Frieze London 2022 – Better Than Ever

Yesterday morning, on the first regular (non-VIP) open day of Frieze London 2022. I was among the first visitors to enter the gigantic premises, which will welcome art aficionados until this Sunday, 16 October.

HOUSE-KEEPING

Unless you see a reference to the artwork discussed in the caption below the picture, the pictures are not related to that particular section of the blog post. I basically took a lot of pictures of random artwork before I sat down and wrote this article.

GIGANTIC IN SIZE

As in previous years, the size of this art fair is simply breath-taking and at times intimidating. How on earth would a mere mortal with other tasks such as working, eating, breathing, and sleeping on their plate, ever be able to even only briefly eyeball all artworks.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE

Luckily, as everybody knows, there are three exceptions to the day-time drinking ban: airports, family get-togethers, and art fairs. I walked straight to one of the bars and got myself a glass of sparkly. The task ahead already started to look a lot less intimidating. We can do this, I half-heartedly reassured myself. Let’s enjoy this place while we’re here!

 

HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU NEED FOR FRIEZE LONDON 2022?

I ended up spending a whole six hours at Frieze London 2022 (and I’ll be back again tomorrow). Most people will probably be able to make it worth their while, without rushing things, in three hours or so. This does, of course, not include Frieze Masters, for which you should reserve an equal amount of time.

TICKETS

The tickets were priced the highest for yesterday/Thursday. Prices are lower for today/Friday, and the best value for the weekend, going down from £145 to £56. Wednesday was invitation-only. If on any day open to the general public, you’d choose to go after 2pm, you’d save another £10 to £15. For those planning to visit both Frieze London and Frieze Masters, the combined tickets are good value. For example the weekend combined ticket costs £84.

BOOKING FEE, DISCOUNTS FOR FRIEZE LONDON 2022

A £5 booking fee is being added on top of any ticket cost and discounts for students and children are available. Multi-entry and VIP tickets cost significantly more. Every year, there is always an early bird discount.

 

A BIT ABOUT FRIEZE, THE COMPANY…

According to their website, Frieze is the “world’s leading platform for modern and contemporary art for scholars, connoisseurs, collectors and the general public alike. Frieze comprises three magazines, frieze, Frieze Masters Magazine, and Freeze Week – and five international art fairs – Frieze London, Frieze Masters, Frieze New York, Frieze Los Angeles, and Frieze Seoul. In October 2021, Frieze launched No. 9 Cork Street, a hub for visiting international galleries in the heart of Mayfair, London. Frieze is part of the IMG network […], a global leader in sports, fashion, events, and media.”

…AND FRIEZE LONDON 2022, THE ART FAIR

Frieze London has been around for almost 20 years. It was founded by childhood friends Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp, who created Frieze magazine. Eva Langret is the Director of Frieze London.

Frieze London is one of the world’s biggest and most influential contemporary art fairs. It shows almost exclusively living artists that are innovative and not merely continuing existing traditions. The fair takes place each October in Regent’s Park. 2022 involves 165 galleries, very similar to previous years. Each year a panel of gallerists who exhibited at the latest Frieze, select who gets to exhibit at the next Frieze. There are always a large number of galleries who apply.

 

FRIEZE MASTERS, FRIEZE SCULPTURE

Frieze London coincides with and is only a short walk away from its sister fair, Frieze Masters, which shows art made before the year 2000. Next-door Frieze Sculpture is a sculpture garden open to everyone.

35,000 VISITORS IN FIVE DAYS

Every year, some 35,000 people, approximately the population of the town of Windsor, visit Frieze London. Most of the visitors are art lovers from all types of backgrounds. If you exclude the ‘Editions’ section, which offers ‘affordable art’ such as prints and reproductions of sculptures, then less than 20 percent of visitors are buying art.

 

COLLECTORS ARE A MINORITY AT FRIEZE LONDON 2022

Collectors and industry professionals such as curators, museum representatives, and gallerists are a minority. There also always seem to be plenty of crazed little children running around the artworks, giving everyone a good fright.

MONEY MONEY MONEY

Galleries pay around £35,000 for a 70sqm/750sqft exhibition space. Many of the big names have much larger spaces, and several of them. In order to make the fair worth their while, they need to sell a fair few expensive works.

