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FIAC 2015

In Paris, Art auction is regaining strength

 

The 41th FIAC fair closed on October 25th on a very positive note. Under the supervision of Jennifer Flay, the Paris fair is now one of the most significant events of modern art.

 

A positive outcome for 2015

From October 22nd to 25th, art auction was focused on the French capital. Artists, gallery owners or common visitors gathered in the Grand Palais for one of the most significant event of modern art: the FIAC.

For its 41st edition, the "Foire internationale d’art contemporain de Paris" (International Modern Art Fair of Paris) welcomed 163 gallery owners from 23 countries. Among the most publicised pieces were the tribute to the victims of January, presented in the Hauser & Wirth gallery. The most representative was sold 200,000 euros at its opening. London and New York galleries White Cube and Michael Werner Gallery also achieved record sales of over a million euros on the first day of the fair. As to the status of most quoted artist, it was won over by German Georg Baselitz, whose work was presented in three important galleries.

Eventually, this is a rich year for the FIAC, from the point of view of sales as much of visits, with over 70,000 visitors. The Paris event is one of the must-dos of modern art, just like the New York, London, Basel, Madrid and Chicago fairs.

Jennifer Flay, an aware director

The FIAC had experimented a severe beat-up. In the late 90's, it was considered too conformist. The cause may lie in the crisis period art auction experimented, which discouraged any risk-taking. The launch of the Frieze in London had the effect of an electroshock: the event, both bold and innovative, is also held in October and almost killed the Paris fair. Reed Expositions, the company organising the FIAC, stopped beating around the bush and appointed Jennifer Flay as artistic director of the event.

The New-Zealander arrived in France in 1980 to study history of art and is now considered as the one who "resurrected" the Paris fair and managed to internationalise it. In this mission, her sidekick until 2010 was Martin Bethenod, who was appointed Chief Commissioner of the event at the same time as her.

As early as 2004, the two co-directors offered the FIAC a new section, Futur Quake, dedicated to emerging shows and new gallery owners. The same year, they had the brilliant idea of offering a seat to the design section, next to art productions: in this they have been pioneers and have been copied all over the world.

 

Innovations every year

Revamping efforts continued until 2014: with the OFF(ICIELLE) section in the Cité de la Mode et du Design, the FIAC opened to more committed pieces. With the "Hors les murs" (off the walls) trail, an open exhibition in the great gardens of the capital city, Jennifer Flay is trying to open the FIAC to the general audience and settle the event in the everyday life of the capital.

Her sense of communication worked great last year: artist Paul McCarthy's great green sculpture exhibited on Place Vendôme managed to introduce the spirit of provocation in the Paris fair. After a few days, its creator decided to take it out. This year, Parisians and other visitors will have time to enjoy the "hors les murs" pieces of the FIAC: they will be accessible until late November.

 

Picture: Jardin des Tuileries, work by Vivien Roubaud for the FIAC "Hors les murs" / ©Mag Boiss