Frieze Week is upon us, and at this year’s Frieze London, three prominent themes rise to the fore:
- Reflections and responses to worldwide political uncertainty;
- A more prominent range of work by women artists and a celebration of female fortitude (one of the themes for the curated part of the fair is ‘Social Work’, which follows on from last year’s theme of ‘Sex Work’ and refers in large part to the work of women); and
- New approaches to traditional craft and applied arts techniques, which include tapestry, woven and stitched textiles, glass painting, and draughtsmanship — as well as painting and sculpture that use traditional methods like brass and ceramics.
At Frieze Masters, galleries present their usual eclectic mix, which ranges from the most prominent figures in art history, to the market’s unsung heroes. This year, some of the larger galleries have dedicated their entire space to the work of individual artists, including Man Ray and Barbara Hepworth. The Gallery of Everything, a champion of Outsider art, dedicates its stand to Art & Revolution in Haiti and the birth of a black surrealism. In an unusual and exciting new direction, Hauser & Wirth and Moretti Fine Art have teamed up to create a stunning juxtaposition between paintings by Old Masters with work by leading 20th-century painters.
See below for our pick of the most outstanding works on view and booths to see.
1. Galerie Peter Kilchmann
The largest work on view at Peter Kilchmann takes the form of an installation called “The Urinals of History” by artist Vlassis Caniaris. The artist explores the impact of contemporary culture on Greece’s heritage, traditions and background. This piece unites two of the key themes identified at this year’s Frieze: traditional craft techniques and political discourse.
2. Galerie Rudiger Schottle
The showstopper on view at Galerie Schottle is a wool tapestry by artist Goshka Macuga, featuring an imagined futuristic scene. A light-hearted title, “Make Tofu Not War,” belies a serious vision. In this version of reality, humans dressed as animals, set against a partially destroyed woodland scene, voice their environmental and political concerns. In terms of technique, Macuga updates the traditional tapestry format with intelligent colors, creating a new and exciting take on the traditional craft piece.
3. Lisson Gallery
Among the work on show from Lisson is a work from Susan Hiller’s significant early series. In a row of photographs and words that cover a wall in steps, Hiller documents her pregnancy, month by month. She uses photographs of her belly to demonstrate her physical journey, which she places beside transcriptions from her journal to convey her contemporaneous thoughts.
4. Alison Jacques Gallery
With presentations in both Frieze London and Frieze Masters, Alison Jacques Gallery focuses heavily on approaches to traditional skills. Works on show include vibrant and protuberant versions of traditional Japanese ceremonial teaware, a tactile wall hanging made from oversized bunches of mauve embroidery thread, jewelry by photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and photorealist drawings by Dan Fischer.
5. Andrew Kreps Gallery
On view at Andrew Kreps Gallery are works in two significant categories for this year’s Frieze. The first is Andrea Bowers’ “Believe Women,” a timely showing for this work of art made earlier this year, which shows two men in suits holding a banner reading “believe women” under a woman who has adopted a savior-like posture as she places a comforting hand on each of the men’s shoulders. Kreps also presents soap bars imprinted with sections from a book by Darren Bader, an artist who regularly mixes media in his practice to create unlikely and unexpected works.
ShanghART’s display this year focuses on a body of work by artist Ouyang Chun. “Detritus 1999/2013” is comprised of “Garbage Assemblage,” a group of 62 individually framed photographs documenting lost objects, and “Volcanic Ash,” 973 individual bronze sculptures that feature everyday objects such as keys and small toys. The name “Volcanic Ash” hints at natural disaster and utilizes an ancient crafts technique. The work is reminiscent of the images of ocean plastic and the detritus of today’s throwaway culture. The idea that they could have been discovered amid volcanic ash, swept up along with butterflies and fish, leaves viewers with an unsettling feeling.
7. Carl Freedman Gallery, Margate
This Margate gallery places a heavy focus on the applied arts, with prominence given to the irregular, organic and vaguely anthropomorphic ceramic works by Sebastian Stöhrer, and sculptural loom-woven hangings by Ann Cathrin November Høibo, who mixes natural fibers in muted tones with brightly colored and man-made materials.
8. Sommer Contemporary Art
The wry, sardonic work displayed by Sommer Contemporary Art includes a large text-based work, which appears from a distance to be printed, but on closer inspection is hand-drawn, and questions the nature of selling art. Other work on display includes sculptural collages made from everyday objects assembled to form highly anthropomorphic figures with witty titles that suggest a level of humorous social judgement.
1. Moretti Fine Art x Hauser & Wirth
In one of this year’s most Instagram-able booths, Moretti Fine Art and Hauser & Wirth team up to invite conversations about art by young artists in relation to works by Old Masters. Old Masters have been revisited time and again in 2018 by popular culture with the likes of Jay Z, Beyonce, and Victoria Beckham. This new revitalization is worth talking about.
This year, Gagosian dedicates their whole space to work by Man Ray, with stunning lighting that complements installations of work made with found objects and photographic experimentation. This booth is a must-see for any Man Ray fan.
3. Galerie Canesso
With a higher volume of Old Masters dealers exhibiting at Frieze Masters this year, Paris’ Galerie Canesso is one of the galleries leading the pack. Their key masterpiece, a larger-than-life depiction of Salome with the head of John the Baptist by Francesco Rustici, or Il Rustichino (1692-1626) is an imposing reminder of the power of Renaissance artists.
Dickinson takes experiencing work in situ to a new level, with a total recreation of the essence of the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, with Hepworth’s organic sculptures nestled amid the fresh greenery that so inspired the artist.
5. Soda Gallery
Bratislava’s Soda Gallery presents a body of work by the legendary Slovakian artist, Stano Filko. Filko’s work reflected many of the major artistic trends of his age, and this booth demonstrates a fascination with space exploration. As well as substance, this booth has a monochromatic sensory appeal, which transcends material and media.
6. The Gallery of Everything
Each year, The Gallery of Everything presents an entirely unexpected display to Frieze Masters, and brings something new to a global understanding of art history. In this year’s booth, the gallery explores vivid Outsider art from Haiti, which is accompanied by a series of talks about black surrealism.