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Art Market

Around the galleries – Art Basel lands in Paris, plus other highlights

26 September 2022

From the October 2022 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.


‘It would be pretentious of us to say that we’re suddenly bringing the light to Paris,’ says Clément Delépine, director of Paris+ par Art Basel – though it’s fair to add that, back in January, the fair did generate rather a lot of heat in the French capital, with the announcement that Art Basel’s owners MCH Group had taken over the slot usually reserved for the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain (FIAC) at the Grand Palais this month (20–23 October). This came as a surprise to FIAC, which had earned a reputation as the grand dame of Parisian fairs, having been operating since 1974. But now, the Swiss mega-fair is moving in to the Grand Palais Éphémère.

Delépine is quick to point to continuities. ‘Our predecessors,’ as he describes FIAC, ‘developed many interesting ideas,’ some of which have been retained and rebranded. ‘Murals’, for instance, the off-site programme that brings large-scale works to the Jardins des Tuileries and other Parisian landmarks, becomes ‘Sites’. And 60 of the 165 galleries taking part have spaces in Paris, allaying fears that FIAC’s strong showing of French dealers would not be replicated. But there have certainly been changes – not least the fact that some 73 exhibitors who showed at FIAC in 2019 or 2021 are not included here, whether through rejection or deciding not to apply. Among them are well-established Parisian spaces such as Laurent Godin and Galerie Mitterrand; perhaps they and others will make a comeback in 2024, when the €500m renovations to the Grand Palais are complete and the fair will have an estimated 50 per cent greater capacity.

The Free One (2022), Ben Sledsens. Tim Van Laere Gallery at Paris+ par Art Basel

The Free One (2022), Ben Sledsens. Tim Van Laere Gallery at Paris+ par Art Basel

Those who did make the cut include the usual faces – Zwirner, Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth – as well as those making their Art Basel debuts. Cécile Fakhoury, the Abidjan-based gallery that opened a permanent outpost in Paris last year, presents a solo presentation of paintings by the Ivorian-born, Benin-based artist Roméo Mivekannin – powerful adaptations of figures from the works of Jean-Léon Gérôme and other Orientalist painters. Other highlights among this year’s newcomers include, at the booth of Antwerp gallery Tim Van Laere, one of young Belgian painter Ben Sledsens’ moody-blue forest scenes.

Bachi-Bouzouk, d'après Jean-Léon Gérôme (2022), Roméo Mivekannin. Photo: © Gregory Copitet; courtesy Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Dakar, Paris)

Bachi-Bouzouk, d’après Jean-Léon Gérôme (2022), Roméo Mivekannin. Photo: © Gregory Copitet; courtesy Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Dakar, Paris)

The other challenge that faces Paris+ is how to distinguish itself, in the eyes of inter- national collectors, from its parent 300 miles to the south-east. As well as the city-spanning ‘Sites’ programme, the new fair hopes to bring new collectors into the fold by incorporating into the fair’s programming an appeal to other Parisian creative industries, such as cinema and fashion. There is a broader curatorial focus on local history – particularly in the talks programmes, which included events focusing on everything from the figure of the dandy to the history of public toilets in Paris. And besides, Delépine suggests that the inherent differences of the two cities should make any fears of any identikit fair redundant from the start. ‘In Basel, in June, the whole city is attuned to the rhythm of the fair. In Paris, it’s a distraction. We want to insist that we’re coming from a place of humility. This is really going to be a challenge for us.’

Paris+ par Art Basel is at the Grand Palais Éphémère, Paris, from 20–23 October.

Gallery highlights

Mettere al Mondo il Mondo
4 October–23 December
Thomas Dane Gallery, Naples

Translating roughly as ‘giving birth to the world’, the title of this show was the watch- word of Alighiero Boetti, encapsulating the way in which he made use of found objects in his work to express something entirely new. The exhibition explores the influence of Boetti and other members of the Arte Povera movement on contemporary artists who have made use of readymades, among them Abbas Akhavan, Tacita Dean and Betye Saar.

Evaristo Baschenis (1617–1677): The Triumph of Musical Instruments in 17th-Century Painting
6 October–10 December
Galerie Canesso, Paris

Evaristo Baschenis was renowned in Northern Italy during his lifetime for his immaculately rendered still lifes starring harps, lutes, vio- lins, spinets and other instruments. Organised in collaboration with the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo and the Museo Teatrale alla Scala in Milan, this show presents nine of his paintings alongside a selection of period instruments.

Harp, Italian guitar (chitarrino), lute-theorbo, violin and bow, score, books, inkwell, quill, statuette, green curtain (c. 1660), Evaristo Baschenis. Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

Harp, Italian guitar (chitarrino), lute-theorbo, violin and bow, score, books, inkwell, quill, statuette, green curtain (c. 1660), Evaristo Baschenis. Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

Victor Vasarely: Einstein in the Sky with Diamonds
12 October–16 December
Mazzoleni, London

The Hungarian painter known as the grandfather of Op Art was fascinated by the theories of Einstein and sought to translate them into ‘plastic equivalents’ on the canvas. His large-scale painting, Einstein-Ker (1976), is the focal point of this exhibition, and demonstrates his belief that the alternation of what he called ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ elements could express the existence of parallel universes.

Barcelona – Paris, 1860–1936: A Journey To Modernity
6 October–18 November
Colnaghi, London

Picasso was by no means the first or the last modernist to venture from Barcelona to Paris. A collaboration between Colnaghi and the Bar- celona galleries Sala Parés and Artur Ramon, this ambitious survey presents work by no fewer than 28 artists, among them Ramón Casas and Isidre Nonell, who infused the rapidly shifting aesthetics of the belle époque with Spanish painting traditions.

Fair in focus

1–54 Contemporary African Art Fair
13–16 October
Somerset House, London

The annual sculptural installation staged in the courtyard of William Chambers’ neoclassical Somerset House is always among the highlights of this intimate fair – and mark- ing its 10th anniversary, this year’s promises to be one of the best yet. Grada Kilomba’s O Barco/The Boat is a 32-metre-long installa- tion comprising 140 blocks of wood, set out in the shape of the lower hold of a historical slave ship and inscribed with poems in six different languages. Also incorporating live performance, with music and dance, it is the Portuguese artist’s most ambitious work to date, and was shown to acclaim in Lisbon last year.

Highpoint Kitchen Isaac Zavale

Highpoint Kitchen (2022), Isaac Zavale. Kalashnikovv Gallery at 1–54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Inside Somerset House, the fair returns with its usual mix of galleries from Africa, Europe, America and beyond, showing both established and emerging artists from Africa and its diaspora. Works by the likes of Ibrahim El-Salahi, Hassan Hajjaj and Zanele Muholi are on display. Look out, too, for Isaac Zavale’s wonderfully observed street scenes, depicting everyday life in his native Mozambique in vivid acrylics.

From the October 2022 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here