Fair  October 20, 2023  Paul Laster

10 Highlights from Art Basel in Paris

Courtesy the artist and Semiose, Paris

Oli Epp, Aspirin, 2023. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 78 3/4 × 70 7/8 inches (200 × 180 cm). 

One of the international hotspots for art right now, Paris has seen its contemporary gallery scene grow exponentially over the past few years, with such art world powerhouses as Galleria Continua, Hauser & Wirth, Lévy Gorvy Dayan, Modern Art, Esther Schipper, Mendes Wood and David Zwirner opening branches in the city. It’s no wonder that Art Basel selected the City of Light to stage Paris+ par Art Basel, which opens its doors for its second edition October 20.

Presenting 154 leading galleries from 33 countries and territories—including 60 with an exhibition space in France—Paris+ (pronounced "Paree ploos") opened to a large crowd of critics, curators, collectors and international VIPs on October 18 at the Grand Palais Éphémère, where it will be on view to the public through October 22, 2023.

Image: © 2021-2023 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul and Dubai

Takashi Murakami, Together with the Flower Parent and Child, 2021-
2023. Platinum leaf on FRP, wooden pedestal. Sculpture: 184.9 x 123.1 x 59.1 cm, Pedestal: 12 x 90 x 90 cm. 

“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that there is arguably no other city worldwide that captures the minds and imagination of artists and lovers of art more than Paris,” Art Basel CEO Noah Horowitz told Art & Object. “This dynamism, however, is also materially reflected in France’s growing significance in the international art market. France today is the fourth largest market in the world and represents full half of the trade in the European Union. This is reflected in the remarkable continued growth of the local gallery scene and the strong demand globally for artists living and practicing in France.”

Perrotin, exhibiting a fantastic new figurative flower sculpture by Takashi Murakami at the front of its booth, and Gagosian, displaying a new, ironic screen-printed painting by Urs Fischer on its outer wall, are among the blue-chip exhibitors in the Galleries section, where visitors got their first look at the art the bustling fair. 

Perrotin is presenting Murakami’s iconic Together with the Flower Parent and Child, a platinum-leaf-covered sculpture of a tall, smiling flower figure with an equally happy child-like character at its side, with mirrors behind the sculpture to highlight its dazzling surface and seductive forms. Urs Fischer’s masterful work, Eternity, located a couple of aisles away, offers an enlarged vintage black-and-white image of a couple embracing, flipped on its side and overlaid with an uncooked strip of bacon, which seems to be ironically colorizing the lower half of the picture from the heated action being portrayed.

Courtesy the artist and Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York

Karla Knight, Little Wheel 1, 2022. Flashe, acrylic marker, pencil, and embroidery on cotton. 34 x 33 inches (86 x 83 cm). 

French artist Prune Nourry references Jean-Baptiste Lully’s baroque opera Atys, in which the protagonist is transformed into a tree, with her Mini Atys bronze sculpture, recently cast from root- and vine-like ropes, on view at Templon, while Jean-Michel Othoniel, who was just named Knight of the Legion of Honor—France’s highest public decoration—by President Macron, is showing one of his suspended mirrored glass and stainless-steel Noeud Sauvage (Wild Knot) sculptures, marvelously inspired by Mexican mathematician Aubin Arroyo’s research into knots and reflection theory, at Kukje gallery.

Zeno X—a legendary Antwerp-based gallery, which is doing its last art fair before closing this year after an impressive 42-year run—has an exceptional early Marlene Dumas painting of a female nude, titled Candle Light, which is from a series of works that she famously made after visiting nightclubs in the Red Light District of Amsterdam with Dutch photographer and filmmaker Anton Corbijn in 2000.

Image: Courtesy Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois, Paris and New York

Evelyne Axell, La Sous-Préfete aux champs, 1967. Oil on canvas and cut panel. 59.1 x 64.6 x 2 inches (150 x 164 x 5 cm). 

And Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois goes further back in history to the Pop Art and Nouvelle Realist era to offer a 1967 assemblage painting—La Sous-Préfete aux champs (The Sub-Prefect in the fields)—of a semi-nude figure reclining in a grassy realm by Evelyne Axell, a little-known Belgian painter and protégé of René Magritte who died at age 37 in 1972 but has more recently gained renewed interest for her erotically charged work.

Karla Knight has the whole back wall of Andrew Edlin Gallery’s booth for a group of her diagrammatic, pseudo-scientific abstractions, which employ a personal hieroglyphic vocabulary, that are fascinatingly drawn, painted and embroidered on recycled materials. Her recent Little Wheel 1 tapestry is part of her new Universal Remote series, which feature 1950s television-like forms that can be read as receiver screens for communicating with distant realms. Nearby, Oli Epp energetically occupies the outer wall of Semiose’s booth with his larger-than-life portrayal of a glammed up, semi-abstract woman in his latest Post-Digital Pop painting, Aspirin.

Urs Fischer, Eternity, 2023. Aluminum panel, aluminum honeycomb, polyurethane adhesive, epoxy primer, gesso, solvent-based screen printing paint, and water-based screen printing paint. 72 x 96 inches (182.9 x 243.8 cm). © Urs Fischer. Courtesy the artist and Gagosian
© Urs Fischer. Courtesy the artist and Gagosian

Urs Fischer, Eternity, 2023. Aluminum panel, aluminum honeycomb, polyurethane adhesive, epoxy primer, gesso, solvent-based screen printing paint, and water-based screen printing paint. 72 x 96 inches (182.9 x 243.8 cm). 

