Monday, 29 August 2011
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Nationalities from the four corners of the globe descended. 60,000 bodies were anticipated to gravitate towards a national treasure between Wednesday and Sunday. It was that time again, the phenomenon of Frieze Week hit town. Glamourous parties, dosh and more arty talk than you can shake a stick at.
In it's eighth season, it's hard to believe that we ever lived without the whirlwind of auctions and exhibitions that has gained legendary status globally, and in such a small amount of time. The progression of Matthew Slotolver and Amanda Sharps monthly art magazine has really transformed the mark London has on art; and now the event encapsulates the global nature of the market, from which it has derived such strength.
With 2010's Frieze being the largest yet, 173 galleries and 29 countries set up stall in the bespoke temporary structure in Regent’s Park, the fair is now firmly established, despite rocky times, and is considered to be an unmissable stop-off between Basel and Miami on the global art calendar.
This years focus was about consolidating the fair's unique reputation as a creative hub, as well as important market place. Alistar hicks, curator at Deutshe bank noted, 'London needs this vital injection of new art from around the world. The city's sucess lies in its ability to be one of the great showcases of what's new. We can take nothing for granted. The artists are showing us how quickly the world is changing. Today's hudcan be tomorrows heap'.
Keeping up with the art world Joneses, Frieze introduced its own, free, i-Phone app. Allowing visitors to navigate the area, browse items for sale, by size and price, even pointing out the closest bar. Moreover, in the attempt to impress the greenest of art fans, the event bid to cut emissions by 30 per cent, running the marquees on biodiesel, despite grumbles by insiders that suits would smell of chip fat.
Interactive art was another subtle theme for the week, including a game showww with Spartacus Chetwynd, and poetry and Yoga Haven with Ei Arakawa and Karl Holmqvist. Playing on the idea of art as a commodity, Matthew Darbyshire redesigned the ticket office in lurid pink, a statement act topped only by Gavin Turks bicycles designed for weary walkers at the fair.
With around £230 million worth of art sales estimated to have been made at Frieze, the market appears to be flourishing and buoyant. This stand out fair has captured the attention of press and art dealers world wide. In my opinion this is for 2 reasons; Regents park as a location benefits from having a natural light source which avoids the atmosphere of a trade show, increasing the energy surrounding the event, and, arguably, more importantly, this year at Ryans bar (run by artist Ryan Gander), one could sup a cocktail invented and mixed by art sensations Fiona Banner, Bob & Roberta Smith and Liam Gillik, which proves, that whatever reasons one had to attend, there was art to be found to suit all tastes, and wallets.
@friezeartfair and Twitter and become a fan on Facebook for projects and images.
Monday, 15 August 2011
Sunday, 14 August 2011
Magda Archer: Crazy Mad
Where: The Cornerhouse, Oxford Road
With a solo painting show entitled 'Magda Archer: Crazy Mad', the key to preparation is to perceive the unperceived. The blurb suggested a concoction of 1950s paraphernalia, with sections including 'I hate art' and a method of paining so painstaking, it made the artists eyes water. Rather than just peruse the paintings when the exhibition opened 26 June, I needed answers, a reason for this kaleidoscope of disparity. Meeting British artist Archer and Curator Mike Chavez Dawson on a sweltering Saturday afternoon, I ventured anxiously, to the second floor of the iconic Cornerhouse.
With a brief introduction by Dawson, citing philosopher Umberto Eco and artist Daniel Burren to explain the logic behind his presentation, we piled into a treasure trove of kitsch clutter that a seasoned hoarder would be proud of. Noting this uncanny replica of her studio was infact merely 5% of its true capacity, we were transported to the chaotic car-boot nirvana of Archers creative process. From a wall of Pez's, to an effigy of Christ in glitter, Archer taps into reviving memories, though not necessarily her own. Demonstrating that adults, though discard their childhoods, remain able to escape to their care-free youth via the medium of seemingly insignificant items - junk. A theatrical sight to behold, her stimuli accompanied by aptly eclectic tunes, unearthed our own childish frivolous excitement as to what lay behind the studio door, past the 'Tree of Happiness'.
Gushing at the song greeting us on entering the gallery, Archer set the tone for the tour. Her own cover version of 'Sugar Town' (by Nancy Sinatra, written by Lee Hazlewood in 1967) rendered the room, 'I want to live there, it disregards the humdrum of every day melancholy'.
Navigating the gallery, clusters of her works emerged. Narrative chapters that echoed a lack of excess and overproduction by the revealing of the direct links between her inspiration and artistic result. On a thrift shop frequency the viewer is empowered, and allowed to escape into the sphere of imagination.
From the random connections of 'text me, yeah' to the cemented themes of 'girls with names' Archer takes the viewer on a journey, on a visual and personal level, simulating our verve through cognitive reaction and she endeavours to circumnavigate the hidden.
Despite sounding a rollercoaster of psychedelic sickly sweet palettes and sporadic emotional epiphany's, Dawson summed up the exhibition perfectly with an a capella version of Shirley Ellis' Clapping Song (depicted in the 3.6.9 pieces); Archer wished to erase the disparity between what the work is and what is perceived 'there is no big secret'.
Yes, it was 'Crazy Mad', yet also a true voyage of discovery that can be as abstruse or as superficial as you wish to make it. Highly recommended.
Many of the pieces are now for sale within the exhibition. Contact Cornerhouse for details.