International dealers flock to Paris Fiac

The fair returns to rival Frieze across the channel

by Gareth Harris  |  19 October 2015
International dealers flock to Paris Fiac
Fiac in Paris. Photo: © Marc Domage    
Jennifer Flay, the director of the Fiac fair (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain) at the Grand Palais in Paris, says that her strategy of securing leading international dealers is paying off. Newcomers to the 42nd edition include Tanya Bonakdar gallery from New York, The Modern Institute from Glasgow and Beijing’s Long March Space.

While the number of exhibitors this year is slightly down, at 173 compared with 191 in 2014, Fiac is still Frieze London’s strongest rival. “When I took the fair on [in 2003], it was in ruins and was no longer an international event. The powerhouse European and US dealers signed up in successive waves, the younger generation coming in over the last three or four years,” Flay says. “French galleries make up 25% of the fair, which is very respectable,” she adds.

Kazuo Shiraga, Ryusen (1991), on the stand of Fergus McCaffrey, New York. © The Estate of Kazuo Shiraga. Courtesy of Fergus McCaffrey, New York / St. Barth
Fiac also offers an “opportunity to develop relationships” with French national and regional museums, says the New York-based dealer Fergus McCaffrey, who is returning for the first time since 2011. He is bringing works by members of the post-war Japanese collective Gutai Art Association, including a selection of large-scale foot paintings by Kazuo Shiraga, priced between $2m and $6m, and works by Sadamasa Motonaga ranging from $50,000 to $375,000.

Fiac’s parallel fair Officielle, held across Paris at the Docks-Cité de la Mode et du Design, launches its second edition. The new fair is billed as a platform for emerging art but some galleries are more mature (London-based Rokeby was founded in 2005). “Officielle is about discovery, rather than just youth. It needs to establish its identity but I’m proud of the content: 30% of the galleries have chosen to present solo shows, for instance,” Flay says.

The Brussels dealer Super Dakota will be exhibiting a 2015 series of canvases with cut paper, We, I (€5,000-€10,000) by the British artist Alex Clarke. “Paris needs a second fair, like Art Basel has Liste, or Art Basel Miami Beach has Nada,” says the gallery’s founder Damien Bertelle-Rogier.

• Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, Grand Palais, Paris, 22-25 October

Satellite fairs in Paris

Cutlog Paris
22-24 October
Hôtel de l’Industrie, 4 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Genre: Contemporary art
Who’s coming? Around 50 projects from 13 countries

21-25 October
Les Docks-Cité de la Mode et du Design, 34 quai d’Austerlitz
Genre: Contemporary art
Who’s coming? Around 70 galleries from 13 countries

Outsider Art Fair
22-25 October
Hôtel du Duc, 22 rue de la Michodière
Genre: Outsider art
Who’s coming? 38 exhibitors

Slick Art Fair
21-25 October
Pont Alexandre III, Port des Champs-Elysées
Genre: Emerging art
Who’s coming? 30 exhibitors

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