Review of Frieze London 2015

Review of Frieze London 2015

The multi-sensory and new unfolded over four days in Regent’s Park during Frieze Art Fair. Now in its 13th year, the fair has evolved with its expansion, integrating innovation as it progresses with its prizes, programming, and projects. As one of the world’s leading contemporary art fairs, everything is, or is hoping to be, a highlight of the market. It’s difficult not to be blinded by the beauty of the art and even those looking at it, but amid the noise of the Frieze experience there are always noteworthy works to be found.

Heavy-hitter White Cube brought out their key players in a strong collective showing: Tracey Emin’s pink neon, You Made Me Feel Beautiful Again! glowed outside the stand, while the massive painting Holbein (Artist’s Watercolours) by fellow YBA Damien Hirst held predominance inside as it also reflected in Liu Wei’s mirrored sculpture, Puzzle. Wei’s aluminium alloy and glass sculpture was impactful in its own right, but the way in which the centrally placed piece encompassed both visitors and the art around it from all angles further enhanced the gallery’s presentation. Hauser & Wirth cleverly created their exhibition based on the concept of a field showcasing 42 sculptures on plinths that allowed visitors to wander within and around to observe works by the likes of Martin Creed, Isa Genzken, Jason Rhoades, and Phyllida Barlow.

The Galerie Mitterrand stand featured the popular fair favourite My First Dream by Gary Webb. A perfect palm tree consisting of reflective pastel surfaces, the piece gave the feeling of looking at the fair through candy-coated glasses. If there were tropical vibes to be had, perhaps it would have been worth catching the breeze from the fan of Hilary Lloyd’s Stream of Circles.

Immersed in the overload of art packed into the fair, Campoli Presti offered an aesthetically pleasing oasis. Scott Lyall’s two works Untitled (Magnitude) were at once subtle and striking, their soft palette contrasting with the 12 abstracted images of glossy rubbish bags by Eileen Quinlan. At Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Tobias Kaspar’s untitled works on neoprene and reflective fabric offered a similar effect and encouraged a second glance.

The fresh edge of the Focus section of the fair didn’t disappoint either. Ed Fornieles’ cut-up cushion characters at Carlos/Ishikawa provided the amusement while curiosity ensued with Samara Scott’s inlaid debris-filled liquid sculpture at Sunday Painter Gallery. At Koppe Astner, the standout was Corin Sworn’s prints with dye, silk and cotton on board.

Performance art was present with Tunga’s siamese hair twins parading around the fair and with Ken Kagami’s live and ‘personal’ portrait sessions.

There were also areas to take it all in or stop to take a break, such as in Rachel Rose’s scale model of the fair itself where visitors could crawl into it and listen to tracks playing through the speakers. Or, for those who wanted to fully re-charge, there was modern art collective ÅYR’s Chill Out Chambers that consisted of beds and complimentary phone chargers that explored the connection between comfort and productivity.

Then, last but not least was Mark Leckey’s gigantic Felix the Cat at the Galerie Buchholz, symbolically inflated with his overarching view of his fair surroundings.

Ashton Chandler Guyatt

Frieze London, 14 – 17 October, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4NR.

For more information, visit

1. Garry Webb, My First Dream, 2014. Courtesy of Galerie Mitterrand.