In: Frieze Art Fair

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Autumn. The season of cooler weather, multicolored leaves, long strolls in the Heath and marrons glacés, the time when we all start reminiscing about our summer fun and get ready for winter. However, the fall season is not only warmer clothes and hot chocolate, but also the time for major art happenings around the world.

Autumn, and especially October, is the time to follow new fashion trends at fashion weeks in the major cities, and to enjoy weeks of art. The Old World’s art capital – London – started long ago to prepare for the first week of October, aka the busiest and most stressful time in the art world.

The annual arrival of Frieze – the art fair opening in Regent’s Park October 6-8th – and it’s daughter Frieze Masters trigger parallel art happenings, such as the most important contemporary art evening auctions, art festivals, art shows and a myriad of talks and events throughout the capital, in order to benefit from the arrival of the art world’s mighty and try to get a piece of that juicy cake.

Find below a list of TOP artsy things to do this October in London and, believe me, you will want to be one to visit them:

1. Frieze Art Fair

Arguably the most well-known art fair today, though not the most visited one (according to the annual report by ArtVista) Frieze opens for the 13th time this October at Regent’s Park.

Note-by: if you feel unsure about spending 60 pounds on combined ticket to both Frieze&Frieze Masters, make sure to stroll in Regent’s Park – Frieze Sculpture Park is free for all and this year features canonical artists such as Jean Dubuffet, Ed Herring, and Lynn Chadwick just to name a few. The Sculpture Park will be on view for you to visit until January 8th, 2017.

2. 1:54 Art Fair

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1:54 Contemproary Art Fair, Somerset House Courtyard View. Courtesy of Artsy.

The fair of contemporary African Art, 1:54 will return for the forth time to Somerset House this October. Representing over 50 African countries, 1:54 breaks the traditional approaches to art fairs and delivers a must-see program. The largest edition yet, the fair takes over the whole Somerset House this October and showcases 40 galleries.

Note-by: stop by the open-air installation by Zak Ove at the Somerset House’s courtyard, as well as by the unmissable exhibition of the exceptional Malick Sidibé (Malian photographer) – the exhibition will be on view for you to see up until January 15th, 2017.

3. Abstract Expressionism at RA

Presumably you heard of the name Pollock. Or you heard that one of his paintings titled No 5 (1948) is one of the most expensive paintings in history and was sold for $165.4 million at an auction. Or maybe you didn’t. But the fact is that this exhibition is the first major retrospective of the Abstract Expressionist art movement in the UK in 70 years. Think abstraction, color fields and visual travel. You ought to see it.

Note-by: The most interesting part is the inclusion of not only famous names like Pollock and Rothko in the exhibition, but also of other artists who contributed to the movement.

4. Picasso Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery

This must-see exhibition presents just how talented Picasso was. The show will display portraits created during every stage of the artist’s career and will showcase famous masterpieces, as well never seen before works from private collections.

Note-by: the granddaughter of the artist, Diana Widmaier-Picasso, will be in conversation with the director of the National Portrait Gallery, Dr Nicholas Cullinan, on the 6th of October at 7pm, giving her views on Picasso’s portraiture.

5. Beyond Caravaggio at the National Gallery

Another must-visit show in London focuses on Caravaggio. It is important to note, though,  that the primary accent will be given to the influence that the artist had on his contemporaries by showcasing the works of lesser-known artists of the time. So-called Caravaggism will be explored throughout the exhibition and bring together works by Caravaggio and his European followers.

Note-by: The National Gallery created a series of events and talks to introduce visitors to the Caravagesque style and to Caravaggio himself throughout the month of October. If you are a fan of Baroque art, or just a curious soul, make sure to check some of them out.

Last week it was London’s annual Frieze week. This meant a week of hectic art fever in the capital. Not only did two gigantic white tents – as well as a sculpture garden – take over Regent’s park, but all over London galleries and museums organised events to coincide with Europe’s most exciting commercial art fair and ride the wave of all-round Frieze-mania. Besides openings, artist performances, talks, huge auction sales and ‘art marathons’ (see the Serpentine’s ‘Transformation Marathon’ that occurred past Saturday), there was also the occasional alternative art fair. One such fair is SUNDAY.

