Frieze London 2018

5 November 2018 § Leave a comment

As soon as Frieze makes its annual appearance in Regents Park everyone knows that it is time to check out the London art scene. The annual schedules of the galleries – both commercial and public – are all heavily weighted towards the Autumn and the most important names carefully lined up for exhibition. This is the time when anyone can get an all-round view of global trends without leaving central London.

David Shrigley Frieze London 2018

With the twin clouds of Brexit and falling market confidence hanging over the art world, it was good to arrive at Frieze to receive a David Shrigley newsflash accompanying the Art Newspaper – NEWS: PEOPLE GATHER IN LARGE TENT. It helped to lighten the mood – for more of Shrigley you could visit Stephen Friedman where he took over the whole stand and showed some witty neon works alongside his more usual sketches and bonkers animations.

Julia Scher Frieze London 2018

Also lightening the mood were US artist Julia Scher’s pink-clad pensioner security guards who were regularly seen patrolling the fair.

Tatiana-Trouvé-The-Shaman-2018-Frieze 2018

As seemingly has been the trend for several years now the big institutional-type works were largely absent from a show that was dominated by smaller and mid-ticket works. An ugly and rather pointless exception was Tatiana Trouvé’s The Shaman which nevertheless apparently sold on the first day. Many other big name – big ticket items were perhaps held back for gallery events or even Frieze Masters.

Swiss artist Urs Fischer dominated the show entrance at Gagosian with a suite of iPad paintings printed on to reflective aluminium panels. All show his New York home with the image disintegrating across each set as if digitally erasing itself.

Marina Abramovic Frieze London 2018

Lisson Gallery had works from Marina Abramovic and John Akomfrah , whilst at David Zwirner were Wolfgang Tillmans and Chris Ofili. Tacita Dean was at Marian Goodman Gallery’s stand.

This years #metoo angled theme was Social Work, exploring how women artists looked at political activism within their work. With artists including Faith Ringgold, Sonia Boyce, Helen Chadwick, Nancy Spero and Berni Searle it was however somewhat underwhelming and could easily be passed largely unnoticed.

As usual though there was plenty to enjoy and here are a few of the other works that caught our eye:

Thomas Struth m.n.o.p 05, 2013, MAi 36 Galerie Frieze London 2018
Thomas Struth m.n.o.p 05, 2013, MAi 36 Galerie Frieze London 2018
Cindy Sherman Untitled Metro Pictures Frieze 2018
Cindy Sherman Untitled Metro Pictures Frieze 2018
Urs Fischer Gagosian Frieze 2018
Urs Fischer Gagosian Frieze 2018
Alice Neel, Harold Dyke 1971, Xavier Huffkins, Frieze 2018
Alice Neel, Harold Dyke 1971, Xavier Huffkins, Frieze 2018
Nicholas Party Portrait with Flowers 2018 Modern Institute, Frieze 2018
Nicholas Party Portrait with Flowers 2018 Modern Institute, Frieze 2018
Thomas Struth, Full Scale Mock up 3, 2017, Marian Goodman Gallery
Thomas Struth, Full Scale Mock up 3, 2017, Marian Goodman Gallery
Marilyn Minter Big Bang 2012, Studio 94, Frieze London 2018
Marilyn Minter Big Bang 2012, Studio 94, Frieze London 2018
David Shrigley, Stephen Friedman, Frieze London 2018
David Shrigley, Stephen Friedman, Frieze London 2018

Frieze 2018

Last but not least, as you leave the fair in Regent’s Park, perhaps to venture up to Frieze Masters, some twenty five different sculptures were dotted throughout the greenery and included Kimsooja (above), Rana Begum , Tracey Emin, Conrad Shawcross and Elmgreen & Dragset. They will remain until the end of Frieze week.

