As collectors descend on Paris this week for the Fiac fair (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain), a number of satellite fairs are offering alternative buying experiences to the blue-chip contemporary art on show in the mothership at the Grand Palais.
Asia Now (until 23 October) caters for a growing appetite for contemporary Asian art in Paris. The number of galleries participating in the second edition of the boutique fair dedicated to art from the region has leapt from 18 in 2015 to 34 this year, prompting a relocation to a townhouse on Avenue Hoche. “Chinese and Asian flavour is blossoming in Paris; it’s not about collecting Asian art for the sake of it,” says Alexandra Fain, the director of Asia Now.
Newcomers this year include Misa Shin Gallery and Urano, both from Tokyo; Chi-Wen Gallery from Taipei; and Seoul’s Park Ryu Sook Gallery. Mutsumi Urano, the owner of the eponymous gallery, says she chose to take part this year “to discover new clients”. She is showing intricate miniatures of cranes incorporated into various objects by Takahiro Iwasaki, who is representing Japan at the Venice Biennale in 2017.
These include Tectonic Model (2016), priced at €3,500, which was bought by Michael Xufu Huang, the co-founder of M Woods, a private contemporary art museum in Beijing. “The younger generation in China are collecting a lot of Western art,” Huang says, noting that 90% of his own collection is non-Asian. But this week his focus is firmly on Asian art. “I found more to buy at Asia Now than at Frieze,” Huang says.
Also in its second year is Paris Internationale, the non-profit fair for emerging international galleries, which opened earlier this week in a four-storey mansion once owned by the art collector Calouste Gulbenkian (until 23 October). In the servant’s quarters of the building the Peckham, south London, gallery Arcadia Missa is showing works by Hannah Black and Amalia Ulman, priced between £1,300 and £15,000.
Rózsa Farkas, the founding director of the space, says she chooses to exhibit at Paris Internationale because of the “sense of solidarity” between the younger galleries. “It’s the new Liste,” she says, referring to the successful Basel satellite fair. Curators from institutions including the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris had shown an interest in the works, Farkas says.
The Glasgow gallery Koppe Astner, which is showing paintings by the recent Slade graduate Dickon Drury, also saw sales on the first day. “We had buyers from Ecuador, the US, China and the UK,” says Emma Astner, the co-founder of the gallery.
Upstairs, the more established Berlin gallery Tanya Leighton is showing sculptures by Oliver Laric (€25,000-€40,000) and a wall installation by the artist collective Studio for Propositional Cinema (€15,000). Gallery spokesman Simon Gowing says that Paris Internationale complements rather than competes with Fiac. “There’s such a collegiate atmosphere at Paris Internationale,” he says. “The fair is led by five galleries—you could say it’s crowd-sourced.”
Meanwhile, the Outsider Art Fair Paris opened its fourth edition at the Hôtel du Duc (until 23 October). This year’s event, which has a focus on “mediumistic” art, features 38 galleries, including 15 new exhibitors.
• With additional reporting by Gareth Harris