Female artists decolonizing the male scene
The elles@centrepompidou exhibit, which took place in 2009 at the Pompidou Center, featured a selection of 350 works by 150 female artists from the 20th and 21st centuries. This initiated a rewriting of art history which continues to date, particularly through numerous curatorial projects and fairs, which are generally the market’s thermometer.
Frieze Talks explores the role of autobiography in art and society, at a time when the personal experience is increasingly public through various female artists : Nan Goldin, Kemang Wa Lehulere or Laurie Anderson…
The FIAC showcased the pœt and plastic artist Etel Adnan with the reading of her texts by actress Sophie Bourel, as well as the galleries exhibiting female artists such as Esther Ferrer and Sanja Ivekovic’s duo show at espaivisor (general sector). The presence of Dorothy Iannone is also noteworthy, with The Movie People (2009-2014), which presents a series of human-sized cut figures, accompanied by texts on unconditional love and sacrifices for loved ones. This series is co-produced by the Serpentine Galleries, in collaboration with the Mona Bismarck American Center, Air Paris and Peres Projects.
Paris Photo confirms this trend by partnering with the Ministry of Culture on a dedicated course designed by Fannie Escoulen as a breadcrumb trail dating back to the history of photography : 100 images by 100 female photographers. There are still many historical rediscoveries to be made : Margaret Watkins, known for her domestic still lifes and her pioneering work in advertising; Lucia Moholy-Nagy and Irene Bayer who document the Bauhaus; Annette Barna’s smashed dolls... Feminist trailblazing is significant : Arlene Gottfried, Renate Bertlmann, Joan Lyons, Penny Slinger... are joined by the new generation, Lisa Sartorio, Wiame Haddad, Leah Boususovich or Hilla Kurki.
Sex, gender & transgender towards fluidity - cruising
In 2017 Frieze ran Sex Work : Feminist Art & Radical Politics, conceived by Alison Gingeras, which put forward women artists with a radical political agency; while the programs around the 2018 FIAC went further on issues such as gender or contemporary practices like Cruising, under the eye of young curators Charles Teyssou and Pierre-Alexandre Mateos. At Queer Thoughts in the Lafayette sector, the transgender artistic duo Puppies Puppies & David Rappeneau, took the viewer into the intimacy of a bathroom; At Arcadia Missa in the Lafayette area, Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings’ duo show presented a video installation recreating the atmosphere of a gay club in Blackpool, UK, formerly a town renowned for its gay tourism.
On Paris Photo, and under the supervision of curator and art critic Martha Kirszenbaum (curator of the French pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2019), the Curiosa sector discusses the theme of eroticism by questioning the fantasized body and issues of gender.
Activism and commitment, be it environmental, social, political, is bringing an air of change. During the FIAC, the Place Vendôme was covered by sea stars, reflecting concerns on global warming; the work was realized by the artistic duo Elmgreen & Dragset (with the support of FIAC’s partner, the Swiss bank Mirabeau). Concomitantly, the Whitechapel Gallery exhibited their work in London, as part of Frieze. For Paris Photo, the Mor Charpentier gallery exhibited Teresa Margolles’s photographs of hundreds of posters of missing women on the border between Mexico and the United States.
In Frieze, “Sex Work : Radical Politics and Feminist Art” in 2017 gave way to Social Work, with eight female artists whose artistic practice is inseparable from their political activism.
Precarious and modular architecture has been a recurring theme at FIAC for the last three years. For 2018, the Concorde became a gathering place of contemporary architectural structures by Kengo Kuma, Claude Parent, Jean Maneval...