Urs Fischer, Leo© Urs Fischer, Courtesy Gagosian

Melting Candles, Rotting Oranges, Football Paintings and... Laughing Cow Cheese?

Here are the things you absolutely cannot miss during this month's Fiac Art Fair.

by Sarah Hyde
Oct 13 2019, 9:45am

Urs Fischer, Leo© Urs Fischer, Courtesy Gagosian

In Paris, Urs Fischer is lighting a candle at the Gagosian to celebrate Fiac, the week where the global art community visits the city. Entitled Leo, his latest candle sculpture, is a wax representation of Leonardo Di Caprio along with his parents. Could this be interpreted as a witty and lighthearted response to the serious business of the Leonardo da Vinci show opening later in the month; a storm which has been building for months if not years in the international art world, all around the monumentally weighty subject of connoisseurship and the work "Salvador Mundi?" Urs Fischer’s candle works are a comment on the transitory nature of life—once it is melted the work is gone. But does this composition also make a subtle reference to the holy family?

francis bacon centre pompidou
Francis Bacon, "Triptych inspired by T.S Eliot’s poem, Sweeney Agoniste," 1967, Oil and pastal on canvas. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden - Smithsonian Institution, Washington © The Estate of Francis Bacon / All rights reserved / Adagp, Paris and DACS, London 2019 Photography by Cathy Carver. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution

Francis Bacon is an artist whose name is synonymous with Paris and "Bacon en Toutes Lettres" is an intense and emotionally charged show, even by his standards. As one magnificent triptych leads into another, prepare to be psychologically punched, tortured, and mangled at every visceral turn. Allow time to become saturated by the intensity and color of the works, which are situated in the serene top floor galleries of the Pompidou Centre.

Bursting with artistic promise, Paris Internationale brings together young international galleries, curated throughout the four floors of 16, Rue Alfred de Vigny. The fair uses the entire space of the building, including bathrooms and kitchens, which makes visiting feel like a curious journey of discovery or hide and seek. Look out for “Vape Lounge” from 650 mAh, not quite like the normal VIP Lounges that bloom during art fairs; it is a vaping space that is inclusive and relaxing for everyone at the fair, selling "650mAaaah;" a range of five artist designed e-liquids.

Kiki Smith Cathedral
Kiki Smith, "Cathedral," 2013, Cotton Jacquard tapestry. Publisher Magnolia Editions © Kiki Smith, courtesy Pace Gallery

In mysterious hues of twilight and dusk, Kiki Smith's “Woven Tales” seamlessly find their place in art history. These computer generated tapestries feature archetypal, mythological dreamscapes, but are infused with the apocalyptic modern fears about the environment. On view at the Monnaie de Paris, just a few minutes' walk to the medieval treasures of the Louvre, these works create a curious continuum between the past and present, while expanding the artist's quest to understand the life around her.

Hotel Normandy The Community
Hotel Normandy, photo courtesy The Coomunity

The inaugural edition of “Salon de Normandy” by The Community will take place from the 17 to 20 October. Fifteen international entities will exhibit in and across the different spaces of the 150 year old historic Normandy Hôtel located next to the Louvre. The Community is a collective-run platform for multidisciplinary exchange and explores fashion, music, art, and publishing. The first large-scale solo show and installation by Nick Sethi will be presented by The Community, and a separate experimental space will present unique fashion pieces. Expect the unexpected, especially in unusual spaces…..including the laundry room.

Nicolas de Stael Parc des Princes
Nicolas de Staël, "Parc des Princes (Les grands footballeurs)," 1952, Oil on canvas © Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2019

In 1952, Nicolas de Staël created 24 paintings after watching a France vs. Sweden football match from the stands of the Parc des Princes stadium. Passionately enthused by the spectacle of athletic vigor and floodlit color, de Staël immediately embarked on the ‘footballer’ paintings. Most of the works are small, intense canvases, but Parc des Princes is the master work, presented on a huge scale and saturated with the artist's powerful impression of the energy, color and sound of a football match. A key painting in de Staël’s life changing show at the Knoedler gallery in New York in March 1953, it has been in his family since the artists tragic death in 1955 and is rarely on view to the public. Now it will be sold at auction on October 17th 2019 at Christies.

Johan Creten De Vleermuis
Johan Creten, "De Vleermuis," 2018-2019, Patinated bronze, lost wax casting © Johan Creten / ADAGP, Paris, 2019. Courtesy of the artist & Perrotin

Be sure to watch out for Johan Creten's Dee Vleermuis or The Bat flying around the outside of the Grand Palais. Bats are often referred to as the guardians of the night, and in the past have informed some of the darker side of the visual culture, including Art Nouveau, making Dee Vleermuis the perfect companion for the magnificent Grand Palais building. Its wings spread open like a gentleman’s evening cloak, perfectly provide a frisson of terror to the city.

Daniel Buren Laughing Cow
Daniel Buren, "Boîte Collector - Bleu," 2019 © Groupe Bel

Most recently known for his work at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Daniel Buren's new work could be his greatest yet. This year he was invited to make the collectors box (yes, this is a thing) for The Laughing Cow cheese, and the outcome is sensational. His design works works in two and three dimensions; each box is an edition in itself, but when piled up the printed vertical stripes on the boxes can form virtually infinite columns, whose chromatic variations and permutations are left to the discretion of those eating the cheese. Given that enough boxes of this cheese are consumed every year to reach from earth to the moon, the potential of the project is huge. Available in four colorways; red, yellow, blue and green, the cheese will be available at Fiac, and subject to availability, online.

Michel Blazy
Michel Blazy, "Bar à oranges," 2009. Collection Frac Île-de-France © Michel Blazy ADAGP, Paris, 2019. Photo Martin Argyroglo

And for those who have a bit of time to head out of town, another significant opening is Komunuma, in the borough of Romainville. Meaning "community" or “commune,” it’s a huge site of almost 11,000 square-metres renovated by Fondation Fiminco, and it will open its doors to the public on October 20th. An innovative model that mixes public exhibition, studio space, and private galleries like Air de Paris, Galerie Sator, Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, and In Situ Fabienne Leclerc. The opening exhibition is Michel Blazy's Bar a Oranges, where spectators are invited to make themselves orange juice and then add the used fruit halves into a wooden shelf next to the bar. As the fruit rots, it forms into mold and attracts fruit flies, and thus the art becoming a small ecosystem unto itself. Komunuma also includes a FRAC exhibition space, which is the public regional national art collection established in 1982 to buy contemporary art for the nation.http://komunuma.com/

francis bacon
Urs Fischer
kiki smith