For the most part, the major sales happen during the first few hours of the fair. Often literally during the first hour. Unfortunately this means that some of the art will be immediately replaced with other, often less impressive works, that have not been sold yet. But never mind.

 

WEAK POUND, CONTINUED INTERNATIONAL INTEREST

An extremely weak pound and continued international interest created a favourable atmosphere this year. There is no Cost of Living Crisis for the world’s elites. The rich are rapidly getting even richer. Many of them are discovering the art markets for their investments. Gallery owners reported a high number of first-time buyers. There were long queues during the VIP opening. Some millionaires had to wait for more than half an hour, before splashing out at Frieze London 2022.

 

SIX MILLION DOLLARS FOR A SINGLE PAINTING

The deals done to date include a Kerry James Marshall painting being sold for a cool USD 6,000,000, and a Luc Tuymans painting sold for USD 2,000,000, both by David Zwirner, a piece by Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui being sold by Goodman Gallery for an amazing USD 2,500,000, as well as a painting by Georg Baselitz being sold by Thaddaeus Ropac for USD 1,320,000.

Sprüth Magers cashed a George Condo painting in for USD 1,550,000 while Xavier Hufkens realised USD 1,080,000 with a Tracey Emin painting.

Interestingly, some works changed hands for as little as USD 3,000 at Frieze London 2022. This does not include the Editions section, where you can get a print for a mere hundred quid. Even some reasonably established artists such as Iranian Sonia Balassanian had pieces sold for as little as USD 35,000.

JADE FADOJUTIMI’S PAINTINGS HAD BEEN SOLD OUT BEFORE FRIEZE LONDON OPENED

While I’m personally no fan of the British abstract painter Jadé Fadojutimi, kudos to the 29-year-old for getting all of her exhibited seven monumental paintings sold by Gagosian before the fair even started. Persistent rumours say that each work was sold for around GBP 500,000, which sounds absolutely insane. However, the lady is known to have collected six-figure sums for her paintings before. This supports the often-stated view that the market is hot for ‘wet paintings’, i.e. works from young, upcoming artists.

 

CELEBRITIES

As you’d expect, many celebrities visit the fair each year. This time around, Princess Beatrice, tennis star Maria Sharapova, former chancellor Rishi Sunak, and actor Jared Leto are just a few of the well-known names that showed their faces.

Then there are of course many famous artists. Unfortunately I didn’t spot anyone this time around. Might well have had to do with the fact that I focused on the art, not on the people. Last year I saw Yinka Shonibare, which was fun. He discussed his artwork with one of the gallery owners and luckily has a reasonably loud voice plus clear diction.

BEST APPROACH FOR FRIEZE LONDON 2022

I find that a systematic approach works best for me. You start on one side of the rectangular exhibition area. Then walk the alleyway all the way to the far side alongside the tent walls. When you reach the end of the path, you find the next, parallel alleyway, and walk that one all the way back. And so on.

 

DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME ON GALLERIES THAT DON’T CATCH YOUR ATTENTION

Needless to say that you should take your time to explore the areas between those long alleyways. In order not to waste any time, I often dismissed certain galleries very quickly. Nothing catches the eye? Don’t bother. This gives you more time to immerse yourself into the art you love. I regularly spent five minutes and more around a single piece, fifteen minutes on a gallery that caught my attention.

MAKE SURE YOU ENJOY YOURSELF – NO RUSHING THINGS

A visit to Frieze London 2022 is supposed to be fun. So don’t rush things. It’s better to miss out on a few works, rather than stress yourself. Take breaks. Have a coffee and a cake. Chat with other visitors or with the friendly gallery owners (unless they are busy trying to sell the art to some high-calibre collector).

THE GALLERIES

Everyone’s taste in art is different. Half the stuff I fall in love with at first sight, looks revolting to Ellie, and the other way round. That’s good and healthy. No doubt. Ellie & I usually each have a list of a dozen galleries we know we like. We had been to some of their exhibitions and enjoyed them.

