s youth, that should make people want to see his first show with the gallery in the Marais.

Galleria Continua, meanwhile, pulled Nari Ward’s Contraband, a sculptural assemblage consisting of a shopping cart draped with shoelaces and ropes and holding a bronze tire embedded with sneakers, from his massive show in its old factory building on the outskirts of Paris to present it at the fair and Skarstedt, which just opened its Paris gallery with a solo show of new paintings by Eric Fischl, displayed one of the artist’s most celebrated bronzes, Tumbling Woman, in FIAC’s outdoor Hors les Murs presentation in the Tuileries Garden.

Self-taught artists were also on view at galleries like Andrew Edlin and Christian Berst Art Brut, which presented fine examples of Outsider art. Edlin showed important historical works by Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, James Castle, and Henry Darger alongside recent pieces by Joe Coleman, Dan Miller, and Melvin Way, while Berst had a solo booth of surreal anatomical drawings by the 60-year-old Czech painter Luboš Plný.

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FIAC Hors les Murs
FIAC Hors les Murs is an exhibition of outdoor artworks presenting sculptures and installations to the widest possible audience in emblematic public spaces throughout the city. Providing a unique opportunity for artists to enter into a dialogue with Parisian heritage sites, the programme favors ease of access to contemporary creation and encourages broader knowledge on sight cultural mediation

FIAC Hors les Murs is housed in prestigious Parisian venues including the Jardin des Tuileries, the musée national Eugène Delacroix and the Place Vendôme. Students from the Ecole du Louvre are on hand to present the artworks and respond to questions from the public.

Jardin des Tuileries
During a month, FIAC presents every year some twenty artworks in the exceptional setting of the Jardin des Tuileries. FIAC, in association with the musée du Louvre, presents its Hors les Murs outdoor exhibition in the Jardin des Tuileries, inaugurated in 2006. Some twenty artworks are displayed in different spaces within the garden, resonating with this heritage setting in the heart of Paris and responding to its scale, perspectives and history.

Place Vendôme
Since 2012, FIAC invites an artist to install a major artwork or imagine a project for the Place Vendôme, the iconic Parisian square, which provides both powerful inspiration and an exceptional framework for contemporary creation. Like a jewel set in stone, built in perfect classical symmetry, the Place Vendome exemplifies creation, excellence and savoir-faire. Over the years, it has showcased a series of bold and diverse projects including works by Jaume Plensa, Tadashi Kawamata, Paul McCarthy, Dan Graham, Ugo Rondinone, Oscar Tuazon,Elmgreen & Dragset and Yayoi Kusama.

Alexander Calder was born in 1898 in Lawnton, Pennsylvania, and died in 1976 in New York. He was one of the most prolific and innovative sculptors of the twentieth century. Calder, whose oeuvre encompasses sculpture, painting, drawing, printmaking, and jewelry, among other media—developed a masterful visual vocabulary that addresses the interplay of nature and abstraction, stillness and motion, monumentality and ephemerality.

Flying Dragon (1975)—which exemplifies Calder’s capacity to invest a powerful visual dynamism in his work regardless of scale—is among the last of the monumental works he made. While static, the striking sculpture transforms when viewed from different angles. Constructed from sheet metal, it is physically weighty but appears delicate due to its limited points of contact with the ground.

Blending the biomorphic with the architectonic, the highly ambitious Flying Dragon epitomizes Calder’s compositional genius. Fusing elegant lines with simple forms and vibrant color, it is a distinctive and evocative form that activates the elegant space around it. Due to its immense size, it leaves viewers with the sensation of an otherworldly being imbued with legendary strength.

Musée Delacroix
In the continuity of the parcours in the Jardin des Tuileries, the musée Delacroix becomes the setting for a carte blanche to an artist. FIAC gives carte blanche to a contemporary artist in the musée Eugène Delacroix, in collaboration with the musée du Louvre. Situated in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the musée Eugène Delacroix is an unexpected haven of peace, niched between courtyard and garden. Designed by the painter himself, the studio was transformed into a museum through the initiative of Maurice Denis and other major painters of the 1920s.

On the occasion of the 2021 edition of FIAC Hors les Murs, the Musée Delacroix presents an exhibition of new works by the contemporary French painter Jean Claracq (b.1991, Bayonne). Claracq’s miniature paintings hover between reality and fiction. Rendered with remarkable precision, his privileged subjects – young men often drawn from people he encounters on Instagram and other social media – become avatars in vernacular scenes of a hyper-connected yet isolated world. Drawing from a dizzying archive of images culled from books, magazines, the internet, and public space, Claracq’s multilayered compositions collapse space and time, converging disparate ideas and contradicting perspectives to create deeper meaning and ways of understanding reality.

Similarly, the dialogue forged through this special presentation of Delacroix and Claracq’s paintings reveals unexpected affinities between the artists who, born nearly two hundred years apart, share a common impulse toward the representation the interior state of the individual reflected against the backdrop of an overwhelming world. Taking the intimate format of portraiture as a common point of entry, Claracq’s seven oil on wood and tempera paintings respond to two works from the museum’s collection: Portrait de Auguste-Richard de la Hautière (1828), a real fifteen-year-old Parisian student; and Romeo et Juliette au Tombeau des Capulets (c.1850), a dramatic portrayal of William Shakespeare’s ill-fated lovers in the final moment before their demise.

Claracq constructs his quiet, subtly erotic scenes – young topless men hanging out, taking selfies, or brooding –from hundreds of digitally collected visual fragments, assembling them together in one heterogenous composition to produce a world that is realer than the eye can see. This approach at once references the totalizing, omniscient perspective developed by Flemish renaissance painters to convey the concept of visio Dei [vision of God] and the flattening effect of the internet on the hierarchy of information, which in the twenty first century, has practically replaced God as the universal organizing principle in our lives. Claracq paints with a magnifying glass to include miniscule details such as the titles on the spine of books or the google search on a lit-up iPhone. These deceptively illustrative paintings are constituted of more than the eye can see, with the individual at its center amidst the natural sublime.

FIAC Programmes

Parades For FIAC
Parades for FIAC, is a festival dedicated to performative practices and exchanges between contemporary art disciplines. For its fifth edition, the performance festival Parades for FIAC, dedicated to performative practices and dialogue between disciplines in contemporary art, takes place in various emblematic institutions of the capital including the Centre Pompidou or the Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection. This programme lies at the crossroads of music, contemporary dance, performance, theatre, and poetry, offering a broad range of artistic experimentation in the form of live actions, opening up new perimeters in the field of artistic performance.

A devotee of dance ever since its origins, the Maison is today strengthening its commitment to the arts with Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels. Guided by the values of creation, transmission and education, this initiative aims to uphold the artists and institutions that showcase the choreographic repertoire, while encouraging new productions. Since fall 2020, the Maison has been supporting diverse performances at festivals, as well as several compagnies for their future creations.

Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels also organizes an annual choreographic event in one or more cities within a single region. The first of these encounters, set to take place in London in March 2022, was an opportunity to bring together an extensive selection of choreographic works. The program, designed through partnerships with prominent institutions based in the British capital, explore dance from the 1970 until today.

Conversation Room
FIAC presents a conference programme entitled the Conversation Room, a platform for exchanges and interactions between disciplines of contemporary creation.

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