A PARIS DERIVE: hors les murs at FIAC
by Natalie Hegert
There are a couple of ways to approach art fairs: one could subscribe to a strict itinerary of events, talks, exhibitions, and parties, planning out every moment in an attempt to experience as much, meet as many people, drink as many free drinks and see as much art as possible during that relatively brief moment in a city when every art space, gallery, and arts organization seems to go into hyperdrive. Or, one could simply let go and go with the flow. There are benefits to both, but I should remind you that Paris is one city that encourages a degree of aimlessness, of drifting, of letting the hours go.
In the 1950s the nineteen-year-old Lettrist Ivan Chtcheglov, writing in a state of Dada-disenchanted Surrealist hangover, formulated a theory for a new way to approach the city, a “New Urbanism.” Primarily a critique of architecture, his short essay advocated an endless dérive, a continuous drifting through the city as a revolutionary tool of direct experience and fulfillment of desires, a basis for an entirely new civilization. Successors brought the dérive into practice—at its most basic, it was a sort of playful drunken wandering through the city. FIAC seems to be an excellent opportunity for such disorientation, so in the spirit of Chtcheglov’s utopian construct and the facility of Paris’s winding streets for such endeavors, I offer a sort of hors les murs game to play, hopefully not as dismally quotidian as a scavenger hunt, but something of the sort...
EAST SIDE: a breath of fresh air in Belleville
by James Thompson
There is a lot of talk that things are changing in Paris, and it seems to be change in both directions. In one way we have big international galleries opening monumental spaces outside of the city, and in the other there's a collection of smaller galleries opening in the eastern arrondissements, centred around Belleville. Both movements seem to indicate an important shift, and will perhaps usher in a new period in the artistic life of the city. Could this be the moment when the East Side of Paris comes alive?
On the eve of FIAC I asked the directors of three of the most significant galleries in the area for their thoughts...