We also both have a few shared interests in themes such as installations, multi-media, or, for example, Korean art. That said, we never mark our respective art fair paper maps with ‘X’es or anything. You’ll know if you like it, when you see it.

 

SIXTY PERCENT OF ALL GALLERIES ARE EUROPEAN

Out of 165 galleries, almost 60% are European, one quarter are American, one eighth Asian, 2.5% are African, and none are from Australia/Pacific. The latter is perhaps my only regret, because Ellie & I absolutely love the art scene in Sydney. Luckily we’ll get to indulge ourselves separately in a month’s time during our next visit down under.

OVER A QUARTER ARE FROM THE UK, OVER A FIFTH FROM THE U.S.

In terms of countries, 27% of exhibitors are from the UK, 22% from the U.S., 10% from Germany. The next best-represented country is France with a mere 3.5%. The more exotic countries include Lebanon and Peru with two galleries each (1.2%), and Iran, Kosovo, the Philippines, Guatemala, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam with one gallery each (0.6%).

ONLY ONE JAPANESE GALLERY, NONE FROM SWITZERLAND

I was surprised to see only one Japanese gallery and none from Switzerland. The Americas are only represented with five countries, Africa with two. In comparison: Asia has a whole thirteen countries accounted for, of which four are Middle Eastern. There are sixteen European ones present.

ONE QUARTER OF GALLERIES HAVE LINKS TO ASIA

When you look at all the branches of the galleries, not just their main base, you’ll find that almost one quarter of all galleries operate at least one exhibition space in Asia. Just under 10% are present in China and/or Hong Kong, 7% in South Korea. A positive thing, in my view.

 

FOCUS SECTION

Just like last year, Frieze London 2022 contains a large section called ‘Focus’ which celebrates emerging art scenes from around the world. It is open to galleries that are not older than 12 years. This year those galleries exhibit relatively unknown artists who explore themes of displacement, universal truth, surveillance, and more.

MARCIN DUDEK, MICHAEL HO

Marcin Dudek (Edel Assanti) looks at the ‘politics of space’ and ‘identity and space’, mixing together hooliganism and the architecture of social experience. His installation ‘Control Room’ recreates the security surveillance hub of a stadium during historic riots. Michael Ho’s (Gallery Vacancy) works investigate the experience of the Chinese diaspora, cultural mismatch, and subsequently cultural rediscovery.

GABRIEL ACEVEDO VELARDE, SELOME MULETA

Gabriel Acevedo Velarde (80M2 Livia Benavides) and his works are aiming to uncover hidden elements within the relationships among society, culture, and power. Selome Muleta (Addis Fine Art) is an exciting young, female, Ethiopian artist. The colour-laden scenes of her paintings often show women caught in deep thought.

 

MAHMOUD KHALED, JENNIFER CARVALHO

Mahmoud Khaled (Gypsum) records the presence of marginalised bodies through absence. His work is about the burden of nostalgia and government-sanctioned processes of constructing collective memories. Jennifer Carvalho’s (Helena Anrather) painting practice aims to draw a line between contemporary crises and history.

JOY LABINJO, PEGGY AHWESH, RANIA STEPHAN

Joy Labinjo’s (Tiwani Contemporary) large-scale figurative paintings often depict contemporary and historical scenes of every-day life. Peggy Ahwesh’s (Microscope) video sculptures, 360 degree touchscreen videos, and pigment prints address issues of cultural identity, displacement, news events, and the role of our hyper-connected society. Rania Stephan’s (Marfa) short films, videos and documentaries offer a personal perspective on political events in her native Lebanon. Chance encounters are captured with humour and compassion.

   

Ghada Amer’s ‘I can do better in heels’, Mire Lee’s ‘Surface with many holes:

concrete nets I’, Kim Tschang-Yeul’s ‘Waterdrops’

TINA KIM GALLERY (F05)

My favourite exhibition space this year was New York’s Tina Kim Gallery. Would I have the financial resources, I would’ve bought every last one of the works. This is precisely the type of art I enjoy. Fresh, loud, thought-provoking, quirky, decorative, with some allusions (at least in my mind) to pop art and dada, and often using unusual manufacturing techniques and materials.