Jean-Michel Othoniel, Noeud Sauvage (Wild Knot), 2023. Mirrored Glass, Stainless Steel. 39.4 x 39.4 x 39.4 inches (100 x 100 x 100 cm). Courtesy the artist and Kukje Gallery, Seoul
Courtesy the artist and Kukje Gallery, Seoul

Jean-Michel Othoniel, Noeud Sauvage (Wild Knot), 2023. Mirrored Glass, Stainless Steel. 39.4 x 39.4 x 39.4 inches (100 x 100 x 100 cm). 

Prune Nourry, Mini Atys, 2023. Bronze, rope-effect painting. 35.4 x 24.8 x 22.4 inches (90 x 63 x 57 cm). Edition of 5 + 2 AP. Courtesy the artist and Templon, Paris, Brussels and New York
Courtesy the artist and Templon, Paris, Brussels and New York

Prune Nourry, Mini Atys, 2023. Bronze, rope-effect painting. 35.4 x 24.8 x 22.4 inches (90 x 63 x 57 cm). Edition of 5 + 2 AP. 

Marlene Dumas, Candle Light, 2000. Oil on canvas. 19 11/16 x 15 3/4 inches (50 x 40 cm). Photo: Felix Tirry. Courtesy the artist and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
Courtesy the artist and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

Marlene Dumas, Candle Light, 2000. Oil on canvas. 19 11/16 x 15 3/4 inches (50 x 40 cm). Photo: Felix Tirry. 

Lu Yang, DOKU-Animal, 2022. Single channel HD digital video, 4.6 minutes. Edition 1/6. Courtesy the artist and Bank, Shanghai
Courtesy of the artist and Bank, Shanghai

Lu Yang, DOKU-Animal, 2022. Single channel HD digital video, 4.6 minutes. Edition 1/6. 

Evelyne Axell, La Sous-Préfete aux champs, 1967. Oil on canvas and cut panel. 59.1 x 64.6 x 2 inches (150 x 164 x 5 cm). Courtesy Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois, Paris and New York
Courtesy Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois, Paris and New York

Evelyne Axell, La Sous-Préfete aux champs, 1967. Oil on canvas and cut panel. 59.1 x 64.6 x 2 inches (150 x 164 x 5 cm). 

Charlotte Dualé, Mismade (Yellow), 2023. Glazed ceramic, light bulb, electric cable. 17.7 x 20.1 x 7.1 inches (45.0 x 51.0 x 18.0 cm). Courtesy Parliament, Paris
Courtesy Parliament, Paris

Charlotte Dualé, Mismade (Yellow), 2023. Glazed ceramic, light bulb, electric cable. 17.7 x 20.1 x 7.1 inches (45.0 x 51.0 x 18.0 cm). 

Oli Epp, Aspirin, 2023. Oil and acrylic on canvas. Courtesy the artist and Semiose, Paris
Courtesy the artist and Semiose, Paris

Oli Epp, Aspirin, 2023. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 78 3/4 × 70 7/8 inches (200 × 180 cm). 

Takashi Murakami, Together with the Flower Parent and Child, 2021- 2023. Platinum leaf on FRP, wooden pedestal. Sculpture: 184.9 x 123.1 x 59.1 cm, Pedestal: 12 x 90 x 90 cm. © 2021-2023 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul and Dubai
© 2021-2023 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul and Dubai

Takashi Murakami, Together with the Flower Parent and Child, 2021-
2023. Platinum leaf on FRP, wooden pedestal. Sculpture: 184.9 x 123.1 x 59.1 cm, Pedestal: 12 x 90 x 90 cm. 
 

Karla Knight, Little Wheel 1, 2022. Flashe, acrylic marker, pencil, and embroidery on cotton. 34 x 33 inches (86 x 83 cm). Courtesy the artist and Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York
Courtesy the artist and Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York

Karla Knight, Little Wheel 1, 2022. Flashe, acrylic marker, pencil, and embroidery on cotton. 34 x 33 inches (86 x 83 cm). 

Finally, two standouts in the Emerging Galleries (Galeries émergentes) section, which features 13 exhibitors presenting solo shows by up-and-coming artists, were Parliament, from Paris, BANK, from Shanghai. French artist Charlotte Dualé is showing ceramic sculptures—using an age-old medium in new and exciting ways—to beautifully craft stacked totem-pole pieces that looked like an accumulation of mechanical parts, two-dimensional works that simulated symbolic paintings and abstract lamps in odd, boxy forms, with such whimsical titles as Mismade (Yellow). 

At the opposite end of the emerging galleries section and in a highly contrasting method of working, Chinese artist Lu Yang (Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year) employs digital technology to magically create a “Harajuku style” character with her face on a series of avatar bodies, such as DOKU-Animal, that go through a series of Buddhist incarnations—Heaven, Human, Asura, Animal, Hungry Ghost, and Hell—to explore the eternal cycle of birth, death and reincarnation in a completely 21st century way.

About the Author

Paul Laster

Paul Laster is a writer, editor, curator, advisor, artist, and lecturer. New York Desk Editor for ArtAsiaPacific, Laster is also a Contributing Editor at Raw Vision and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art and a contributing writer for Art & Object, OculaGalerie, ArtsySculptureTime Out New YorkConceptual Fine Arts, and Two Coats of Paint. Formerly the Founding Editor of Artkrush, he began The Daily Beast’s art section and was Art Editor at Russell Simmons’ OneWorld Magazine. Laster has also been the Curatorial Advisor for Intersect Art & Design and an Adjunct Curator at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, now MoMA PS1.

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