This was my first visit to Frieze London and I was a bit unsure what to expect. I knew that there were over 160 galleries exhibiting, however, I completely under estimated the sheer size of this exhibition and I can barely begin to imagine the extent of the organisation required to make such an event happen.
I will say though that there were aspects of this exhibition I was disappointed with. We had been lead to believe that the displays in such an exhibition were something to aspire to, however it was very clear that a lot of galleries were not completely organised or ready for the opening of the exhibition. There were many pieces of artwork that were simply not labelled, others where the labelling had I suppose not been done, so the galleries wrote the artist names on the walls in pencil. Some galleries had handouts describing the work they were exhibiting and many had no handouts whatsoever.
We were lead to believe there would be catalogues freely available with curatorial introductions. The galleries did have these, however they did not want to hand them out. In terms of information gathering, this made it somewhat difficult.
Friday 6th October 2017 – Frieze London
Frieze London features more than 160 of the world’s leading galleries. View and buy art from over 1,000 of today’s leading artists, and experience the fair’s critically acclaimed Frieze Projects and Talks programmes
The following pieces, I found to be particularly interesting.
The first piece that caught my attention
is called Map 1 by Alexandra Bricken
and was made in 2016 from Cotton,
Polyester and Silk.
Alexandra Bircken’s unmonumental stretcher frame sculptures are informed by her background in fashion design and interest in the radical aspects of handmade culture. A fragmentary array of irregular objects and organic shapes, often coloured by the artist, is hung and displayed on strings and aluminium rods.
The Hinged View by Olafur Elliason created interesting optical effects and was a mesmerising piece to view.
Olafur Eliasson created the beloved sun in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, and this work possesses a similar capacity to make you gasp. Six glass orbs sit on elegant black stands. Approach from one side and they are completely black, but then as you walk past they magically turn into the rainbow colours.
You see yourself upside down within the balls, which conjures the idea of the eye, and images (made of light) being inverted when they hit the retina. Then, as you continue walking to the other side, another magical change: the colour drains and the balls appear to become clear glass.
No artist is better at creating sensory wonder through distilling scientific ideas, and this take on the nature of vision is, well, visionary.
The fragments of rock from the moon were quite interesting to me, given that at this moment in time I am considering recording land mass through the use of a profile or object that relates to a country.
Having seen the work of Nicholas Hlobo at the Tate Modern, I was really interested to see his work displayed at Frieze.
The following piece, I could find no label for, however found it to be very interesting from a mapping perspective.
The following prints were an imaginative representation of the photographs shown.
The pieces with the Silkworm threads by Shaoji Liang were very interesting and in particular the representation of cocoons suspended from the ceiling.
The pieces by Laura Lima, gave me some inspiration for how I might begin to represent mapping in the Independant Study 1 – Studio Work.
I found inspiration in the following pieces.
The piece Circumscription by Gerhard Marx is made up of reconstructed map fragments is part of the Transparent Territories group of work.
In this dizzying series of maps for groundlessness, Gerhard Marx continues his investigations into the formal and fictive possibilities of perspective. Rupturing the flat surface of the map, he removes the illusion of solid ground and replaces it with a hovering, vertigo-inducing sense of uncertainty. The shape and notion of ‘the frame’ recurs in several mise-en-abyme sequences across the works. Stacked in recurring configurations, its rectangular form has been bent into a series of optical riddles or Escherian landscapes.
When Marx cuts into the map it is a violation – an act of violence against the institutions and processes of global modernity through which the world was filtered to him. That violence is present in the energy of dispersion, ruination and collapse that ripples through the fragmented surfaces of these works. But the story does not end there. Deconstruction is offset by the meditative, embodied practice of reconstitution. In constructing his drawings from the ‘found lines’ of decommissioned and discarded maps, Marx displaces the scientific authority of cartography with the subjective impulse of calligraphy.
The works in this series are random amalgamations of fragments of Africa and Europe, and in piecing them together he conflates space and historical time into ‘migrant maps’. Directly referencing the makeshift, hybridised vessels we’ve witnessed people resorting to in the current migration crises of Europe, several works have a raft-like look about them – temporary, floating, drifting between land(s) and territories. Hovering against a plane of deep opaque blackness, Marx’s reconstructed rafts/crafts transmit a sense of disorientation that is simultaneously disquieting and liberating. There is that vertiginous sci-fi sense of being cut loose from the mother ship to float indefinitely through all space and time, but also an ecstatic sense of possibility in being released from the grip of inherited systems of knowledge, measurement, power and control.
– Alexandra Dodd
The Frieze Artist Award was won by Kiluanji Kia Henda from Luanda.
Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. 1979, Luanda) is a Luanda-based artist, working across photography, video and performance. Entitled Under the Silent Eye of Lenin, Kia Henda’s winning proposal is a two-part installation, taking the cult of Marxism-Leninism after independence in Angola as its starting point and drawing parallels between witchcraft practices during Angola’s civil war and science fiction narratives used by Cold War superpowers. Looking at how fictional fantasy and its power of manipulation becomes a vital weapon in situations of extreme violence, Kia Henda’s performative installation will change throughout the duration of the fair.
Other pieces of interest were: