Frieze London

18 November 2015 § Leave a comment

The preview day of Frieze always provides plenty of visual stimulation – both on and off the exhibiting gallery walls. As we shimmied past the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hooper, Tommy Hilfiger and Valentino we made our way around the fair to see what was on offer this year.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com
 Most of of the big name international names were in attendance, amongst a grand total of 164 galleries that represented over 1000 artists from 27 countries. There actually seemed to be a lack of big name artist ‘blockbuster’ pieces at this years fair but there was still plenty to catch the eye in an event that is one of the annual highlights of the art world.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com
Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com

Glenn Brown was our undisputed favourite this year with a stand full of great pieces at Gagosian, including these examples of both oil and sculpture.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com

The young sensation Eddie Peake had two stunning works on show.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.comThere were two superb Michael Fullerton portraits showing at the Carl Freedman Gallery.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com

The underrated Billy Childish had a large scale work, also at Carl Freedman.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com

A colourful large scale Allen Jones was a great example of his work.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com

Ai Weiwei has been dying his roots.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com

Self Portrait in bath by Tracey Emin underwhelmed us, but here are some others that drew our attention:

photo 2 copy 4IMG_6014photo 2 copy 6 photo 1 copy 7 photo 3 copy 3photo 3 copyphoto 5Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com

Frieze London runs until Saturday 17 October 2015. For more information visit www. friezelondon.com

For more information visit www. friezemasters.com

Images by CELLOPHANELAND* and courtesy of Frieze

london art fair 2013

16 January 2013 § Leave a comment

A giraffe is a horse designed by committee – or so the maxim goes – and it is clear that the London Art Fair is similarly organised by some sort of dysfunctional gathering. The result here is a multi headed dinosaur of a show that really doesn’t know what it is doing or where it is going.image_large-2

I went along to the first – ‘VIP’ – day of the LAF 2013 yesterday with hopes that I would be able to discern some sort of improvement for a Fair that has, over a number of years now, tried without success to respond to the threat of Frieze and the booming appeal of international art fairs to the London dealers. I wanted to pick out the highlights and enlighten you dear reader with some delightful imagery from my phone-cam. I failed.image_paisnel_davie

BF (Before Frieze) the fair was no doubt the art fair in London but in recent years has struggled to find a voice. This years is no exception with its identity crisis even more evident. We have a rump of Modernist galleries that occupy the best (?) central locations in the hall whilst generally mediocre contemporary galleries, year on year, steadily push on to their turf. Upstairs on the balcony are the sort of depressing galleries – typically found in coastal tourist spots – offering meaningless ‘contemporary’ work by obscure artists. Pushed off to the side in a strange warren of rooms we then have Art Projects – the ’emerging artists and new work’.79799_3998eeb58c3672a59d59c861a53eb43f

Add on to that Photo 50 – a curated exhibition of contemporary and historical photography, a bunch a galleries offering editions, others with books and publications and you have a mish-mash of a fair that aims to please everyone but appeals to nobody.London_Art_Fair

The first fair of the year in the art world’s most happening city should be an exciting and appealing event. As the easternmost of London’s fairs dozens of London’s most dynamic galleries and artists are virtually within walking distance, but are they here? No – they wouldn’t be seen dead at this old-fashioned event which promotes some left over bits of Modernist art from mid-level galleries (the best Modernist Galleries now keep well away too!) whilst the young and innovative galleries are shunted off to the side in a subterranean limbo.Clay

As for attracting the big buyers, ‘VIP’ pass holders are offered their own lounge with drinks and canapes. This turns out to be a small sweaty, messy and overcrowded room where the canapes get about four feet past the bar before being hoovered up. I don’t think real VIPs would be impressed.

My personal (and what do I know, but I’m going to say anyway…) tips to LAF. Dump the few modernist galleries. Go contemporary. Focus on something – photography, emerging artists, small galleries – anything. If not the LAF horse is well on its way to the knackers yard to be ground in to Tesco art beef burgers, and that would be a sad loss to London’s limited choice of fairs.

London Art Fair, Design Centre Islington (Angel Tube) 16 – 20 January 2013. £16.

Artists from top: Virgilio Ferreira, Alan Davie, Shih Hsiung Chou, Alex Ball. Other than Alan Davie the artists are amongst those featured in this years excellent Catlin Guide.

spotted at frieze 2012

18 October 2012 § Leave a comment

Another uninspiring Frieze his year. I suppose that once the art world has – like every year – built it up to be the London event of the year there is only one result: some degree of disappointment. Despite this Frieze of course remains the best UK contemporary art fair and a must visit to try at catch a whiff of the zeitgeist of the contemporary art market. Here are a few of the things that caught our eye this year. No particular reason. No particular order. No analyses of who sold what. And most definitely no ‘who was seen where’ nonsense.

A small oil by NY artist Amy Bennett. At Galleri Magnus Karlsson

One from handful of skilful watercolours by Maria Nordina – also at Galleri Magnus Karlsson.

The best from a roomful of large and impressive Jonas Wood pieces at David Kordansky.

A melting Paul McCarthy White Snow Head at Hauser & Wirth.

A Gavin Turk neon door.

Julian Opie‘s rather neat sculptures – and a mosaic.

One of a few large and impressive Wolfgang Tillmans images.

A dissection of a curator made of cake.

Something made of some substance made by somebody South American (I think?)

And outside, in the rain a pretty Yayoi Kusama from Victoria Miro.

london art fair gets ‘littlewhiteheaded’

1 December 2010 § Leave a comment

The London Art Fair used to be the city’s leading art fair until all of a sudden, back in 2003, Frieze leapt on to the scene. It is now a bit of sideline event – and it is far from happy! Not that it has done much about it, pottering along, much as it always has. The word is out that it wants to try to do something about it. Unless something very dramatic happens, like hell friezing over (see what I did there!), it is hard to see it ever get back to number one. Meanwhile it is making some noises about making the fair a little more, let us say, memorable.

Their first move has been revealed today by the young and go-ahead London dealers SamarriaLunn. Their artists littlewhitehead will be appearing throughout the exhibition, much as Simon Fujiwara’s brilliant archaeological ‘intervention’ at Frieze.

Craig Little, 29, and Blake Whitehead, 25, began working together after graduating from the Glasgow School of Art in 2007. Having become friends by default because “nobody else would speak to us”, their prerogative is to expose the inherent, unpleasant, and bleakly comic truths about society and the viewer.

The London Art Fair heralds the unveiling of their most provocative work to date: a Bible cast from the ashes of 90 copies of Mein Kampf. Doomed to enrage any number of religious groups, not to mention anybody who has ever taken a history lesson, this work is classic littlewhitehead. They claim that “to some extent, it doesn’t really matter that it’s made from the Bible and Mein Kampf”: The two books can merely exist as symbols for powerful and commonly adopted ideologies and more importantly, their destructive capabilities.

They have stated that “We don’t ever set out to offend, we just seem to have a knack for annoying people.” A favorite recent subject for the artists has been hostages. Victims are tied to chairs, bags pulled taut over their heads, knocked onto the floor and left there, helpless. They wait to be saved, only for nobody to come. These victims may well be hyper-real sculptures, but the stories on which they are based are real: unashamedly lifted from the newspapers and brought screaming into the physical world. In walking past the work as viewers, littlewhitehead demonstrate our choice to ignore, and in turn make us complicit in the act;

And even if their work fails to offend/impress then they at least have a new verb. To littlewhitehead – which I suggest means to be deeply disturbing – even when initially you are sometimes not sure quite why. We shall see!

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