Paris, France—Nestled in between chic cafés, cobblestone boulevards and the charmed, hushed elegance of Paris, scores of VIPs stepped into the city’s preeminent art fair FIAC last week including dozens foreign galleries eager to establish stronger presence on the European continent.
In the wake of Brexit, the gallerist David Zwirner opened his sixth outpost in Paris the week of FIAC, stating: “Brexit changes the game. After October, my London gallery will be a British gallery, not a European one.”
The fair itself didn’t disappoint. Of the 199 participates galleries, many of the works on offer were devoted to artists from abroad, including a significant contingent of artists from Africa and the Middle East.
Magnin-A, a gallery that focuses on modern and contemporary African art, offered a presentation nearly exclusively to the work of Romuald Hazoumè, a Beninese artist who uses masks and re-appropriated plastic to craft sculptures that are both arresting and corporeal. However, the booth’s main attraction was a remixed scooter based on those used to transport gas across the Benin-Nigeria border.
Over at Galerie Joseph Tang, works by sculptor Daiga Grantina intrigued visitors with swashes of color and light. The booth—full of works that reflect Grantina’s longstanding interest in light and shadow—almost reflect off the ceiling of the soaring Beaux-Arts masterwork that is the Grand Palais. The artist, who is representing Latvia in this year’s Venice Biennale, is also in the middle of planning a solo show early next year the New Museum in New York.
At Galerie Imane Farès, new works by Emeka Ogboh build on the Nigerian-born artists’s work he developed as part of documenta 14. Outside the Grand Palais, Ogboh created a 46-foot-long work that is a tongue in cheek crack at a Sufferhead advertisement, the beer he produced for documenta. As part of FIAC Projects, Ogboh’s DJ set gave visitors a chance to experience the newest Sufferhead concoction, a comment on the state of consumerism that surrounds many art fairs like FIAC.
Over at Kamel Mennour, who opened his gallery in 1999 and is one of the city’s most iconic dealers, a group show of works by Mohamed Bourouissa, Daniel Buren, Tadashi Kawamata, Anish Kapoor, Alicja Kwade and others are on offer. Following his major profile in the Financial Times last week, Mennour’s both was buzzing with excitement on the opening days of the fair.
Alongside these and other remarkable galleries and presentations, FIAC has established itself as a must-see fair for VIPs eager to hedge their art bets after Brexit. With this year’s fair revamped by a plunging art market across the English channel, it’s litter wonder that the press around FIAC has reached near fever pitch, with many galleries reporting solid sales and networking opportunities. Above all, FIAC—now in its 46th edition—didn’t disappoint.
FIAC took place from the 17th – 20th of October.