France's FIAC contemporary art fair opens tonight, and galleries have been hosting preview events—notably, Paris's young Balice Hertling, which is returning to the FIAC for the first time in years in the fair's new Cour d'Honneur space with their special guest Nilufar from Milan. The joint showing of two galleries, one specializing in contemporary art and the other in new and vintage design, is a first for a fair like the FIAC and offers an opportunity to see the intersecting currents in fine and applied art. Concurrent with the FIAC, Balice Hertling, Nilufar, and Dimoré Studio have set up "Squat # 1," a sprawling apartment in Paris's 16th arrondissement ephemerally furnished with pieces from artists and designers. The apartment on ave. Victor Hugo, in a neighborhood more commonly associated with bourgeois gilt and dusty Louis XV, comes alive with the fascinating mix of Francesco Vezzoli's embroidery painting of his mother Titi Guizzi looking like a debutante inserted on Ingres' portrait of Marie d'Argoult which takes pride of place over the apartment's marble fireplace, near K8 Hardy self-portraits, vintage Gio Ponti Bergere chairs from Rome's hotel Parco dei Principi, and eccentric pieces like a series of six white and gold artfully broken "Beautifulness" plates by Sam Baron, part of Nilufar's new Unlimited editions series.
Nilufar's Nina Yasher met Daniele Balice a year and a half ago. "He walked into my gallery during the Salon di Mobile, and we had a really good feeling," she said. "For the gallery, this is a chance to break out of the white space cube." Nilufar and Balice Herling dreamed up their ideal mix over a period of months before arriving about a week ago to furnish the apartment. Some of Balice Hertling's artists, including Alexander May, Kerstin Brätsch, and Oscar Tauzon, worked on design pieces with Yasher. Their "Squat" answers the question: what would an ideal collection of great stuff sourced recently and worldwide look all together at home? "We ended up moving everything around a lot," says Alex Hertling, "but when you do your own apartment, it can take years to fall into place." Hertling and Balice had to obtain special permission from the FIAC to invite Nilufar, which would not have been able to show at the FIAC on its own.
"Squat" offers a current take on mixing new and vintage design—and a look at what contemporary artists do when working on their first lamp, for example. "Our goal was to mix all these languages in the same place," says Yasher. Jordan Mozer benches from a '70s/'80s nightclub in San Francisco, a series of interconnecting tables in Formica treated like 16th-century marquetry by Bethan Laura Wood, a wardrobe made from leather suitcases by Maarten De Ceulaer, an Hermès desk from the 1960s and a Pierre Cardin rug seem to have little in common, until they come together like this.
"SQUAT #1" IS ON VIEW THROUGH NOVEMBER 10 FROM 12 TO 7 PM AT 186 AVENUE VICTOR HUGO 75016.