 

PACITA ABAD

Philippine artist Pacita Abad, who once resided in Washington, D.C., died in 2004. She is renowned for her so-called padded trapunto canvases. The term ‘trapunto’ comes from the Italian word “to embroider.” Artists paint their work on the canvas and then apply a layer of cotton batting and a layer of backing.

On the painted face of the canvas, after stitching, recycled objects like beads, shells, traditional cloth, mirrors, or plastic buttons are attached to the canvas. As usual, the colours of the trapuntos on display were vibrant. Faces (1983), my favourite, shows a tribal mask.

 

Left: Pacita Abad’s ‘Faces’; right: Mire Lee, ‘Endless House’

GHADA AMER – DEPICTIONS FROM PORNOGRAPHY TURNED FEMINIST

U.S.-based, Egyptian artist Ghada Amer’s ‘I can do better in heels’ (2022) was another highlight. It involves embroidery and gel medium on canvas. While I believe there was no such connection with regards to this piece, I like that Amer often takes women’s depictions from pornography and then turns them into a feminist statement. ‘Heels’ simply looks very cool.

 

SUKI SEOKYEONG KANG

Suki Seokyeong Kang’s ‘Tender Meander – face #20-02’ (2016-2020) consists of “assembled units: painted steel, thread on dyed mesh laundry bag, wire, thread, tree trunk, leather scraps, nail, wooden wheels.” How could you look at this cute sculpture and not fall in love with it.

MIRA LEE AND ALIEN SKULLS

Youngster (b. 1988) Mire Lee’s ‘Endless House’ (2021), concrete, motor, peristaltic pump, silicone, pigmented silicone oil, glycerine, fabric, silicone foam and other mixed media, which looks a bit like a giant alien skull, and ‘Surface with many holes: concrete nets I’ (2022), latex, burlap jute, pigmented silicone oil, concrete, reminded me of some works by Beuys respectively Tapies.

 

ALIEN INTESTINES

Two of my all-time greats. So there we had another two winners. Lee’s ‘Endless House: Harlequin Baby’ (2022), which looks like ripped up alien intestines on a frame with wires, might not be easy on the eye, but I still found the piece profoundly fascinating.

SANDHINI PODDAR’S ‘INDRA’S NET’

Sandhini Poddar, the Adjunct Curator at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, created this year’s special section, Indra’s Net. The Frieze website explains that the term is derived from Buddhist and Hindu thought. It refers to an ethics of being in which an individual atom holds within it the structure of reality.

Indra’s Net features ten works scattered throughout the fair. It features artists including Eddie Rodolfo Aparicio, Oscar Santillan, Clarissa Tossin, Dorothy Cross, Jamilah Sabur, Martha Atienza, Claudia Andujar, and the following two.

 

Left: Claudia Martínez Garay’s ‘El Creador’; right: Cecilia Vicuña’s ‘Caracol Azul’

CLAUDIA MARTINEZ GARAY, GRIMM, INDRA’S NET (IN11)

Claudia Martínez Garay’s ‘El Creador’ (The Creator, 2019), basically a pile of dirt with a few Pre-Colombian looking artefacts stuck in it, might not be the right piece for your living room. That said, it was certainly one of the more memorable pieces at Frieze London 2022. 39-year old Martinez Garay, who lives and works between Amsterdam and Lima, is being quoted in the Frieze brochure saying “my art speculates on the blank or erased spaces left by colonialism and conflict and is an invitation for discussion.”

CECILIA VICUNA, ‘CARACOL AZUL (BLUE SNAIL)’ AT LEHMANN MAUPIN (F2)

At Lehmann Maupin, the space is dominated by Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña’s ‘Caracol Azul (Blue Snail)’ (2017). It is a wool sculpture that extends almost five metres. The piece alludes to the cultural sanctity of unspun wool in the Andes. Vicuña’s fascination with natural materials shows in most of her work. Her work is simultaneously on view at the Venice Biennale and Tate Modern, where her commission for its Turbine Hall was opened ten days ago.

