Review of the Frieze Art Fair

0aie_eb2da36a5b.jpgPaul Simon Richards for Live from Frieze Art Fair this is LuckyPDFTV. Photo by Polly Braden. Courtesy of Polly Braden/ Frieze

As many of you probably know, i love contemporary art fairs. Yes, it’s pure porn art and there’s too much to see, most of which is quite frankly bad. But there are good surprises as well and i don’t mind spending hours in front of painted horrors if at some point i stumble upon a piece that will move me. I’m that easy. Besides, art fairs expose me to works and artists i would otherwise never have accepted to look at.

That’s how in mid-October i found myself in Regent’s Park, London, clutching my hard earned press pass (did they make bloggers sweat to get an accreditation!), expecting to be blown away. Year after year, i had read about the Frieze art fair in mags and newspapers. It looked extravagant and fearless. It looked like an art fair i would enjoy.

Alas! What the 173 galleries exhibited inside the gigantic pavilion was a bit uneventful.
Maybe the euro crisis had compelled gallery owners to be cautious and somewhat conservative in their selection of art works. Maybe my expectations were too high. I walked from corridor desperate for some excitement to photograph.

I was keen to see Pierre Huyghe’s crab living inside a Brancusi head but i never managed to locate it. I didn’t manage to miss Christian Jankowski’s 65-metre yacht though. Made by a specialist boat builder, the luxury ship could be purchased at the merchant’s prize for €500,000. Or for €625,000 if you fancied having the artist sign it. The references were obvious (Duchamp, financial crisis, bling culture, etc.), the whole point not so much.

Of course it wasn’t all pain and gloom. The PM3 of the talks are online, there was Nathalie Djurberg! there was Nathalie Djurberg!, i ended up in The Guardian (albeit in a photo gallery showing people who confuse art fairs with fashion shows) and i did find works that make this post worthy of a quick scroll down:

0a6landye3_z.jpgMichael Landy, Credit Card Destroying Machine, 2010 (Thomas Dane gallery). Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Frieze/ Linda Nylind

Michael Landy was showing a Tinguely-inspired eccentricity that shred your credit card in exchange of a drawing by the artist. You might remember that 10 years ago Landy spent 2 weeks destroying all of his worldly possession in an empty store on Oxford Street.

Over some 20 years, street photographer Igor Moukhin chronicled rallies and protest marches across Russia.

0aResistancEigor-moukhin.jpg0moukhinvieelletelephone.jpg0imoukhinportr.jpg0resistancemouknhin.jpgIgor Moukhin, Resistance (XL gallery)

0aesebpatane749e66dfa931878.jpgSeb Patane, Untitled, 2011 (China Art Objects Galleries)

0bearskin6b554bd359594b80a508ab9.jpgBrian Griffiths, Bear Work Wear (black), 2011 (Vilma Gold gallery)

As i screamed earlier, there was Nathalie Djurberg! there was Nathalie Djurberg!

0hello0036675639.jpgNathalie Djurberg, Woods, Gio Marconi. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/ Frieze

0woldf814c7f647c_z.jpgNathalie Djurberg, Woods, Gio Marconi. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/ Frieze

0cow1743af12.jpgNathalie Djurberg, Woods, Gio Marconi. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/ Frieze

In Encounter(s), Tejal Shah collaborated with artist Varsha Nair. Wearing a straightjacket, outstretching their bodies, they wrapped themselves around pilars, across stairs, through gates and against other pieces of architecture. The work amplifies the paradox of our highly networked reality wherein technology variously connects, only to ironically distance us.

0aencounteradeux8.jpg0astairensocunterse2.jpg0aaencounterui3993.jpgTejal Shah, Encounter(s), 2006

0levitation52222.jpgMarina Abramovic, The Levitation of Saint Teresa, 2010 (Lisson Gallery)

Probably my favourite painting at the fair:

0herum70347cc815109332d02.jpgMiriam Cahn, Herumstehen, 2005 (Elizabeth Dee gallery)

In case you were wondering ‘how much does the work below cost?’, i found some figures online: In Frame, the section in the fair for young galleries showing solo artist presentations supported for a second year by Cos, sales were also substantial. François Ghebaly sold out their Patrick Jackson booth, selling Dirt Pile on Table (roots&glass) (2011) priced at $9,000; two versions of Heads, hands and feet (2011) for $15,000 and 3 dirt pile sculpture for $20,000 all to significant international collectors.

0a2barbesss364834b01.jpg0barbe_4a94dba472.jpgPatrick Jackson, Head, Hands and Feet (black) + Head, Hands and Feet (red), 2011 (François Ghebaly Gallery)

0tillmansf1f3c00346.jpgWolfgang Tillmans. Faltenwurf (Grey), 2011 (Galerie Chantal Crousel)

0DM 11 south african gallerist Kristin Scott Thomas 48x36_675_450.jpgDawn Mellor, South African Gallerist Kristen Scott Thomas is showing neo-institutional critique works by Zurich based artist Chaz Bono, 2011 (Team Gallery)

0paraplui03e71f2a.jpgKen Okiishi, Manhattan Transfer (Alex Zachary gallery)

0aa7yeti2a68b515090d.jpgTobias Zielony, Yet Untitled (#14), 2009 (KOW Berlin)

0epowwpw74d5f72ff1bd94.jpgTobias Zielony, Powwow, 2009 (KOW Berlin)

Alex Hartley (of the Nowherisland fame) was showing what looked like a photo of the Unabomber cabin. Close (very close) inspection revealed that it was a sculpture with the architectural model carved and built into the photography of the landscape itself. The series is on show at Victoria Miro this Winter.

0aaaa1cagbin83957.jpgAlex Hartley, Waiting for Daylight to End (Kaczynski Cabin), 2011

0Vermelho_Cinthia_Marcelle.jpgCinthia Marcelle, O Cosmopolita, 2011

This is the billy-goat costume that Paweł Althamer wore to travel the world on the footsteps of a Polish children’s-book character.

0apawelllcd380.jpgPawel Althamer, The Billy-Goat, 2011

0negrosun24ef17e.jpgGlenn Ligon, Negro Sunshine, 2006

No art fair is conceivable without at least one work from Elmgreen and Dragset (i spotted 3 at Frieze):

0aaaamonkey_7b04ce8451_z.jpgElmgreen and Dragset, The Fruit of Knowlege, 2011

0aminisiraellele1.jpgTaryn Simon, The Wailing Wall, Mini Israel, Latrun, 2007

0pietraa4c87d0b1c.jpgCornelia Parker, 30 Pieces of Silver (with reflection), Frith Street Gallery

0bottles0e29c63f.jpgMatthew Brannon (Casey Kaplan Gallery)

0kulikeVSkoraz125152da5f5b.jpgOleg Kulik, Kulik vs. Koraz, 1997 (XL gallery)

Sorry i have no title nor author for the following works:


More images.
Photo on the homepage: Paul Simon Richards for Live from Frieze Art Fair this is LuckyPDFTV. Photo by Polly Braden. Courtesy of Polly Braden/ Frieze.