Set up as a low-key, low-budget satellite site to Frieze in Regent’s park – a 10 min walk away – SUNDAY has a reputation as the cooler addition to the frenzied art fair week. Staged in Ambika P3’s subterranean space on Marylebone Road, the fair attracts its visitors and evokes their intrigue with a few hundred playful, funky, experimental artworks in a wide range of media as presented by a set of relatively unknown, young, up-and-coming galleries from Europe and North America.

SUNDAY is difficult to compare directly with the big money, big business violence of Frieze, happening just down the road. Upon arrival you were led – instead of past glamorous VIP booths and expensive-ticket queues toward security-manned gates – through a windy outdoor corridor of what felt like an industrial carpark, with unassuming white A4’s pointing the way towards free entry to the fair. The obscurity of this slightly mystifying walk was resolved as the fair’s entrance opened up onto an indoor balcony from which visitors had a direct overview of most of its interior, a set of metalwork stairs leading down into the large, open-plan main room.

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Its relaxing realising you can enjoy and explore SUNDAY at ease, since its size is nowhere near as daunting and stress-inducing as that of big daddy Frieze. This means you can take snaps of all the art you love before your phone’s battery juice inevitably seeps away (a common frustration among large-art-fair-goers). Different to Frieze’s regimented segmentation of galleries in Ikea-like booths, SUNDAY’s use of space is also much more relaxed, the displays of different galleries bleeding into one large floor and wall expo. You could wander freely through the space, stumble upon, step over or move underneath the works of art with a beer in hand, giving SUNDAY as a whole a much more chilled, down-to-earth, if not slightly chaotic, vibe. Another difference of course is that the art featured, on average, is of a totally different financial status than that shown at Frieze. SUNDAY is in fact so accessible that there might even be some prints or drawings you’d consider buying, with some works going for prices below 100 pounds.
 

SUNDAY Art Fair in London

What is not that different to Frieze, is the sense of excitement and wonder you feel discovering new and intriguing artwork. The buzzing energy of SUNDAY in many ways matches the Frieze vibe, regardless of the fact that the art on display is visibly less polished, less luxuriously presented and, of course, less valuable. Visitors of its opening night still included important art world professionals – among whom Beatrix Ruf, director of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, who obviously realise that an absence of swanky presentation or big-name-fame hardly implies inferior quality. After all, any artist exhibiting at Frieze must once have started out at the sort of gallery SUNDAY shows and allows a piece of the Frieze-week action. And in a city as expensive as London, I’d say SUNDAY is in fact invaluable; it presents an exciting alternative addition to the capital’s most high-profile art week.

Every October, the Frieze Art Fair attracts crowds of collectors and art-lovers from abroad and paint exciting events and exhibitions on canvas of art scene in London. It is certainly an exciting experience to go visit Frieze London, one of the most important contemporary art fairs nowadays. The 13th edition of this international art fair features 164 galleries from 27 countries. This personal selection attempts to provide you with a glimpse of the fair and help you feel the vibe surrounding Frieze.

  1. Galerie Eigen + Art (A12)

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The installation made of cardboard, acrylic paint and wood by Birgit Brenner looks subtle but intriguing. The artist takes ideas from the banalities of daily life which is then expressed by using collage of raw materials such as brown cardboard, tape, staples and markers. They resemble pieces and parts of information that randomly coincide, overlap or complement each other in our current human existence dominated by means of modern technology and information. The gallery also exhibits works by conceptual artist, Olaf Nicolai who explores the relationship of idea to image or idea to object.

  1. Galerie Perrotin (A16)

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This well-established French gallery is gathering fascinating works by various artists, including poetic minimalist series of Meditation by Korean artist, Chang-Sup Chung and Studies into the Past by French artist, Laurent Grasso, who recreates human and natural phenomena set in surreal time and space. The most eye-catching piece is Cierra, the superrealist sculpture of a nude woman posed like a muse for classical painting, by John de Andrea. You do feel you are staring at a nude lady so close and right in front of you. I like Ivan Argote’s see?, it’s true which examines propaganda in the history of several countries.

