Bigger than ever, the 43rd edition of FIAC explores utopias and displacement

Spring Moon, by Ugo Rondinone, 2011. Zurich; Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York /Brussels; Sadie Coles HQ, London; Galerie Esther Schipper, Berlin and Gallery Kukje, Seoul
(Image credit: Courtesy of Galerie Eva Presenhuber)

Paris’ International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) usually revolves around the gigantic Grand Palais museum with satellite events across the city. This year, however, things are a little different. FIAC's 43rd edition (running until 23 October) is the largest to date, with a line-up of 186 galleries from 27 countries, as well as an ever-diverse offering including a contemporary dance section and new On Site venues like the Petit Palais and Palais de la Découverte museums. 

'Offering the Petit Palais, such a prestigious venue, built at the same time as the Grand Palais for the 1900 World Expo, was a desire many exhibitors expressed,' explains fair director Jennifer Flay. 'And to see contemporary sculptures like Damien Hirst’s white marble Anatomy of an Angel exhibited among the paintings of Gustave Courbet for instance, helps to see things in a new and different way.'

installation view

Installation view of Elmgreen & Dragset’s one-day takeover of Galerie Perrotin's booth at the Grand Palais, one month before FIAC officially opened. Pictured, from left, works by Jean-Michel Othoniel, Takashi Murakami and Elmgreen & Dragset.

(Image credit: Claire Dorn)

Flay is also eager to see the Avenue Winston Churchill that runs between the two museums – where several artworks will be shown – restored to a pedestrian esplanade as it was in the 1900s. In addition, the event will also see the reopening (after a decade) of the forgotten corridor between the Grand Palais and the Palais de la Découverte science museum, emphasising the building of links between space and time, as opposed to putting up walls. 

In fact, many of the installations outside the Grand Palais will explore the unofficial theme of utopia. 'Although it’s not a deliberate response to what’s going on at the moment, there is a link,' says Flay. 

Another must-see on Flay’s list is Ugo Rondinone’s installation of ten 5m-high sculptures of gnarly olive trees and anthropomorphic stone figures on Place Vendôme. 'It’s not an easy space to occupy, and this is by far the largest footprint we’ve had on the square,' says Flay.

deliverable house

'6x6 flexible, deliverable house', by Jean Nouvel, 2016

(Image credit: Jean Nouvel)

In the Tuileries Gardens, Pezo Von Ellrichshausen further explores the unofficial theme with a mock-up of the lighthouse he plans on building in Lampedusa to help guide immigrant boats, built from bits of washed up wood from shipwrecks. Nearby, architects Jean Prouvé and Jean Nouvel contribute with their all-terrain emergency housing, a response to homelessness caused by natural and political disasters. For Flay, this FIAC is more meaningful than ever. 'We are so thrilled to present these pieces in this context because it makes us think about the terrible situation immigrants are in. But also about possible solutions.'

The Tapestry

'The Tapestry', by Pierre-Alain Cornaz, for Orient Express, from the series Manifest Pieces. Courtesy of Maud Remy Lonvis

(Image credit: Courtesy of Maud Remy Lonvis)

the secretary

'The Secretary', by Pierre-Alain Cornaz, for Orient Express, from Manifest Pieces

(Image credit: Courtesy of Maud Remy Lonvis)

broken suit

Pictured (from left): Broken Suite 1, by Philippe Decrauzat, 2014; and A Lighthouse for Lampedusa!, by Thomas Kilpper, 2016. Courtesy of Thomas Kilpper and Galerie Nagel Draxler Berlin/ Cologne.

(Image credit: Youssef Meftah, Bruxelles)


Rogue, by Bernard Frize, 2015; and Untitled, by Pieter Vermeersch, 2016. 

(Image credit: Courtesy of Galerie Perrotin)

edition of FIAC

Partner to this year's edition of FIAC, Orient Express is showing its first series of products (and visual travel inspiration, pictured) in a special exhibition area in the Grand Palais. 

(Image credit: Courtesy of Maud Remy Lonvis)

Daniel buren

Tondo N°XH 5, by Daniel Buren, 2016. Brussels; and Dreamtime, by Stanley Whitney, 2016

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist and Xavier Hufkens)

woman crying

Woman Crying #9, by Anne Collier, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York; and Bharat Pehchane (Fatim Diop), by Aurélien Froment, 2016. Courtesy of Marcelle Alix, Paris

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, Courtesy of Marcelle Alix)

Untitled, David Altmejd

Untitled, David Altmejd, 2014; and Anatomy of an Angel, Damien Hirst, 2008. Courtesy of Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2016. © White Cube (Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd)

(Image credit: Courtesy of Damien Hirst and Science Ltd., © White Cube (Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd))

man ray

Meret Oppenheim à la presse, by Man Ray, 1933

(Image credit: Man Ray)

jana euler

Study for Seascape #29, by Tom Wesselmann, 1967. New York / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, Mitchell Innes & Nash, NY; and Deviceless, 2, by Jana Euler, 2015

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Estate of Tom Wesselmann)

lucio fontana

Concetto Spaziale, Attesa, by Lucio Fontana, 1967. Courtesy of Tornabuoni Art

(Image credit: Courtesy of Tornabuoni Art)

diary of long year

Diary of a Long Year, by Edmund de Waal, 2016. Courtesy of Galerie Max Hetzler

(Image credit: Mike Bruce)

en routes

En route, Pszczóki, by Marie Bovo, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Kamel Mennour, Paris; and Smentire il bianco, by Carol Rama, 1972. Courtesy of Archivio Carol Rama, Torino and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist and Kamel Mennour, Courtesy of Archivio Carol Rama, Torino and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi)

Metamorphism XXVI

Metamorphism XXVI, by Julian Charrière, 2016. Courtesy of Philippe De Putter; and Series II Cube, by Larry Bell, 1985

(Image credit: Courtesy of Philippe De Putter)

Magi© Bullet

Magi© Bullet, by General Idea, 1992. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin. Kunsthalle Zürich

(Image credit: A Burger)

Ecole de Bouqueval

Ecole de Bouqueval, by Jean Prouvé, 1949. Courtesy of Galerie Patrick Seguin; and Untitled, by Emil Michael Klein, 2015. Courtesy of Gaudel de Stampa, Paris

(Image credit: Courtesy of Galerie Patrick Seguin, Courtesy of Gaudel de Stampa)

landon metz

Untitled, by Landon Metz, 2015.

(Image credit:

The Lanterns

'The Lanterns', by Pierre-Alain Cornaz, for Orient Express, from Manifest Pieces

(Image credit: Courtesy of Maud Remy Lonvis)

Emma Schönflies

Emma Schönflies, by Raphaël Zarka, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Michel Rein, Paris/Brussels; and Deci, by Pezo Von Ellrichshausen, 2016.

(Image credit: Marc Domage)

machine painting

Untitled (Machine Painting), by Daniel Lefcourt, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York; and Silent Listen, by Iván Navarro, 2016. Courtesy of Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris et Bruxelles

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Courtesy of Galerie Daniel Templon)

Manifest Pieces collection

Manifest Pieces collection, by Pierre-Alain Cornaz, for Orient Express. 

(Image credit: Courtesy of Maud Remy Lonvis)

Anri Sala

The hand of god (table placée sur l’action), by Anri Sala, 2008. Napoli

(Image credit: Courtesy of Galleria Alfonso Artiaco)

Gypsum Flower

Gypsum Flower, by Dove Allouche, 2016

(Image credit: Dove Allouche)


The 43rd edition of FIAC is on view until 23 October. For more information, visit the FIAC website