Perusing Paris: Excitement beyond the Autumn Art Fair

07 Oct 2022

Paris is no stranger to being the centre of attention, and the French city will be the art world’s focus as it hosts the first-ever Art Basel fair Paris+.

Paris+ par Art Basel is an important fixture in the art world's calendar, but enriching programming around the city will provide further excitement for art enthusiasts.

Le Défenseur du Temps
Le Défenseur du Temps
"Parapivot" by Alicja Kwade on the Met Rooftop. Photo: Regan Vercruysse
"Parapivot" by Alicja Kwade on the Met Rooftop. Photo: Regan Vercruysse

Fair-goers will find an interesting installation in the already captivating cultural centre, Espace Niemeyer. This site will be home to new work from Andreas Angelidikas, the Greek “Architect who doesn’t build,” but creates reflections of urban culture instead. He presents his most progressive installation yet, titled Center for the Critical Appreciation of Antiquity. The Audemars Piguet-commissioned project sees the cultural centre filled with sculptures, paintings, and collages that draw inspiration from the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Angelidikas' hometown of Athens.

Cyprien Gaillard also presents work that serves as a reflection of human nature this autumn. Art spaces Palais de Tokyo and Lafayette Anticipations each host a chapter of the exhibition by the highly-acclaimed French artist. His project Humpty/Dumpty speaks to the compulsion of humans to resist degradation processes as Paris repairs monuments in preparation for the 2024 Olympics. Gaillard, along with other invited artists, presents work never-before-seen in France for the Humpty chapter at Palais de Tokyo, and he breathes new life into a 1979 automaton sculpture that has not moved since 2003 for the Dumpty chapter at Lafayette Exhibitions.

The Richelieu branch of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France is one of the recent completions among Paris' widespread renovations before the upcoming Olympic Games. After twelve years of renovations, the famed library has reopened its doors to the public. Visitors can discover the new BnF Museum, completely renovated Marazin Gallery, National Institute of Art History and more during the 300th anniversary of the site.

While many sites are opening or preparing to open before 2024, the Tuileries Tunnel will eventually be closed as they prepare to host the Olympic Games. For now, the tunnel is a centre for street art unencumbered by motorised traffic. With the city's support, a select group of European artists have lined the walls of the 860-metre pedestrian tunnel with monumental frescoes. Additions from uninvited artists have since joined the officially commissioned works to create a walk of art unlike anything on view at Paris+.

Place Vendôme is a landmark of high visibility compared to the Tuileries Tunnel and will feature an installation from a much more established artist in Alicja Kwade. Au cours des Mondes, Kwade’s largest installation to date, will be in the historic Parisian square during the fair dates. This installation and Omer Fast’s Karla, showing at Chapelle des Petits-Augustins, are two of the ambitious Paris+ commissions at landmarks across the city. These installations belong to the Sites sector of the fair that replaces FIAC's Hors les Murs, which served a similar purpose.

While the Grand Palais Éphémère is certain to be the point of focus for fair attendees, interesting openings around Paris ensure that inspiring art exists far beyond the main site of the fair.

—Words by Gideon Fortune