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an exceptional week for contemporary art

Should we speak of rebirth? This week of events orchestrated around the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) took Paris with a new impetus. Happiness of reunion after eighteen months of abstinence? From the first hours, the ephemeral Grand Palais, which hosts the fair until 2024 on the Champ-de-Mars, was buzzing with VIPs, and negotiations were going well. Trend confirmed over the days. All was not, however, perfect in this 47e edition, restricted to 160 galleries: under the sadly stretched vault of navy blue, the stands were more constrained, even those of mastodons like Gagosian or Hauser & Wirth, and the comfort of the visitor rather spartan. But the cottony atmosphere facilitated concentration and discussions at the mercy of solid clashes, although not surprisingly. Built especially for the FIAC in the shadow of the tower, the Eiffel gallery benefited from a pleasant natural light; the emerging galleries that it housed also performed quite well.

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In these uncertain times, safe havens seem to have won the vote more than ever. First and foremost, painting: the paintings of Kinshasa Hilary Balu left very quickly at Magnin-A, as well as those of Cecilia Granara at Exo Exo; just out of the Beaux-Arts in Paris, Simon Martin made sold out from the first hour at Jousse entreprise. Few of the merchants took the risk of a staged stand: we salute all the more Catherine Issert and her hanging which showed double around the two sofas of John Armleder, the full tapestry of Thomas Bayrle at the Berlin Neugerriemschneider , or the stone and metal garden of the young Romanian Nona Inescu, at SpazioA. Because daring did not necessarily pay off, nor even the quality: one can be surprised in particular that the marvelous containment drawings by Laura Lamiel, sold at low prices at Marcelle Alix, did not attract much attention.

“Substantial sales”

Most of the large galleries, however, do not hide their satisfaction. Taking advantage of the enthusiasm of collectors and foundations for the Supports / Surfaces movement, Ceysson & Bénétière sold more than fifty works between 15,000 and 150,000 euros. The Lelong gallery also welcomes “Consistent sales across all [ses] artists, to loyal collectors, but also to young and new amateurs interested in the work of female artists like Etel Adnan or Kiki Smith ”.

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