The 44th edition of FIAC takes place October 19–22, welcoming the largest number of galleries it has yet: 193 in total. On view this year are FIAC’s sector of sculptural works and installations, “On Site,” returning to the Petit Palais; the performance festival Parades for FIAC; and five galleries dedicated to 20th- and 21st-century design. Whitewaller spoke with FIAC’s director, Jennifer Flay.
WHITEWALLER: This year you’re presenting works from 193 galleries spanning more than 30 countries, with 42 new galleries in participation. What are you excited to see?
JENNIFER FLAY: I am thrilled, for example, to welcome David Kordansky from L.A. He is such an important gallery and genuine taste maker. He is really one of the people that has played a part in identifying some of the more talented young artists over recent years, and he does extraordinary presentations. Also, Edward [Tyler] Nahem. He’s been active in the market for such a long time, and has proven that he can obtain such quality material in the contemporary, modern field.
We also have a very young gallery from New York called Queer Thoughts with a very edgy program. They are in the Lafayette sector, presenting a one-person show with Diamond Stingily.
I am also proud to present Gypsum from Egypt with a solo show with the Egyptian artist Basim Magdy. Also, Selma Feriani from Tunisia, who is showing Ismaïl Bahri and Massinissa Selmani, respectively from Tunisia and Algeria. I am impatient to see the solo exhibition by the major American painter Henry Taylor at Blum & Poe, also from Los Angeles. Henry Taylor was one of the highlights of the recent Whitney Biennial.
WW: What is the selection process like for the Lafayette sector, created in 2009 with the Galeries Lafayette Group?
JF: We receive about a hundred applications for a total of ten booths. Participants are selected by an independent jury composed principally of curators. Since its creation in 2009, the Lafayette sector has become a very well-respected exhibition platform, and it is something of an achievement for a young gallery to be selected to show in it. This year, there are seven solo exhibitions and three shows which create a dialogue between two artists. The Lafayette sector is a reaffirmation of the need to construct a solid support system for the makers and mentors of the art of today and tomorrow.
WW: Can you tell us about what to expect from Parades for FIAC?
JF: Parades for FIAC is a performance festival that is centered on the intersection between different creative disciplines, and in the case of the 2017 program, particularly on the close relationship between contemporary dance and experimental performance work in the visual arts.
There are four performances a day throughout the duration of the fair in different emblematic Parisian venues, such as the Palais de la Découverte and the Auditorium of the Louvre Museum. It is a continuous cycle of performances. A FIAC visitor who was specifically interested in this field could certainly spend their entire week attending the different performances, which are freely accessible to all public.
WW: Can you tell us about your choice to reintroduce design to FIAC?
JF: FIAC was the first art fair in the world to introduce a design sector back in 2004. It was suspended in 2010 because many of the galleries felt oversolicited by the subsequent emergence of a full cycle of such events right throughout the year. In the meantime we developed a focus on important modernist and contemporary architecture on the Esplanade des Feuillants in the Tuileries gardens, which will present five major works this year. Our decision to reintroduce design to FIAC was prompted by the desire to focus on a small group of the world’s leading design galleries presenting iconic masterworks from the modern and contemporary periods.