by James Thompson
Listen, there is no way around it. In the article that follows I'm going to be forced to wield sweeping generalisations, peddle the occasional stereotype, and generally piss off the people of my adopted home. However. It needs to be done. It's like one of those difficult talks that normally take place in the kitchen and are basically painful for one party. Home truths might be what we are dealing with here. I would also like to say that this is not a negative article and I don't want anyone to get needlessly defensive about its contents; indeed, this type of quick-to-offend pride might be one of the problems and I suggest that this is indicative that deep deep down in your hearts you know that there is a kernel of truth in what is being said. It is time to face that kernel, look to the positives and move forward.
Caveat in place, here we go.
Paris, and France in general, is not a significant cultural centre. The rest of the world does not look to Paris for its cultural, and specifically artistic, cues. It is most definitely not 'the centre of the cultural world'. It doesn't have the frantic internationalism of London, the raw energy of Berlin, or the art market shares of New York or Hong Kong. It is what it is, which is in fact something of a backwater. It is urbane, luxurious, conservative and staid. It is the place where tourists of the world come to take pictures...
INTERNATIONAL OFFERINGS AT FIAC 2012
by Charlotte Jansen
FIAC is open to galleries from around the world, yet most of the stands are, inevitably, to be taken up by galleries already based in the capital itself, if not in nearby francophone nations (as James Thompson will tell you, that tendency may have to do with some facets of the French character). Whether the French will be receptive or not to the international offerings at this year’s fair – there is certainly scope to travel at FIAC.
When approaching the fair as many shall do, as a gallery-goer, rather than a trader, surely one of the triumphs of such gatherings of contemporary art from around the world is the chance to see artists and galleries from unusual and exotic climes. Though their imperative may still be commercial, their usual programme diluted for European tastes, and the artists they bring may be names that we are accustomed to seeing, for visitors who reside in the capital or in neighboring European cities, this is the chance to crack open the doors onto new territories...