London’s annual art annual spectacle is upon us again. This year a selection of the work for sale at the Frieze Art Fair seems to be extrospective. As London opened its doors to the world, inviting visitors to the Olympic Games in the summer and again for Frieze itself, these artworks seem to use windows and doors, the portals of our built environment, as a way at look out at the world outside the fair and beyond, and perhaps invite it in. However, on the other hand, the windows and doors in these works are either closed or only partially open, like an immigration policy limiting the capacity of the marquee.
Window Vol III. from daily newspaper, January 2008 (2008) by Jan Manuska
Jan Mancuska’s Window Vol III. from daily newspaper, January 2008 (2008) on the Meyer Riegger stand is a ponderous physical construction of a pair of windows rendered with a vanishing point. Viewed from the edge of the stand as in the above photograph, they appear to be nothing more than windows, but from front on they are a conjoined work, getting increasingly taller the further you go in, contorting or elongating a space, depending on which way they are viewed. The handles have even been custom made to have diagonal edges to match.
So, it’s show time for the art world in London. Across the fairs and events visited thus far it seems there are trends for colourful work in bold primary and secondary colours and for textured work.
These themes began to emerge at the Pavilion of Art & Design London, where works for sale particularly include a number of pieces by Agostino Bonalumi on Galerie Vedovi’s stand, which build geometric patterns by stretching the canvas over various obstacles, some slashed work by Lucio Fontana, several Antoni Tàpies relief paintings, and a collection of collages by Roy Lichtenstein plus a design for a contemporary tapestry. Here there seemed to be a particular choice of works with texture as the fair also contains a number of design stands, whilst the majority of work for sale is mid twentieth century.
At the Frieze Art Fair, Marc Quinn has left his Fingerprints all over Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac’s stand. Indicating personal identity, authorship and uniqueness, the coloured version of this relief work seems to highlight the bacteria we may come in contact with in our daily lives, each secreting itself in a different groove in the texture of the finger print.
- Fingerprints by Marc Quinn at Frieze Art Fair
Magali Reus’ Balance Sheet series on Galerie Fons Welters’ stand contrasts roughly textured silicon rubber with shiny, smooth aluminium grilles.
- Balance Sheet Series (2011) by Magali Reus at Frieze Art Fair
Nick van Woert’s Not Yet Titled 7 (2011) on Yvon Lambert’s stand references Liam Gillick’s work and acts as a room divider almost akin to Richard Serra’s Titled Arc (1981), but is partially transparent. A series of equal blocks are stacked horizontally, each containing different textured materials in different bold colours, including liquids, loft insulation, wire wool, chippings and powder.
- Not Yet Titled 7 (2011) by Nick van Woert at Frieze Art Fair
A theme emerged amongst a selection of the graduates in the Royal College of Art MA Show’s Sculpture Building of making works about the flow of light and this seems to have flowed out of this institution to the wider London art scene.
Untitled (Vents1&2) (2011) by Brendan Giles
Brendan Giles‘ works at the RCA, Untitled (Vents 1&2) are sculptures of vents in which only selected slats are open and exist whilst the rest is solid. This creates an asymmetric pattern of lines where a little daylight can be seen hitting the wall behind the work, like some of Liam Gillick’s sculptural pieces that divide space. Perhaps, however, Giles’ works are actually more about the flow of air in and out of city buildings with vast air conditioning systems.
Oscillator-Aerator (2011) by Sara Knowland
Sara Knowland’s Oscillator-Aerator at the Royal Academy Schools Show bares a similar form but in wood painted grey rather than plaster and seems to directly reference the form of Julian Opie’s H (1987).