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A Designer's Eye: FIAC Contemporary Art Fair, Paris

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This year the FIAC contemporary art fair unfolded under the brilliant glass canopy of the Grand Palais accompanied by a series of installations throughout Paris. Several themes caught my eye:

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A look at FIAC Contemporary Art Fair (Paris)
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Creatures
Often sexualized or taxidermied animals and humanesque figures generously populated the fair. The creatures have a tendency to be cloaked in one way or another and range from silly to chimerical to vaguely ominous. In an amusing twist on traditional ink-on-silk painting, Yang Jiechang peoples the grassy, sloping banks of a pond rimmed by lily pads and gnarled trees, with a series of cross-species couples enjoying a good fuck. In the foreground a monkey mounts a ram, a deer is riding a boar and something, whose tail peeks out from behind a rock, is having its way with the only human in the scene (a woman).

Small Things Become Big Things
A number of pieces use little items, from dead flies, dice and dollar bills, to bits of solar cells and sawed-off high heels, in vast repetition to become the surface or embodiment of some other object or idea. A little more subtle than the others, Moataz Nasr's delicate geographic assembly of 12,800 matches (unburned) breathes with a powerful political (or is it an apocalyptic?) energy.

Fluorescents
A slew of works in neon, predictably including pieces by Dan Flavin, veer into the very-expected with a series of minimalist geometries and written messages, but move towards more interesting ground with a Frank Stella conjured in fluorescent tubes by Bertrand Lavier, and are saved by a touch of whimsy in the form of Stéphane Vigny's exaggerated wall sconces.