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21.10.2009

 

Frieze Art Fair - GoSee measures the temperature at London's annual international art fair

Last week in London, all eyes were on the Frieze Art Fair, which took place from 15-18 October at Regent’s Park. People had come in their thousands to see if the fair had recovered from its credit crunch-affected below zero climate last year.

One thing was for sure, the tent was packed on the Sunday and people were generating a lot of heat through their various art viewing activities. I later noticed on the way out, that bags were being searched for stolen artwork by security guards. Any art buys had to be officially documented and checked. The queue was moving slowly as there were several visitors with purchases in tow, so certainly an improvement for the gallerists in comparison to last year’s frosty expenditure.

Frieze Art Fair is primarily about buying and selling, yet over 80% of the public it attracts simply wish to marvel at the legendary spectacle of the contemporary art market. Besides this overwhelming sense of intrigue and curiosity, there is of course plenty of artwork to see. The crowds at infamous art dealer Jay Jopling’s White Cube spoke volumes.

It seems the majority of people want a piece of the action, they want to see the much publicised Hirsts and the Emins  that are up for sale. The gallerists themselves are in turn highly aware of the magnetic force of art super stars, the result being a rather embarrassing show of variations of Emins neon light pieces, as well as Hirsts and Wallingers at multiple well known galleries, adding a sense of déjà vu to the already confusing labyrinth of galleries.

Negatives aside, the advantage of being at an international art fair is the opportunity to travel from country to country in minutes, from one gallery stall to the next. Promising islands in the huge ocean that is Frieze included Lüttgenmeijer from Berlin, who were showing a chair installation by Canadian artist Gareth Moore. The piece has now been snapped up by the Tate Museum for their permanent collection.

Seventeen Gallery of London’s minimalist display of seemingly worthless scraps of wood scattered across the floor by Susan Collis were in fact embedded with priceless jewels, invisible to the confused passers-by.

The T293 Gallery of Naples made an equally as bold statement. Their stall was a baron space of empty shop fittings and strip lighting.

One of the few galleries that had chosen to display large photo works was Galerie Eigen + Art, Berlin. Their choice of images from Martin Eder’s “Die Armen” series was reciprocated by burgeoning crowds at their stall.

More exotic “islands” included Long March Space, Shanghai which presented a series of works by Yang Shaobin from his four year project engaging with coal mines in China.

The Third Line from Dubai displayed four giant candy coated paintings from Farhad Moshin’s “Fluffy Friends” series.

And the frankly unabashed “Long Live and Thrive Capitalism” banner at Andreiana Mihail Gallery, Romania was an eye-catcher too.

Other highlights included the viewing platform which enabled visitors to climb a scaffold and observe Frieze fair goers navigating the countless stalls, whilst a surreal, claustrophobic, circus-like tent underneath it projected various live CCTV images from the event onto different screens, allowing an even closer, intrusive look at the crowds.

And those who were less sold about spending at Frieze – be it on an Ed Ruscha or the £6 sandwiches could be persuaded by the four-part art credit crunch related hypnosis video by Danish art-activists Superflex.

I went home without having treated myself to any artwork, but then I did open my eyes during the hypnosis to peek if everyone else had shut their's, and lo and behold, they were all wide open! And besides, a walk through the free Frieze Sculpture Park on my way home left me feeling just as content as if I had a masterpiece clamped tightly under my arm.

by Isabelle Held

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Frieze

Frieze

Frieze : Marc Quinn at White Cube

Frieze : Marc Quinn at White Cube

Frieze : Die Armen, Galerie Eigen + Art, Berlin

Frieze : Die Armen, Galerie Eigen + Art, Berlin

Frieze : Candy Coating at The Third Line

Frieze : Candy Coating at The Third Line

Frieze : Gareth Moore

Frieze : Gareth Moore

T293 Gallery

T293 Gallery

Frieze : John Baldessair

Frieze : John Baldessair

Frieze : Made in China

Frieze : Made in China

Frieze : Long March Space

Frieze : Long March Space

Frieze : Frith Gallery London

Frieze : Frith Gallery London

Frieze : Presenhuber Gallery Zurich

Frieze : Presenhuber Gallery Zurich

Frieze : Alexandra Fly

Frieze : Alexandra Fly

Frieze Fair Oyster Bar

Frieze Fair Oyster Bar

Frieze

Frieze

Frieze

Frieze

Frieze : The Third Line

Frieze : The Third Line

Frieze : Tomio Koyama, Tokyo

Frieze : Tomio Koyama, Tokyo

Frieze : Seventeen Gallery London

Frieze : Seventeen Gallery London

Frieze : Damien Hirst at White Cube

Frieze : Damien Hirst at White Cube

Frieze : Yang Shaobin at Long March

Frieze : Yang Shaobin at Long March

Frieze : Club Nutz, Minnesota

Frieze : Club Nutz, Minnesota

Frieze : Andreas Gursky at White Cube

Frieze : Andreas Gursky at White Cube

Frieze

Frieze

Frieze : Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo

Frieze : Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo

Frieze Sculpture Garden - The Couple by Louise Bourgeois

Frieze Sculpture Garden - The Couple by Louise Bourgeois

Frieze Sculpture Garden - Breast Berries by Maria Roossen

Frieze Sculpture Garden - Breast Berries by Maria Roossen

Frieze Sculpture Garden - Pumpkin  by Erwin Wurm

Frieze Sculpture Garden - Pumpkin by Erwin Wurm