The Parisian “Foire international d'art contemporain”, or FIAC for short, is not only being put to the test by the Covid crisis. It was suspended for a year and now has to cope with the move from the Grand Palais, which has been closed for renovation work, to the temporary “Grand Palais Éphémère” behind the Eiffel Tower. That means a loss of about a quarter of the area. In 2019, 199 galleries from 29 countries took part; this time there are 170 galleries from 25 countries. An “Online Viewing Room” enables a further 42 galleries to have a digital presence. The freely accessible additional program “Hors les murs” will take place again with 24 works of art in the Tuileries Gardens.

On the Place Vendôme the most impressive work of this 47th edition of the FIAC shines bright red: Alexander Calder's 17 meter long and 9 meter high “Flying Dragon” from 1975 looks like a metallic hybrid between dragonfly and drone. The Gagosian Gallery, which had the work brought in from Australia, is celebrating the opening of a third Parisian address, right next door on Rue de Castiglione. In general, there is a noticeable upswing in the Parisian art scene. Financially strong international galleries are moving to the area around Avenue Matignon with additional rooms, including Perrotin, Skarstedt, Almine Rech and Kamel Mennour.

The London gallery White Cube has also secured a branch there within the EU. At FIAC, on the occasion of the Baselitz retrospective in the Center Pompidou, she is showing a large-format painting by the German artist: “We're taking a little pink” from 2018 is being offered for 1.5 million euros. Thaddaeus Ropac (Salzburg, Paris, London) has represented Baselitz for a long time and brings some of his works to the Paris trade fair every year. "Karl May Bar" shows, fresh from the studio, a variation of the motif that does not want to let go of the artist (1.2 million euros).

On the opening day, visitors crowded the hallways and exhibition booths like in the good old days. Compared to Art Basel, American collectors and artists were able to arrive more easily, while quarantine requirements deterred Chinese visitors and galleries. There are 20 galleries from America; In 2019 it was 27. Pace from New York presented one of the playful sculptures by its house star Jeff Koons (price “on request”), which looks like plastic - stacked chairs with an inflated pool seal - but was cast in steel. Next to it are two stern, black relief sculptures by Louise Nevelson from the late 1970s ($ 250,000 each).

Overall, this time the FIAC has a more European character and is of high, unexcited quality. Karsten Greve (Cologne, Paris, Sankt Moritz) recovered an oversized, black ink painting on paper from the studio of 102-year-old Pierre Soulages from 1963, which was last seen at documenta 3 (1964) (4 million Euro). The Berlin gallery neugerriemschneider is designing its stand with works-in-one-work by Thomas Bayrle: a fascinating examination of the frescoes of the Florentine Brancacci Chapel (prices are not mentioned). Max Hetzler (Berlin, Paris, London) shows by Ai Weiwei a series of six porcelain plates made in the Chinese Ming tradition, the delicate blue painting of which, on closer inspection, visualizes the refugee crisis (300,000 euros).

On the opening day, the Parisian gallery Jocelyn Wolff sold a body landscape by the Swiss Miriam Cahn for 200,000 euros and one of the sensitive sculptures by the German sculptor Katinka Bock (“Speaker and receiver”, 35,000 euros). Frank Elbaz (Paris, Dallas) was particularly interested in a solo show by the Japanese painter Kenjiro Okazaki ($ 9,000 to $ 120,000). The gallery gb agency, which represents conceptual artists such as the British Ryan Gander, also comes from Paris. A freshly painted painting by Apostolos Georgiou (documenta 14) costs 60,500 euros.

No trade fair without discoveries: In the "Galerie Eiffel" wing, which unites younger and cutting-edge galleries, the solo stand of the gallery founded this year by Chris Sharp from Los Angeles is convincing.

The complex wall sculptures, mainly made of textiles, by the Mexican Isabel Nuño de Buen, who lives in Hanover, are reminiscent of deep-sea salvages or archaeological finds and are poetic of their own (4,000 to 8,500 euros).

At the Grand Palais Éphémère, until October 24, admission 40 euros, catalog 35 euros

Keywords: grand palais éphémère, fiac, parisian, quality, art, art fair, edition, characteristics, art scene, scores, gagosian gallery, renovation work, thaddaeus ropac, katinka bock, hors les murs