Art attack: the unmissable and sublime from FIAC 2015
Another week, another art fair. Except that anyone who visited Frieze and has arrived in Paris for FIAC can confirm that there is little in the way of déjà-vu... Galleries that participate in both insist on exposing different works in this 42nd edition of the international contemporary art fair while several others choose to expose exclusively in Paris. Still, certain themes or impressions emerge, whether the repetition of works from Lucio Fontana or an overall sense of less shock value, more substance. Attempting to select a definitive list of standouts from 170 galleries is to be spoiled for choice. But here, in any case, are some especially worthy mentions...
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, by Wu Tsang, Swarovski Series
With pride of place over the Grand Palais, Wu Tsang’s imposing creation rises from the Balcon d’Honneur like some sort of radiant amorphous creature. In fact, the installation – the artist’s largest to date, thanks to the support of Swarovski – takes cue from The Wizard of Oz by exploring how the medium of crystal can project such a dreamlike message simply via the refraction of light. Amidst the hubbub of the fair, the aura from the interior colours cycling through a shimmery rainbow feels simultaneously meditative and magical.
Toilet Paper at Galerie Perrotin
The projects churned out by Toilet Paper’s Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari have taken several surprising shapes and sizes since the duo expanded beyond their wickedly wry, artistic magazine. By reinterpreting the classic paravent, they’re enlarging their imagery and positioning it like a decorative billboard. Put another way, they’re sure to be a status symbol (and practical room divider) for those with extroverted taste. Pictured left to right: Chung Chang-Sup, Xavier Veilhan, Jens Fänge, Wim Delvoye, Takashi Murakami, Toilet Paper screens by Maurizio Cattelan & Pierpaolo Ferrari.
Photography: Claire Dorn. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin
L’Arc de Saint-Gilles, by Huang Yong Ping
As at any art fair, a number of works will inevitably prove to be Instagram bait. There’s nothing subtle about this bisected deer, created by French artist Huang Yong Ping, among the most provocative and acclaimed of the Chinese avant-gardists. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of all is the gilded interior, which strikes as simultaneously surreal and sublime.
Photography: Julie Joubert. Courtesy the artist and Kamel Mennour, Paris
Damian Ortega and Leonor Antunes
At the Kurimanzutto stand, a sphere of recycled mixed media from Damián Ortega sits in front of a delicate grid of brass tubes. One suggests the earth’s geology with papery, spongy layers loosely representing metamorphic and sedimentary rock; the other, a curtain more decorative than functional. The juxtaposition of brute and fine workmanship, both natural yet engineered, highlights each artist’s mastery of materials.
Photography: Erwan Fichou. Courtesy Kurimanzutto
Large Dry Clay Head on Concrete Floor, by Mark Manders
Absent of an explanation from the Dutch artist, his mindset when creating this mutilated clay head could have been in any number of places. Whether it conveys violence, ruin, tragedy or just the urge to break down a classical composition, the force it exudes from within the enclosed case is undeniable. Currently, Manders’ work can also be found front and centre in the Louvre’s sweeping exhibition, ’A Brief History of the Future’, which offers some indication of his esteem in the art world today.
Photography: Peter Cox . Courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
Season 1, by Neïl Beloufa
Last Sunday, Neil Beloufa erected a pop-up hotel lobby within his vast studio south of Paris. In it, he shows how art can also be operational; the electrical sockets poking out that actually function, for instance. But the idea of an oversized charging station is not the only reason why Beloufa is among four artists being awarded this year’s Prix Marcel Duchamp; it merely affirms his representation of forms that resist formalism.
Courtesy of Balice Hertling
Fish (Gerührt), by Oliver Osborne
Berlin-based, Scottish Oliver Osborne treats his canvases with palpable precision, scaling up what might have begun as a small illustration of fish disembowelment to a life-size graphic. The visual is clean and simple but the impact is bold and unexpectedly gutsy (pun intended).
Courtesy the artist, Catherine Bastide, Brussels and Giò Marconi, Milan
Foule, by Philippe Cognée
Sometimes it’s an image that catches the attention; sometimes, it’s an effect. Philippe Cognée, who is based in Nantes, applies his own method to encaustic hot wax painting by ironing over the work as the final stage. The result: mesmerisingly blurry, figurative scenes awash in depth. The longer you stare, the longer the smooth surface comes in and out of focus.
Courtesy Galerie Daniel Templon
From the series Shadows, by Andy Warhol
Warhol Unlimited, a new retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne, showcases the artist’s entire Shadow series (1978-79) for the first time in Europe. The silkscreened motif repeats 102 times in 17 colours and spans 130 metres. Finding a lone Shadow canvas outside the exhibition feels like stumbling upon a stray puppy—or maybe a conveniently exposed treasure. Still, removed from its group, this one with its sharp contrast of ivory and black, comes across as un-Warholian yet timelessly striking.
Courtesy of Jablonka Galerie
Solar rope I, by Georgia Russell
In her ongoing exploration of memory, Scottish artist Georgia Russell has created a new grouping of works that are as much defined by dimension as meticulous technique. While the motif of vertical slits across a folded canvas eliminates any chance of discerning the original source material – likely a landscape – the new form becomes an ever-shifting tableau that seems to vibrate with fragile finesse
Courtesy Galerie Karsten Greve