Written and photographed by :Maria Shakhova
Neon and glitter on a monochrome background shone in the light through the glass wall of the entrance to the Grand Palais. People standing in line wearing chic outfits inspired the photographers who were waiting for the great businessmen and politicians to arrive. Were these people to attend one of the many grandiose styled shows that are usually displayed at this national gallery? Not this time. No supermarket full of products wearing the interlaced double C and no improvised demonstration with feminist slogans. This year, after the extremely efficient Frieze in London and before the particularly festive Art Basel in Miami, the Parisian FIAC attracted a more human - less celebrity mix of art and fashion.
Greeted for a formal event, open bar and some sweet snacks, this year's biennale tackled the digital art wave with a concentration of technical beyond the natural.
Inside the glass wall the happy few who got the chance to enter dazzled in contrast with the minimalistic effects of the booths of artistic works. Verbal messaging, raw material, and the terseness of forms and colors waited for a glance from the specialized collectors. Obviously, the episode in front of the Pierre and Gilles painting was a success. Unfortunately, most of the fierce observers probably wouldn’t even know who posed before him such as Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, Edouard Manet or earlier, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.
191 galleries from 26 different countries from all around Paris presented their artists during this 41st edition of FIAC. Some artists were displayed in solo shows like with Franck Prazan, other galleries highlighted all of their artists like with Lehmann Maupin. Sadly, this was the last year for Yvon Lambert who exhibited Daniel Buren and Julien Schnabel's work in his gallery.
A significant number of galleries from New York, London and Berlin, represented with their cultural landscape which complemented the French contemporary art market that can often be elitist and self-enclosed.
Moreover thanks to a resolute desire expressed by Jennifer Flay, Paris Art Week was marked by the emergence of a fair in the well-known green building along the Seine banks, a hub of Parisian nights, created by Jakob+MacFarlane.
Over a period of 4 days, la Cité de la Mode et du Design hosted 68 galleries from around the world. Of course, some young gallery owners were lucky to be selected for this (OFF)ICIELLE fair, where the competition is less important. However, the square meter price is dangerously close to that of the Grand Palais.
Still on the right bank of the Seine, under another glass wall, less impressive, but just as majestic as the Grand Palais, 65 galleries shared their artistic messaging. Gathered under the sponsorship of Young International Artists, they dared showing in the labyrinth of the Carreau du Temple (an undercover market), emerging and established artists, like Sarah Bridgland and Karoly Keseru for Patrick Heide in London.
Among the most wonderful discoveries was the idea-based solo show (per the Baron Nicolas Massias' vocabulary) performed by Timothée Talard for Gourvennec Ogor in Marseille and the wood polychrome blocks by Alfred Haberpointner for Hélène Bailly in Paris.
Side by side with Paris Fashion Week and Paris Contemporary Art Week, all overlapped in timing. The places, the audiences, the after parties, everything was the same; except for the hashtags. --