 

TERESITA FERNANDEZ’S ‘ARCHIPELAGO (CERVIX)’, GALLERY LEHMANN MAUPIN (F2)

Fernandez’s ‘Archipelago (Cervix)’ (2020) is a striking wall relief made of visceral charcoal. It resembles a portal. From the tombstone we learn that ever since the 1950s, Puerto Rico has been ‘an island laboratory for the U.S. eugenics programme, wherein women have been used for contraceptive testing and often sterilised as a result. Archipelago (Cervix) links human exploitation of the land (charred wood) and the body (women’s oppression) as witnessed in the Caribbean. Fernandez poignantly asks, <How do we decolonise our minds?>’ I also enjoyed her piece ‘Apparition (Neon)’ (2022).

GALLERY HYUNDAI (B3)

One work in particular at Hyundai sticks with me: Shin Sung-Hy’s ‘Peinture Spatiale’ (2000), an acrylic on canvas. Four layers of canvas. On each of the top three layers, the canvas has been cut and ripped in a way where one bit still sticks to the layer. Then the free ends of the canvas have been knotted together all over the 204cm x 204cm space. The lowest layer of canvas remained intact. A mesmerizing 3D effect.

OTHER INTERESTING GALLERIES

Paula Rego’s puppet-sculpture at Victoria Miro (C17) of a half-bald, little girl with gouged-out eyes and a bleeding mouth dangling from the ceiling on a rope is unlikely to end up in a collector’s bedroom, but pretty memorable.

  

Sue Williamson’s ‘Truth Games’; Paula Rego’s puppet-sculpture at Victoria Miro

GIANT PUMPKINS, BARBARIAN FRUITS, AND TRUTH GAMES

Thomas Dane Gallery (E5)’s Giant Pumpkins No. 1 and 4 (both 2022) by Anthea Hamilton are popular with the crowd. I also liked their ‘Red Me’ by Rita Keegan (1986), Philipp King’s ‘Barbarian Fruit’ (1964) (I am a Barbarian after all), Alexandre da Cunha’s ‘Balls, Mandarin’ (2020) and most of the other artwork. Goodman Gallery (E3) features Sue Williamson’s ‘Truth Games: Mrs Jansen – can never forgive – Afrika Hlapo’ (1998), Candice Breitz’s ‘A History of White People’ (no year given), and El Anatsui’s ‘Sovereignty’ (2021).

 

Gerrit-Frohne Brinkmann’s ‘Schmutzige Papageien’; Becky KolsrudUntitled (Skeleton Bather)’

DIRTY PARROTS, KNOTS, AND HANDS

Matthew Marks Gallery (F3) has various interesting works, such as ‘Knoten (Knot)’ (2020) and ‘Hand (Menetekel)’ (2020) by Katharina Fritsch, and Rebecca Warren’s ‘Los Hadeans VIII’ (2017). Gerrit-Frohne Brinkmann’s ‘Schmutzige Papageien’ (‘Dirty Parrots’, 2018) at Galerie Noah Klink (H35) is a hilarious installation.

   

Raul de Nieves ‘Reach Out And Touch’; Francesca DiMattio’s ‘Cowboy Attic Ware’

RAUL DE NIEVES, ZOE PAUL, FRANCESCA DIMATTIO

Raul de Nieves ‘Reach Out And Touch’ (2022), concentric circles made of gloves, at Moran Moran Gallery (G28) looks at the bare minimum very decorative. ‘Blank’ (G27) had a great large-scale piece by Zoe Paul on display (I can’t remember the title of the work). Until 22 October her solo exhibition at No. 9 Cork Street will be open, so I might pop over there during a lunch break. Francesca DiMattio’s ‘Cowboy Attic Ware’ (2022) at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery (G19) looked very fun.

 

Art at Athr

SAUDI ARABIAN GALLERY ATHR

Saudi Arabian gallery Athr (G24) has some interesting works, including several by Ahmed Mater. Project 88 (G23) was a lot of fun, too. Among others they have a small installation called ‘Gaze under your skin’ by Amol Patil (2020), basically two bronze shells of feet, filled with sand that is slowly moving around inside. Blindspot Gallery (H21) has some 25 plastic cups dangling from the ceiling at around eye height, that were half-full with water. Courtesy of Hong Kong-based Trevor Yeung.

