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This year, FIAC is celebrating its 43rd fair at the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, the Jardin des Tuileries, and the Place Vendôme. With works from 186 galleries spanning over 27 countries—the largest number of countries the fair has ever sourced from—and “On Site,” a brand-new sector for FIAC, the fair is set to stun visitors with new art, and an open Avenue Winston Churchill—closed to traffic and available to visitors on foot for the first time. To discuss this year’s fair, we spoke with the FIAC’s Director Jennifer Flay, and FIAC’s Cultural Development and Projects Manager Blanche de la Strange.
WHITEWALLER: Tell us about the city of Paris allowing you to open the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais to each other, and to close Avenue Winston Churchill to traffic—open to fair visitors on foot for the first time.
JENNIFER FLAY: We were looking for superior spaces where we could show sculptural work and installations, and the evidence of the museum across the road was something that we of course were taken by for many years. It’s exciting to propose real museum conditions to galleries that are exhibiting at FIAC across the road. There was a strong desire for the city of Paris to be more engaged with FIAC, as well.
BLANCHE DE LA STRANGE: Last year, we presented three sculptures by Liz Glynn, and also a performance by Rashid Johnson in front of the Petit Palais. So this year, we reinforced the collaboration with Petit Palais and the city of Paris. The museum belongs to the city of Paris, so it’s very important for us to emphasize this collaboration and to present artworks in front of the permanent structure of the Petit Palais too.
WW: Can you tell us a little bit about this year’s programming, including the new sector “On Site” at the Petit Palais?
JF: We’ve chosen to call it that because we wanted to really establish the fact that it is on-site, that it is one architectural ensemble. “On Site” integrates perhaps around 40 projects of different nature—some inside, some outside.
BDLS: We will have emerging artists, such as Yu Honglei, and more established artists, such as Joe Bradley and Mandla Reuter. In Avenue Winston Churchill, we will have a very important specific project by Lawrence Weiner, between the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, and also a work by Jacques Villeglé, the French artist.
WW: What are you most excited this year that is new to FIAC?
JF: We are very, very excited about what is going on the Vendôme, which is newly renovated. We have an extraordinary project by Ugo Rondinone who is working specifically for the site. We’re also excited about our Tuileries program this year, which includes a number of really astounding artworks, and we’re also continuing our investigation of new topics and forward-thinking architecture, which we’ve been developing over the years..
We’ll be presenting several architecture pieces—among them a one-class school, which was built by Jean Prouvé in 1948, and also a pre-fab house by Jean Nouvel, which we’ll be showing for the very first time.
WW: October in Paris is such a wonderful time of year. Where do you go, or recommend visitors to go, after a long day at FIAC?
JF: We work very closely with Silencio designed by David Lynch. We have a program there right after FIAC, and we give them temporary memberships to Silencio. There’s a library, a private screening room, and there’s a dance floor of course, but more secluded spaces for conversations. Artists can really work with the space, which is gorgeous. So Silencio is a good one if you don’t necessarily want to end the evening. It’s a great place to celebrate.
BDLS: We will have artists such as Zineb Sedira, Caecilia Trip, Ming Wong, Vanessa Place, and Taryn Simon for the space. It’s a great program, and the idea is to have an artist that presents, but also a concert, a DJ set, a book in the library, the club…
To read more, pick up the latest copy of Whitewaller in Paris this week. And for even more insight into FIAC and Paris Art Week, make sure to check out Whitewaller Paris’ guest editor Judith Benhamou-Huet’s website at judithbenhamouhuet.com.