CELLOPHANELAND* were guests of Frieze London

For more information visit www.frieze.com

This post was also published at CELLOPHANELAND*

Ruin Lust at Tate Britain

9 April 2014 § Leave a comment

I’m not sure whether Phyllida Barlow’s Duveen commission dock (reviews by AKUTA here) was scheduled before Ruin Lust but on the surface this looks like an intelligent pairing of exhibitions. With Barlow’s wonderful, monumental constructions of industrial ‘debris’ filling the central parts of the building, an exhibition that looks at our fascination with the subject should be rich with possibilities. The words Ruin Lust, by the way, deriving from the German word Ruinenlust, an obsession with, or taking pleasure in, decay.

Ruin Lust Tate Britain

It all starts promisingly with John Martin’s magnificent Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum and  Jane and Louise Wilson’s imposing wartime bunker, Azeville. Not unexpectedly we then find plenty of 19th century romantic visions of classical ruins amongst idealised landscapes. We have John  Sell Cotman and JMW Turner’s wonderful Tintern Abbey for example.

Ruin Lust Tate Britain

Less expected are works from others like Eduardo Paolozzi, Patrick Caulfield and John Stezaker. Just how were these artists obsessed with decay? John Stezaker has exactly zero connection with the subject of this exhibition, his inclusion down to the fact that the featured works happened to collage a couple of old postcards of photogenic ruins on to his trademark film publicity photos, creating new meanings. And Paolozzi? Caulfield?

Ruin Lust Tate Britain stezaker_oath

Next comes Tacita Dean and Kodak. Less about ruin and decay this is more a self-reverential elegy to the medium of film and is only marginally relevant to the exhibitions subject.

Ruin Lust Tate Britain Paolozzi

At this point I have to admit I switched off for the remaining, less than attention-grabbing, four rooms. It was crystal clear that the curators were starting with a catchy title to then shoe-horn artworks with superficial relevance to then claim they were part of a greater whole.

Ruin Lust Tate Britain

Furthermore the choice of artists haphazard, the selection of work poor, many selected pieces downright dreadful and the hanging almost random. To rub salt in to the wound the accompanying exhibition book was equally low quality.

Ruin Lust Tate Britain

To me this was a shallow and poorly conceived exhibition with many mediocre works amongst a handful of interesting ones. I beg you not to waste £10 – see Phyllida Barlow and spend your hard-earned tenner in the cafe instead.

Ruin Lust is at Tate Britain until 18 May 2014.

 

twombly and poussin: arcadian painters at dulwich picture gallery

4 August 2011 § Leave a comment

As I speculated a few months back when this exhibition was announced, this did not look promising – a car crash waiting to happen. An opportunistic exhibition seizing on the fact that Cy Twombly was heavily influenced by Nicolas Poussin (he once said that he‘would have liked to have been Poussin’)  and that he, like Poussin, moved to Rome to paint his versions of the ancient myths.

From the moment that you step in to the first room you realise that this exhibition is indeed is a mistake. Twombly’s big energetic works require space and demand to be experienced – they shout at you. Poussin’s work needs quiet contemplation – perhaps they whisper. Bringing together two artists should create new understandings and add to the works on show. This one detracted – I longed to see Twombly by himself and Poussin was made to look dull. You might as well have Clarkson drag-racing a Rolls Royce and a Ferrari – there simply is no point, each is great on its own.

There were nevertheless some good points. It was good to see a number of Cy Twombly works together – especially the four seasons – hung on three sides of a room with no Poussin to distract – whilst across the corridor the same applied to a room of Poussin. A delicate Tacita Dean film portrait of Twombly at the end of the exhibition was a nice addition and last but not least a cappuchino in the gallery’s cafe facing the gardens is always enjoyable.

This was not a match made in heaven – or Arcadia. One of course suspects that the gallery knew this too but they also realise they there is limited scope for interaction for their collection and the crowd-pleasing world of modern and contemporary art. The result is hardly perfect but it is probably worth going for a  look at the wreckage!

 On until 25 September 2011 at the Dulwich Picture Gallery

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