 

‘Gaze under your skin’ by Amol Patil; plastic cups by Trevor Yeung

THE ALL-TIME GREATS

If you’re looking for all-time greats, Thaddaeus Ropac (B7) boasts Antony Gormley’s ‘Lounge II’ (2019). Goodman Gallery (E3) shows Yinka Shonibare’s ‘Fabric Bronze (Red, Yellow, Blue)’ (2022). I spotted Hirsts, Baselitzes, Emins, and plenty of other all-time greats.

 

Yinka Shonibare’s ‘Fabric Bronze (Red, Yellow, Blue)’, Baselitz painting

I ACCIDENTALLY BUMPED INTO A ROGUE ARTIST

A few hours into my Frieze safari, I was getting a tad tired, when suddenly something grabbed my attention. Right in front of me, there was a young gentleman, no older than in his very early twenties, dressed up like someone from Facilities, with a neon-coloured hoodie with reflector bands on it and a baseball cap.

 

Antony Gormley’s ‘Lounge II’; the vigilante artist

He was attaching a piece of artwork to the wall, as well as a small caption. It read: “Oil Painting, Used fish and chip paper on wooden stretcher, Dion Kitson, signed on reverse, £26,000.”

Perhaps a bit of a steep price for what it was? Something else didn’t feel right. Why a solitary piece of art on this otherwise art-free, rather narrow corridor wall? Furthermore, the good man seemed apprehensive, was looking over his shoulder, avoided eye contact, and soon appeared to be on a pretend-phone call on his mobile.

Was this some Banksy-type vigilante artist attaching his own artwork to some random wall at the Frieze? You bet it was. How cool, I thought. I started taking pictures of the artist. After a short while, he walked over to me and introduced himself as Dion Kitson. I introduced myself and we exchanged links to our respective websites before taking a quick selfie.

Want to find out more about Dion? Check out my interview with him here.

 

Dion Kitson caught in the act; the two of us taking a selfie

EMMA TALBOT – BRAND NEW ARTIST-LED PROJECT

Emma Talbot is showcasing a new work at the fair that stretches the length of the entrance corridor. Titled ‘21st Century Herbal’, a painted silk piece, it is based on ‘herbals’, the medieval, illustrated manuscripts, that describe the healing properties of plants.

AWARDS, PRIZES, TALKS

One thing I like a lot about Frieze, is that they take their responsibility towards young talent seriously.

 

‘Oil Painting’ by Dion Kitson;

2022 FRIEZE ARTIST AWARD WINNER ABBAS ZAHEDI

2022 Frieze Artist Award winner Abbas Zahedi realised an ambitious new commission which is located just outside the main entrance. The installation consists of a wooden structure, co-designed with Bassam Ibellini, Harley Gray, and Neurofringe. Over the course of the fair, this structure is hosting a series of live activations. Each of those activations is going to be broadcast, via a DIY radio, both online and into the art fair.

Zahedi also appeared in conversation with Miriam Zulfiqar, Director of Artangel, yesterday at No. 9 Cork Street. In addition there are a large number of other talks with further artists.

FURTHER SUPPORT SCHEMES FOR ARTISTS

There are various other awards and prizes, all of which are very cool. To name just a few: the Contemporary Art Society’s Collection Fund, which is designed to support the acquisition of significant contemporary works for Contemporary Art Society Museum members across the UK. Then there is the Frieze Tate Fund, that will provide £150,000 for the acquisition of works by emerging and leading international artists at Frieze for Tate’s collection.

 

THE CAMDEN ART CENTRE EMERGING ARTIST PRIZE

The winner of the Camden Art Centre Emerging Artist Prize at Frieze was announced during Frieze London 2022: Marina Xenofontos. The Cypriot-born, Athens-based artist, represented by Hot Wheels Athens, will realise a solo exhibition at Camden Art Centre next year. I liked her piece “But we’ve met before.”

Tenant of Culture (gallery Soft Opening, London) was the last recipient of the prize and had a major solo installation at Camden Art Centre, which finished last month. Previous winners of the award are Wong Ping (Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong) and Julien Creuzet (High Art Paris). The annual prize is now in its fourth year and always goes to an emerging artist under the age of 40 and exhibited at the Focus section of Frieze London.

