Fiac: The art fair illuminating the city of light
The 2016 edition of one of Paris's premier cultural events promises to set a new bar for unusual work exhibited in unexpected places
The marquees in London's Regent's Park may have been dismantled and put away until next year, but those feeling despondent post-Frieze needn't look too far for their next cultural fix.
This week sees the return of Paris's International Contemporary Art Fair - Fiac, as it's more commonly known. Now in its 43rd edition, it runs from 20 to 23 October, with a series of exhibitions, talks and events taking place across the city.
Fiac 2016 welcomes more than 180 galleries, including 42 first-time exhibitors, from 27 countries. The resplendent Grand Palais, the fair's long-term home, will see the launch of a new space, entitled Salon Jean Perrin, showcasing work by late 20th-century artists. Across the way is the Petit Palais, host to On Site, which features 40 exciting sculptures and installations. Director Jennifer Flay describes it as Fiac "reinventing its footprints in the Parisian landscape".
On Site also extends to Avenue Winston Churchill – the street separating the two palais – in a move that recreates the original esplanade of the 1900 World Fair. Among the specially commissioned work for it is a piece by Jacques Villegle. Already accustomed to using the streets of Paris as his canvas, the 90-year-old multimedia artist spells out in large letters on the ground the words of philosopher Henri Michaux: "Art is what helps draw us out of inertia."
Another initiative that takes place al fresco is the Hors les Murs programme. Now in its tenth year, Hors les Murs (literally "outside the walls") will display large-scale contemporary works, installations and sound pieces in three of Paris's most iconic locations: the Tuileries Garden, Musee Delacroix and Place Vendome.
One of Fiac's most anticipated events is the inaugural Performance Festival, staged in association with the Louvre. It uses the museum's spacious courtyards to "bring contemporary art into dialogue with music, dance and poetry" through a series of live events.
Kicking off the proceedings on 17 October – three days before Fiac's official launch – is a "nomadic performance" from Moroccan dancer and choreographer Bouchra Ouizguen. Another highlight is a set from artist and drummer Nicolas Fenouillat, who will perform a unique rendition of Black Sabbath's Iron Man while wearing a full suit of armour.
Dynamic and diverse, Fiac 2016 promises to be quite the artistic force majeure.
Fiac 2016, 20-23 October; fiac.com/paris/en