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FIAC 2009

J.Christian Guerrero writing for VINGT paris

With each season of contemporary art fairs in Paris, a window opens for us to take the temperature of the 'state of the art', as it were, in aesthetic consciousness and conscience. Last year's Show-Off expo clearly demonstrated that although there is always something inherently appreciable about honestly bleak representations of truly dire circumstances, the results of such testing can be less than encouraging.The sum total of the themes preoccupying the vast majority of new works on display at this year's FIAC, however, confidently indicated that present concerns have successfully moved out of last year's madly over-decorated, four-cornered cell of youth, money, death and design into a far more fertile space of investigation. This has been encompassed by predominant and often blending interests in hum/animality, architecture, dreams and information control.

 In 1804, the obscure French revolutionary philosopher, Destutt de Tracy, asserted with bold clarity that "ideology is a part of zoology". Very many of the works which addressed these four operant themes (often in combination) curiously seemed to focus on what such a still provocatively unfathomed assertion might mean in the context of the present day. Last year's broadsheeting of the ideological imaginary concentrated almost fetishistically on the textures of the bars enclosing various contingencies of semiotic exchange. By contrast, this year's interests in the idea of the human as a self-sanctifying type of animal and our modes of nesting and establishing the economies of our spaces as simultaneously private and public Rachel Whiteread - Ghost - Ghost II were unambiguously freer in their ranges and modes of expression and far less melancholic in tone, if only rarely shying away from how deeply problematic such dynamics always remain.

That at least three works on display were comprised of various takes on unhinged doors Rachel Whiteread - In OUT-IIindicates clearly that the question of negotiating the thresholds between personal and public domains - or taking the ever both necessary and impossible 'pas au-dela', as Maurice Blanchot once ingeniously phrased it - has become a matter that the contemporary imagination can no longer afford to ignore or stifle. Such disclosures about our modes of self-enclosure as being inherently problematic give meaning to the floor of the unconscious  that constitutes the abyssal basis of the spaces we inhabit on a quotidian level and renders especially
important a new attempt to focus upon the ways in which we exchange information across and throughout these spaces.

Although this present assessment can only briefly recap the essential themes which tied together the inherently historical logic of the concerns demonstrated at this year's FIAC as occupying contemporary aesthetic consciousness, the way in which these concerns are consistently providing an ongoing undercurrent to the contemporary art scene will be examined in an article to follow soon on how the works of Thomas Suire currently on display at Grace Teshima's Montmartre gallery through November 1 cover precisely the same terrain in ways as conceptually rich as they are acerbically witty.

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