FRIEZE DEUTSCHE BANK EMERGING CURATORS FELLOWSHIP

Launched two years ago, the initiative aims to increase representation, accessibility, and social mobility within the arts. This Fellowship brings together organisations across the private and non-profit sectors and artists. It gives the Fellows an opportunity to grow and deepen curatorial practice within the UK’s leading public art institutions.

CURATORIAL FELLOWS AMINA JAMA AND ABBAS ZAHEDI

On the occasion of Frieze London 2022, fellowship alumni Amina Jama, Curatorial Fellow at Chisenhale Gallery, and Kinnari Saraiya, Curatorial Fellow at the BALTIC Center for Contemporary Art, are each presenting a project. Amima Jama collaborated with this year’s Frieze Artist Award winner, Abbas Zahedi. As part of the activations accompanying his commission, he is broadcasting a poetry reading by Jama online and into the fair via DIY radio.

 

TRAVELING CINEMAS

Kinnari Saraiya is presenting ‘Prequel / Sequel’, a project involving a digital Bioscope screening a selection of films. A traditional Bioscope is a form of traveling cinema, functioning through a reel of images that are cranked by hand. This is done to create the illusion of moving film. Bioscopes became popular in the 1890s in much of the developing world and are still used in India today.

PROTECTING SIMPLE VALUES

The project, as Kinnari describes, “is an attempt to hold on to the ingrained presence of these traveling cinemas, the experience of watching films in the interstices of everyday life with an organic unity of communal experiences. It is an attempt to protect its simple values as passed down to me in oral accounts by a generation that witnessed its decline.” (Quoted from the Frieze press release.)

GUIDED TOURS

Frieze London 2022 offers guided tours. I didn’t check them out. But judging from how well everything is organised, I feel comfortable recommending them. The sheer amount of artworks can feel more than a little overwhelming. You’ll find more information about this on the Frieze website.

DANGLING DICKS AND…

One painting, shown at Frieze London, has received a lot of praise for being ‘of true art historical significance’ (ARTnews). African-American painter Emma Amos, who died two years ago, created ‘Work Suit’ in 1994, just after she had visited the landmark Lucian Freud retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The piece features Amos’s head on top of a nude version of Freud’s body. She was making the point that in order to be accepted into art history, you usually have to be a white, straight man.

   

Left: no vaginas, sorry; middle: ‘Work Suit’ by Emma Amos; right: finally, something

…GAPING VAGINAS

The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones only gave the art fair a miserable 2 out of 5 this year. He openly bemoans the lack of sleaze. And yes, much fewer of the ‘gaping vaginas’ I wrote about last year, in this year’s edition.

5 OUT OF 5

However, if your focus is not so much on female genitals, but on art, then I’d highly recommend visiting Frieze London 2022. Or, of course, next year’s Frieze London. I still counted 57 vaginas, even though I’ll readily admit that next to none of them were proper gaping ones.

I’ve always greatly enjoyed the fair, but this year’s fair was the best so far, in my view. This year’s fair gave so many young and overlooked artists a shot. I also felt that the curated parts and the ‘Focus’ section were far more intriguing than in previous years. There was more serious, actual art, and much less of the gimmicky stuff. Perhaps there was too much political correctness, but still: 5 out of 5 in my book.

Looking for more things to do in and around London? Feel welcome to eyeball my posts about Sculpture In The City 2022, the Tapies exhibition at Nahmad Projects, the Frameless immersive art experience, Henry Moore Studios and Gardens, The Game Is Now, the Sherlock Holmes escape room experience, the Bread Ahead French baking course, and a motocross taster session.

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2 Comments

  1. What a wonderfully informative article, Stefan! Although I cannot see myself attending the Frieze London in person, I enjoy seeing the variety of artwork when I read your articles. It’s crazy to me for how much some of those pieces ended up selling.

    1. Thank you for this lovely comment, Becky, it’s really appreciated. Yes, I was particularly puzzled by that 29yo’s paintings going for a cool half mill each, crazy money, right… 🙂

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