© Mehdi Chebil / France 24

The 2013 edition of the FIAC (International Contemporary Art Fair) has kicked off at the Jardin des Plantes and other Parisian landmarks, flaunting several works revolving around the theme of the environment. This sculpture of a man whose body is invaded by vegetation is by Gilles Barbier, who lives in Marseille.

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This immense bronze hare by Barry Flanagan is a popular attraction among families visiting the Jardin des Plantes. But only art buffs will notice that the sculpture is inspired by the work of sculptor Auguste Rodin.

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These nonchalant visitors likely don’t know that the unicorn next to them, a sculpture by Richard Jackson, can spray paint.

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For the eighth year in a row, the FIAC also features a series of works set up in the Tuileries Garden. The “Planetarium Sorrow” dome by Laurent P. Berger and Cyrille Berger is set up next to a traditional sculpture of the mythological figure of Diana, the goddess of the hunt.

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The president of the Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, attended the opening of the 2013 edition of the FIAC at the Tuileries Garden. Here, he is pictured next to Jennifer Flay, artistic director of the FIAC.

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Numerous contemporary art afficionados came to see the opening-day presentation of the outdoor exhibits, given by the FIAC’s artistic director.

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Several works line the central walkway of the Tuileries Garden, including Hector Zamora’s bicycle sculpture, called “Brasil”, as well as Shen Yuan’s ceramic bridge.

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Californian artist Sam Falls explained that his brightly coloured work is destined to evolve “in symbiosis with time”, with the colours gradually fading in the sun. The installation can be seen in the heart of the Tuileries Garden.

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The installation visitors seem to have the hardest time understanding is Giovanni Anselmo’s set of granite blocks. Whereas the Italian artist refers to the piece as a “constellation”, those strolling around the garden think the blocks have been randomly strewn on the ground.

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The FIAC catalogue informs readers that Gary Hume’s work is characterised by “reduced imagery”, and that its “metallic snow men” reflect his “minimalist” painting style.

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There are also several contemporary works set up along the banks of the Seine, like this multi-coloured panel by Philippe Rahm called “Rémanence chlorophylienne” (“Chlorophyll-like Afterglow”). The piece is meant to convey the “spectral decomposition of sunlight”.

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Argentinian artist Ana Gallardo poses next to her work, a tree planted on a little trailer, with the blankets stuck in the branches meant to symbolise the “periods of precarity” the artist has lived through.

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Parisian art cooperative Société Réaliste set up its installation, called “UN Camouflage”, on the Léopold-Sédar-Senghor walkway. It consists of 193 flags, each displaying the colours of a UN member state, but in camouflaged form.

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Feverishly discussed by journalists and writers, “Page Blanche” (or “Blank Page”) by Clément Borderie is presented as a work whose “surface will become covered with microparticles […] as well as absorb the spontaneous reactions of the public, becoming an image that reflects our identities”.

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Parisian visitors visiting the river-side installations prefer, for the moment, to express their creativity by drawing on the black boards set up near the Paris town hall – a sort of collaborative public exhibit that those who attend the FIAC are sure to enjoy.

In pictures: art fair turns Paris into open air gallery