This year Frieze London has attracted over 160 contemporary art galleries from all over globe. Situated in the ever impressive surroundings of Regents Park, the immense white space divided into a myriad of stands sees the welcome return of the sculpture garden. This features the work of emerging artists such as Hemali Bhuta, Andreas Lolis and Damián Ortega sitting alongside an 11–14th century AD pre-Ekoi monolith from Western Africa, courtesy of the Didier Claes gallery in Brussels, and is free to visit.
As a first time visitor to Frieze it struck me how similar it felt to a fashion exhibition, not least due to the free flowing drinks and an attractive audience swathed often in black. But these were more polished visitors with a glossy finish. Wandering among the crowd I started to imagine how life would be as a verified purchaser of the art on show. What would suit my Arctic Maple floorboards and Barcelona chairs?
My attempt to strike up a conversation with a Tokyo based gallery in my newly imagined role failed miserably, I was clearly an interloper. I was refused even eye contact. So I decided to stick firmly with fantasy and notebook in hand, and with a conspicuous lack of champagne, I began.
Michel Perez Pollo (Mai 36 Galerie, Zürich)
My guests would be treated to a marble lined welcome with an elaborate Glenn Brown sculpture upon which to rest their curious eyes. I will have a large pale grey or white sofa with a quiet mid century vibe, and above it will sit a well sized painting; "La Orilla de la Playa" by Michel Perez Pollo at Mai 36 Galerie booth. Of course, any cushions will pick up and compliment his colours. I finally decide my free standing bath would sit below a beautifully crafted wall sculpture from Laurent Grasso.
Back to reality, this year Frieze sees a new director in charge - Victoria Siddall, who was behind the launch of Frieze Masters two years ago. Siddall is young, yet clearly impressive and astute. Charged with reinvigorating London’s most important art fair, this year Siddall introduced a new Focus section. Focus allows visitors to discover fresh, emerging artists from around the world, and is curated externally. This seems like a great opportunity for potential clients to connect with newly discovered talent.
Other engaging additions to the programme include:
The Reading Room, a new section which allows visitors to browse and buy from a curated selection of the finest art publications from around the world. In addition, some of the publications participating have organised events to run alongside. These include a conversations with Rachel Rose and Laura McLean-Ferris, a panel discussion launching Kaleidoscope’s new ART&SEX issue and a conversation with LEAP editor-in-chief and curator of Art Post-Internet, Robin Peckham and artist Zhang Ding.
Collections: Curated by Norman Rosenthal, this arresting section includes eight presentations from individual dealers spanning the centuries. Highlights include a rare portrait by Goya of the banker Pedro Gil de Tejada.
Frieze Projects: This year the seven new commissions for Frieze Projects are by AYRBRB, Lutz Bacher, castillo/corrales, Thea Djordjadze, Jeremy Herbert, Asad Rasa, and Rachel Rose. Rose was the winner of the 2015 Frieze Artist Award supported by the LUMA Foundation, and has created a scaled down version of Frieze for visitors to explore.
The keynote speaker at Frieze Talks this year will be Vivienne Westwood (Saturday 17 October, 17h). Known for her activism, in this highly anticipated talk the famed fashion designer will be discussing the changing relationship between art and her practice.
In addition: It is worth remembering that galleries in the west end of London will remain open later on Thursday (until 20h) as part of "West End Night".
After the party is, of course, the afterparty: on Sunday you can continue indulging in fine art by visiting London's emerging SUNDAY Art Fair (14 – 18 October). The fair aims to support the young and exciting artists, as well as the galleries representing them.
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14 – 17 October 2015
Opening hours: 12 – 19
SUNDAY ART FAIR
14 – 17 October 2015
Opening hours: 12 – 19, Sunday: 13 – 18