Paris' biggest international contemporary art fair, the FIAC, is underway and opens its doors to the public today at the Grand Palais. The FIAC (Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporary), which has been running since 1974, takes place annually at the Grand Palais as well as 'hors les murs' (in situ) across the city. This year, a new branch of the fair was created under the name (OFF)icielle, which runs at La Cité de la Mode et du Design (the fashion and design hub also known as 'Les Docks') on the right bank in southeast Paris. Although there is an official FIAC guide, hundreds of boutiques and galleries also host events as part of the festival that holds the entire city in its grip for a full week. Events started as early at 17th October with the official FIAC opening at the Jardin des Plantes but the main bulk of events takes place from 20th until 27th October.
FIAC Grand Palais
The FIAC's beating heart is found under the impressive Art Nouveau glass nave at the Grand Palais. From 23rd until 26th October galleries from all over the world set up stands inside the museum for four days when everyone in the contemporary art field thinks of nothing but art – and, more specifically, of selling art. A highlight on the global art calendar for collectors and established galleries, the FIAC at the Grand Palais is more of a buyer's market than a place to come for peacefully viewing the world's art. Seething with anyone who is anyone in the field from dawn till dusk, the nave is complete mayhem and best avoided by art lovers who suffer from museum rage.
FIAC Hors les murs: Sounds by the River on the Berges de Seine
A much more relaxed option is to explore curator Anne-Laure Chamboissier's course of sonorous art pieces dotted along the River Seine's left bank, along the Berges de Seine, by prised artists including Bruno Letort and Emmanuel Lagarrigue. Running until 2nd November, the event is free and open from midday till 8.00pm everyday. The sonorous pieces are homage to the work of the polyvalent film directors Federico Fellini, Chris Marker and Marguerite Duras. The works are set up inside small containers YOU, SOUND SHOWER and Zzz, which are equipped with oversized beanbag cushions and a window that allows listeners to contemplate the river while experiencing the artworks. Sounds by the River is a selection of poetic encounters that takes about three hours to experience in total.
FIAC Hors les murs: (OFF)icielle
A contemporary art fair within an art fair, (OFF)icielle is a new in situ event for the FIAC this year that is very much a part of it and not the 'off' event as its name might lead to believe. Taking place at the super slick Jakob+MacFarlane designed Les Docks fashion and design hub (instantly recognisable by its lime green angular caterpillar shell) the smaller hip fair runs from 22nd until 26th October. Over 60 galleries from 14 countries around the world have a stand here showing art by up-and-coming artists. Various events organised by the various bars, restaurants and boutiques of Les Docks also take place everyday (and night).
YIA at the Carreau du Temple
Another small art fair within the FIAC is YIA, which stands for Young International Artists. Now in its fifth year, YIA will take place on 23rd until 26th October at the newly renovated Art Nouveau Carreau du Temple in the Marais. Over 150 artists' work from 70 galleries (most of which are French) will be showcased here and although many have yet to make a name for themselves it is the event to attend for spotting future generations of artists to make it big on the international art scene. The artworks on show are wide-ranging, from sculpture to graphic design, fashion and paintings.
There are so many varied events taking place around the city during FIAC that it's hard to keep track. Those in the know will however make a stop at the luxurious Private Choice apartment that acts like a contemporary art and design showroom until Sunday. Officially part of the VIP FIAC events it is highly exclusive and the only way to get in is to send for an invitation. Inaugurated last Saturday with a cocktail party, Private Choice is a less frenetic choice to picking up rare finds to take home. Everything here is for sale (except for the Le Corbusier staircase and the Andrée Putman lighting fixture) including a bespoke Felice Varini painting (50,000 euro), Puiforcat silverware by the very talented designer Patrick Jouin and Lalique vases by Zaha Hadid.
FIAC runs from 23rd - 26th October 2014
To find out more about these exhibitions and other events througout the FIAC week head to: www.fiac.com/en/paris