Top 5 Shows in Paris

Paris+ par Art Basel Edition

Oh how we love Paris in October. It’s prime sweater weather, the breeze carries the smell of freshly-baked pastries all across town, and, of course, the art fair is back in full swing. This year Art Basel expands its hold on the global art market, launching Paris+ par Art Basel at the Grand Palais Éphémère. Lots to see there, so don’t miss out if you are reading this before October 23rd. And like any big art fair week, the city’s galleries put on their best shows.

While we aren’t expanding our coverage to Paris fully yet, we hope this is a tease for our future plans to be in French capital more regularly. In the meantime, we’ve also got a special guide just for the 7th Arrondissement here. View it as a guide to places near Art Basel for when you need a breather (or a baguette) but don’t want to stray too far.

Keep an eye out for our Lyon Biennale guide coming out very, very soon.

Cyprien Gaillard at Lafayette Anticipations

Here’s one to add to your French phrasebook: Le temps file – time flies. Cyprien Gaillard’s latest work centers on an automaton clock that has been installed in Paris since 1979 but defunct since 2003. The clock will be restored and installed back in its original location at the end of the exhibition. This action is a metaphor for how humans are locked in a constant struggle against our own ticking hours – fighting to rid traces of ruin and decay. The show, titled Humpty / Dumpty, takes place across two venues: the exhibition space of the Galeries Lafayette, where you’ll find the clock itself, and the Palais de Tokyo, where a diverse collection of pieces by several artists tackle time-related issues involving bodies, war, and the environment.

Lafayette Anticipations Info | Palais de Tokyo Info

Majd Abdel Hamid at gb agency

This show is all about a single, dark day. 800 meters and a corridor seeks to capture the experience of August 4, 2020, when a horrific explosion tore apart Beirut. Hamid’s work unfolds in two parts, with each “final” work supplemented by a wealth of material documenting its creation. The first focuses on thread, with its potent connotations of hospital stitches and the Greek concept of fate. The second looks at personal spaces, especially the apartments in which Hamid and his friends took shelter during that tragic day. Hamid’s skillful mingling of textiles, photographs, and drawings conveys the effort necessary to distill so much emotion, memory, and trauma into a single work. The result is profoundly moving.

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Haegue Yang at Chantal Crousel

Compared to paint and marble, paper can seem like one of art’s flimsier materials. But in the right hands, it can be a mighty thing. Haegue Yang has taken particular interest in a traditional Korean paper called hanji, which comes from mulberry trees. She works the hanji into kaleidoscopic collages, which evoke both Rorschach tests and children’s handicrafts (if you’ve ever cut out a paper snowflake, you’ll see it right away). The longer you look, the more you appreciate the similarities between paper and the human brain: both are exceedingly delicate and infinitely malleable, yet still possess great strength and possibility. Haegue shows her sculptures alongside the collages, including one that emits sounds as you pass by. It’s a playful touch, adding an extra dose of character to an already lively show.

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Robert Longo at Thaddaeus Ropac

Robert Longo’s huge charcoal drawings fill Ropac’s luminous showroom with awe and dread. Looking to a generation of painters who worked in post-war Europe — among them Dubuffet, Gorky, and Lassnig — Longo both pays homage and reiterates one of his discipline’s perennial questions: how can we use art to make sense of war, destruction, and trauma? Sadly, it’s as pressing today as it was in 1945. Longo’s drawings — in their iconic hyperrealistic black and white — are fraught and frantic. They’re often downright troubling. But by weaving history and modernity together, Longo seems to suggest a revolutionary impulse that will help us see our world in a brighter light.

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Matthew Lutz-Kinoy at Kamel Mennour

There are some exhibitions that put a smile on your face the instant you walk through the door. This is one of them. Matthew Lutz-Kinoy has delved into the universe of Bernard Leach, a famous English potter who, through a friendship with his Japanese colleague Shōji Hamada, helped revolutionize the art of ceramics. Lutz-Kinoy, whose paintings and plates glow with the warm palette of Pompeiian frescoes, charms swishes and swirls into the forms of birds, trees, and vases. The show is a testament to the soft power of an expertly turned bowl, and a refreshing reminder that beauty takes patience, and a willingness to look beyond borders.

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