Alive and kicking for almost a decade now, the Frieze Art Fair was as diverse as ever for its ninth year in London, UK. Situated in Regent’s Park, the art fair annually recruits over 170 exciting galleries from all over the world. Some of the attendees included Calvin Klein, legendary photographer David Bailey, Gwen Stefani, Valentino, Super Model Eva Herzigova among many other celebrities and PR professionals and fashion and arts icons!

The main section of the art fair included 1522 artworks within the well established galleries, the White Cube held the most offerings with a massive crowd of over a thousand attendees, while the Frame section included single artist presentations in 26 galleries that are less than 6 years old. There was also an outdoor sculpture park, a high caliber talk program, and an education program. Over all it was a great success, although some of the galleries didn’t fare quite well, not to mention the innumerable complaints about the admission tickets, this year at £27, and most of the serious collectors admitted not being as amused with the works and contributions of this year as they were in the previous ones, but for the common arts enthusiast “The Frame” section which included bold and daring artists from London, Argentina, Japan, Cambodia, Poland and Israel, and the sculpture park, both were pretty impressive.

Thomas Dane Gallery held a studio display of the works of some worthwhile artists, along the incredibly notable “Credit Card Destroying Machine” by London’s Michael Landy. A lady assistant attaches either blue, red, black or green pens (according to the volunteer’s preference) to a sketch book, and once presses on a floor button the machine made up of scissors, stuffed toys, levers, saws, and cogs comes into life to produce a Spiro graph like sketch to any member of the very intrigued crowd who’s willing to throw their credit card into the machine’s wood chipper to be shredded into a hundred pieces! ; A very symbolic and beautiful concept in today’s capitalist world; to abandon our financial and economic security in return for mechanic, and artistic productivity. It was certainly an astonishing, and exciting demonstration by Landy; very awe-inspiring!

Christian Jankowski on the contrary reminds the fair (and the world) that with hopeful anti-consumerist gests comes the counteracts of extravagant financial wasters. “The Finest Art on Water” was a 10m lavish motor yacht unduly exhibited a space by the moderate stands and was being sold for €500,000 as a motor yacht or for €625,000 as an artwork; Art Critics-be-damned to not condemn such a display that triggers discomfort among the ethical, moral art world.

On another note, The frame section in general is always the most to look forward to, with new and exhilarating works by humble artists always willing to talk you through their works. They were quite the diverse offerings that hardly ever play it safe; audacity at its finest! The RAMPA Gallery held the modernistic photography and collage works of Nilbar Güres. Cultural isolation, freedom seeking and post-feminism sentiments were expressed. Her works were viciously attractive and sold in no time. Singapore’s favorite Indonesian artist Nyoman Masriadi was exhibited for the first time in London, comic-like/political spoofs were displayed, using acrylic on canvas.

Exhibitors Hauser & Wirth sold the 3 editions of Thomas Houseago’s huge Hermaphrodite sculpture in Regent’s park at $425,000 each, to private European collectors; one of the grandest sales at the fair. Other larger sales were by exhibitor Anthony Wilkinson who sold a triptych a large painting by George Shaw; a Turner Prize candidate, at £55,000 and rarely exhibited artist Mark Alexander’s incomplete triptych based on “The Garden of Earthly Delights” only named “All Watched Over By Machine of Infinite Loving Grace” at £95,000. Another active exhibitor was Alison Jacques who sold the works by Ana Mendieta, Catherine Yass, Klara Kristalova, Ryan McGinley and Ryan Mosley for up to £20,000 each.

The Frieze art fair was busiest this year, disregarding the economical meltdown we have witnessed recently that has clearly affected the venues as the galleries were cluttered accordingly unlike the previous years where the works of artists were spread freely and spaciously among various galleries; none the less it was inspirational and reflective as always to what the world is going through in general; of politics, cultural issues and social suggestions. It is as massive and entire as anything the universe has to offer, it is injected with virtue and inspirational musings, poisoned with offense and transgression, and it inevitably progresses with the world and with time. Surely an event to praise and engage in, as an artist, an arts devotee and supporter, as an individual and a thinking, feeling human being.


Keep a look out for Frieze Masters, an international art fair launching in London, October 2012, with more focus on historical art with a contemporary perspective, for the classical arts enthusiast. Presenting works made before the millennium, ranging from old masters and antiquities to art of the 20th century. Around 70 of the world’s unique and leading galleries will be there! An event you cannot miss!

Video Directed by Indira Cesarine for XXXX Magazine
Video Edited by Ric Servini
Article Written By May Mansour

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