London is blossoming, but this time FIAC does it better


To tell you the truth, we approached FIAC with the conviction to demonstrate the following theory: on equal range of quality, young artists’ pieces are sold quite easily, however when these artists become established, that is to say when they reach their forties, selling their artworks could become a more difficult matter. Having this in mind, we have tried to spot the best pieces on exhibition and we have asked the galleries whether they were still available, so as a collector, with a relevant high assets would do. The outcome however was everything but unexpected. At least 70% of the works we have inquired about, including ones by Albert Oehlen, Christopher Wool, Ugo Rondinone, Josh Smith, George Condo, Jason Martin, Camille Henrot, Richard Prince, with prices sometimes over 1milion$ have all been sold.


The market is without doubt blossoming and the “circus” of contemporary art in Paris, as defined by an experienced operator from an Italian leading gallery, is in very good shape. If you are wondering where FIAC’s success lies, there are many reasons to pin down, starting from its veneu. If on the one hand, many operators keep on complaining about the temporary tent of Frieze – apparently when it rains the structure is not totally waterproof -, on the other hand, everyone describes the Grand Palais as the perfect venue for events of this kind, particularly when it comes to lighting.


Even if at the moment Paris is not offering any exhibition comparable to the one dedicated to Rembrandt at the National Gallery, and even if the criticism around McCarthy work hasn’t been of help, on the other hand, the very selected public attracted by the opening of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, has indeed chosen to come to Paris, instead of London, to spend their money.


Furthermore, it must be said that the quality of the artworks brought this year at FIAC was memorable. All the galleries, except for a few, have relied on works easy to collect, both in dimension and in weight. Monumental sculptures were no more than 4 or 5, video-art and installation couldn’t be spotted, little was the photography around as opposed to a great amount of two-dimensional works, most of them employing pictorial media.


Another evidence of the importance big collectors, Francois Odermatt and Uli Sigg to name a few, have paid to the FIAC this year is the fact that you could bump into them even the day after the Vernissage. Mr. Sigg, a reference for Chinese art, has noticed the almost-absence of Chinese artists which, according to him, is due to the galleries, which don’t want to run into the risk of suggesting names that the Western public would probably not understand. At the same time however, these same galleries have opened branches in the Far East and they are possibly trying to do market on the spot.


‘Donc’, congratulations to Paris for winning over London this year, in spite of the crisis, of the growing debt, of the smog and in spite of the lack of elevator and escalators in the metro…

July 18, 2015