FIAC, the unmissable art rendezvous

From post-Dada to neo-Situationism, the 43rd edition of the FIAC is furrowing wide. From 20 to 23 October, just after Frieze London and before Miami Beach, Paris will be the place to be! The big contemporary-art event. Welcome to this strange planet, set to be the orbital focus of craziness for a four-day period. This is where people in the art business are put into satellite state in Paris, for one of the greatest rendezvous of the season. In October, the epicentre of the art market is summed up by four letters: FIAC. For its 43rd edition, the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain has once again pulled out all the stops. 186 exhibitors (including 42 new ones), 28 countries represented… Every medium is making a beeline here: painting, sculpture, photography, installations, videos, performances, the digital arts! As a paragon of aesthetics, the FIAC constitutes a world in itself. A type of interstellar probe, launched at full throttle into the cosmos of ultra-luxury. It is also, between Art Basel in June and Miami Beach in December, and just after Frieze London, the obligatory second stage of the showiest trade marathon on Earth. Quite simply because contemporary art is an elaborate, enticing boutique which turns around an axis of demonstration. So at the FIAC, from Thursday 20 to Sunday 23 October, you’ll be able to witness the yearly big parade of contemporary creation. A high-flying exercise where direct marketing crosses paths with cultural stakes, where concepts rub up against usage, where thought tickles matter… All this enmeshed with elegance, social practices, discreet negotiations between buyers and sellers. And it’s the latter who deserve credit here – this battalion of linen-suited, hard-nosed dealers who have put together, in the last twelve months, the very best example of this genre. A genre which may...

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Jennifer Flay, the art of management

Director of the FIAC, Jennifer Flay shares with AMA the spirit of this 43rd edition. Drawing the world’s greatest collectors to Paris is one aim, of course, but so is developing – alongside the stands – a programme that helps to the train the spectator’s gaze. What are the FIAC’s strengths this year? We’re very proud of the creation of On Site, found inside and around the Petit Palais; we’ve given the project this name to distinguish it clearly from the Hors les Murs project. On Site is a sector in its own right within our fair, and the result of continued discussion with the Parisian museum over four years, starting with a Jean Dubuffet sculpture, then three Liz Glynn works in the garden last year, or else a performance by Rachid Johnson. For this edition, which represents the hatching of our project, the FIAC galleries are proposing works which they wish to bring to the fore, either because they’re very big, or so special that they can be enhanced by this museum presentation. The Petit Palais will be unveiling a fantastic sculpture by Damien Hirst, a piano by Bertrand Lavier, and also a suitcase by Marcel Duchamp, because we don’t just deal with the ultra-contemporary. We can also find very recent creations by Etel Adnan, who is going to have his first big retrospective at the Institut du Monde Arabe, or else Wang Du, Joe Bradley, David Altmejd, Caroline Mesquita, Guillaume Leblon, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Yannis Kounellis, Noël Dolla, Not Vital… On the esplanades, we’ve chosen artists who work with markings and lettering on floors or walls, such as Lawrence Weiner, whose project has been specially designed for the site, or Jacques Villeglé, with his alphabet composed of letters picked up from his strolls since the 1960s. Or else...

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Parcours des Mondes: Whirlwind in Saint-Germain-des-Prés

A Bakongo nail fetish, a Jivaro shrunken head, or a sculpture from Papua New Guinea… From “museum-quality” pieces to charming finds, we look back to a crazy week: the Parcours des Mondes. The tribal-arts market is fascinating. Less dangerous than operating a uranium mine in Gabon, more restful than Tintin’s adventures in Congo, it has experienced an unprecedented boom in the last fifteen years or so. The quest for “magic” objects from Africa, Oceania or the Americas draws dealers and collectors to Paris every year at the quirky Parcours des Mondes * in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district. This eminently tribal rendezvous, a deliciously ritualistic ceremony, brings together the cream in international dealing every September. To give a literary comparison, one might say that the magic of the Parcours des Mondes is a bit like the shock inflicted by L’Afrique fantôme… it is just as enchanting as Michel Leiris’ book. The type of week that might set you into a trance until Christmas. Following on from the BRUNEAF (Brussels Non European Art Fair) and Tribal Art, Bryan Reeves’ fair held at the start of September in London, the Parcours des Mondes follows the singular trail of the so-called “remote” arts whose attraction seems boundless. Even Audrey Azoulay, French minister of culture and communication, fell under the spell of Punu masks, Kota relics and other nail fetishes. And when great state officials venture to the jungle of galleries (such as Meyer or Flak), crossing the Rue des Beaux-Arts just as Livingstone traversed the Zambezi Valley, then you really know that these works are finding favour high up. “Best show ever” Alain Bovis gathered some “small wonders” – around one hundred minuscule statuettes, amulets and jewels – for an exhibition named “Beautysmall”. Bernard Dulon was in top form with Tsogho statue masterpieces from...

