25 Oct 2014 • Art
Review: Thursday and Friday at FIAC 2014
The intricate, pale green atrium of the Grand Palais offers a breathing space to FIAC’s exhibits and activities that last week’s Frieze seemed to lack, and those galleries making a second fair appearance in one week are doing so with vigour. After the first day, surreal video works, figure-based collage, and shiny, shiny surfaces seem to be emerging as just a few of the dominant trends. It’s a party in there, really.
Several photographic and video works place the body – or rather parts of it – in a pastel-coloured dream world. Take Tony Oursler’s video projections of jittering eyeballs onto large polystyrene balls at Galerie Hans Mayer: as the apparently intoxicated owners squeeze and widen their peepers, rave music plays nearby. The distinct purple-pink haze makes the spheres seem oddly tender and likeable, much like a baby monster might do. The soft tones contradict the surrealism and grotesqueness of these estranged body parts in the same way that Enrique Ramírez’s ‘El Diablo’ (2011) at Michel Rein – a photograph of yellow-shirted man with his head obscured by a mask, standing in the glow of a wonderful sunrise on what looks like the Bolivian salt flats - would be deeply uncomfortable were the colours not so peaceful.
There’s no lack of festive sparkle here, if you’re getting excited about the ol’ Christmas season (you shouldn’t be, yet). Olafur Eliasson’s solo stand for neugerriemscneider is the first you’ll come to upon your entrance to the fair, and it’s adorned with dazzling, sandpaper-like walls and crystal balls encased in black geometric shells. The cumulative effect of these silent, glittering shapes seems, oddly, to be an evocation of language: the silent truths of mathematics combined with science-fiction and myth, as the shapes gently swing (as in ‘The new planet’, 2013) or are ominously inanimate (‘The eighteen moons in penumbra’, 2014) and all seem to bring a message from the future. Elsewhere, John M. Armleder folds glitter into his paint to produce ‘Sorbier’ (2014) in a way that renders the canvas a flattened impression of a precious stone, close as the colours are to earthy reds and oranges or briny blues. Over at Air de Paris’ stand, Rob Pruitt has applied glitter to his painted canvases in delicate patterns depicting bamboo, lotus flowers and tiny animals. Of the three, this is the only work that has a kick of kitsch about it: the gradient greys of the background mimicking the appearance of velour in a slightly unpleasant manner.
Collage works and those using appropriated images are focused on figures, either attempting to memorialize and remember those that might not be otherwise (Christian Boltanski at Marian Goodman) or totally prohibit any instinct for empathy by disguising faces, covering bodies, and in some cases - such as Chaya Ruckin’s ‘Whole Hug’ (2013) - decapitating the photographed subjects and leaving the space where their heads would have been totally clean and white.
Of course, this just scratches the surface of the multitude of mediums and styles inside, and there's plenty more to see over the weekend. To stay up to date, follow our converage on Instagram and Twitter.
FIAC runs at the Grand Palais in Paris until 26th October