 

  1. Pace (B6)

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The gallery has put up a new installation by Adam Pendleton alongside works by a group of artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Sol LeWitt, Lee Ufan and Wang Guangle. Pendleton’s work is now in place in the Belgian pavilion of Venice Biennale. I was mainly attracted by the rarely seen Salvage works of Robert Rauschenberg, which will offer an historical precedent for Pendleton’s silkscreen work according to the gallery.

 

  1. Gagosian Gallery (C3)

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There is solo show of the artist Glenn Brown, whose drawings are the focus this time. Through lines, shadings and strokes, Brown revisits the tradition of copying the historical subjects as a learning process while the effects of gesture are emphasised. The artist is known for the use of appropriation that he would work on other artists’ works by changing colours, forms, or texture in the case of sculptures.

 

  1. White Cube (D4)

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Here you can see works by big names, such as Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and Mona Hatoum. The gallery was a pioneer in exhibiting works by Young British Artists (YBAs). I was quite attracted by the mirrored sculpture Puzzle by Liu Wei, a Chinese artist who often uses unexpected materials in surprising configurations. Its mirrored surface interacts with fair-goers and other artworks displayed at the booth.

  1. Galerie Buchholz (D8)

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The inflatable Felix cat by Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey at the Galerie Buchholz booth is the largest artwork exhibited inside the white tent, and is reported to be sold early on the first day of the fair. On the other hand, I was rather intrigued by Wolfgang Tillmans’s realist and intimate photograph of Arms and Legs (2014).

 

  1. Stuart Shave/ Modern Art (E1)

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The London-based gallery was awarded the Stand Prize at Frieze London 2015 for its two-artist presentation, praised by the jury on the ‘impact’ of the stand which instigate ‘intellectual and formal dialogue between the two artists.’ The sculptural installation by Yngve Holen made with washing machines, model airplanes and plexiglass was playful and attention-seeking. When it is surrounded by pixelated Rothko paintings by Mark Flood, the visual effects are elevated and make the stand difficult to be avoided by almost every fair-goer.

 

  1. The Modern Institute (E5)

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The 23 Granny Smith apples hung with transparent strings lining in a v-shaped form immediately drew me into the booth of The Modern Institute from Glasglow. With this artwork, Urs Fischer makes use of found objects –real apples, and the v-shaped line looks like the trajectory of an apple falling and bouncing back on the ground. It is in dialogue with the installation at the back of the booth by Martin Boyce who likes to explore modernist design and how time affects our understanding of design objects.

  1. Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (E9)

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This is a visually fascinating booth guaranteed by works of Olafur Eliasson including Panetary Lovers (2015) and Polychromatic attention (2015). The 24 partially chromed crystal spheres have attracted many smartphones and cameras for photo-taking. Draped Marble (2015) by Analia Saban, which examines the inherent quality of the material, was minimalist, finely made and neatly presented.

 

  1. P.P.O.W. (G2)

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Always adoring blue and white china, I was truly enchanted by Ann Agee’s porcelain and stoneware installation, Lake Michigan Bathroom (2014), a re-creation of her original work from 1992. Agee often uplifts utilitarian objects to the level of artwork while seeking to replicate and mimic pre-existing forms. With this piece, she replicated industrial china by hand as porcelain and stoneware, in a way to examine reproduced objects’ position in culture.

Last advice for the fair includes: i) going to the sculpture park before entering the white tent of the fair because it gets too dark for appreciating sculptures outdoor after 6pm if you only go after all the booths; ii) do not miss out some “Live” sessions or “Projects” scattered around the venue, such as Misako & Rosen’s Portrait Session (2015) by Ken Kagami, fun guaranteed.

If you have also been to the Frieze Art Fair already, what are YOUR picks? Leave a comment to exchange ideas!

 

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