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Who’s afraid of Antoine Van de Beuque?

This is the story of an art dealer, Antoine Van de Beuque, former vice president of a renowned gallery (Wildenstein), who in 2012 launched ArtViatic. A high-flying digital dealing platform, whose ambition is to “free up access to exceptional works”. A portrait. “Change the codes”… The interview starts off with an order, which is unusual in the muffled world of art dealing, where discretion vies with propriety. But Antoine Van de Beuque isn’t one to hold back. This is the man behind online transactions that go over one million dollars. This is also the man to whom we owe some of the lowest buyer and seller commissions on the market. Offering an alternative to the traditional circuit for Impressionist, modern as well as contemporary art, the website ArtViatic is a (very) aggressive player. Its target? Paintings, works on paper and sculptures valued at over €20,000. Its method? Exchanges that take place “in real time, directly, at lower costs”. And this month, ArtViatic is launching its new platform: a 2.0 online version, on 20 September. For those who might have forgotten their Latin, let’s remember that viaticum denotes “travel provisions”. For Antoine Van de Beuque, founder of the platform whose name derives from this term, ArtViatic is a registered trademark synonymous with “online private sales of artworks”. So ArtViatic also rhymes with aesthetic, economic… and also “so chic”. The international platform gathers a number of signatures from the very top end: Louise Bourgeois, Victor Brauner, Piet Mondrian, François Pompon, Alfred Sisley… Not forgetting contemporary artists such as Richard Anuszkiewicz, Fiona Banner and Gregor Hildebrandt, whose presence is hard to ignore with a six by three metre canvas… This is no place for bric-a-brac: ArtViatic’s catalogue includes around one hundred pieces, renewed on an ongoing basis, and its ambition is to...

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Art market: 30 billion euros

The Conseil des Ventes, the French authority regulating public auctions, publishes a yearly “report”, which is an opportunity to consider the market’s vitality, from New York to Paris. A review of the very lucrative sector of art and collection objects.   The world is bipolar… This situation isn’t new, but it’s now been confirmed by the latest “Rapport d’Activité du Conseil des Ventes Volontaires” (Activity Report of the Council for Voluntary Sales, the authority which regulates public auctions in France), delivering an assessment of 2015 this summer. This is how things stand… On one side, the United States and China together generate two-thirds of global auction activity, in other words, 66.2 % of the very lucrative “art and collection objects” sector; and on the other side, there’s the rest of the world. And as nothing is straightforward in the kingdom of finance, the gap between the two giants is widening further this year. While Uncle Sam’s sales proceeds jumped up by 20.8 %, climbing from 9.27 billion euros in 2014 to 11.2 billion euros inn 2015, the Middle Kingdom remains steady at 8.68 billion euros in 2015, in other words, a 0.6 point drop. Moving up, the United States now represents 37.3 % of the global market while China, transiting through an adjustment phase since 2013, is a little behind with 28.9 %. In short, the art auction market today represents some 30 billion euros, spent in the four corners of the planet on Flemish paintings, 18th century commodes, Ming porcelain… So much to say that since 2009, according to the Conseil des Ventes’ figures, the total of sales on the auction market has more than doubled, swelling up by 126 %. The only shadow on this picture is the sluggishness recorded between 2011 and 2012, partly due to...

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