But were the fairs any good?

By mid October every year, everyone in the art world is a little exhausted – too much art, booze, and general over stimulation is all part of the fun. But were the fairs any good? This year I visited both Frieze Fairs and Sunday Art Fair on behalf of DATEAGLE ART to gauge what’s happening in the contemporary art fair scene. The spectacle of the fairs is often part of the general enjoyment, as well as the opportunity to discover some new names and talking points. I found the main Frieze fair a little lacking in atmosphere, perhaps due to a more subdued programme of live art commissions and installations in the main halls. Frieze Masters had an excellent Focus section this year, but as we are a platform for contemporary art here are a few of my Frieze picks:

Revolver Galería, Lima, Buenos Aires

This gallery had a solo presentation by Andrea Galvani, which included Instagram friendly neon sculptures of mathematical equations and occasional performances. The drama of the booth made it very eye catching, but this isn’t a reason to dismiss an elegantly present and expansive artistic practice.

Michael Benevento, Los Angeles, USA

It presented a two person, both with works by California based conceptual photographer Fred Lonidier with Mexico based contemporary artist Martin Soto Climent. The work by Climent sucked you into a wooden box covered by slashed pairs of tights; they had a gentle eroticism whilst seemingly referencing the classic works of Lucio Fontana.

Suprainfinit, Bucharest

Presented work by Alessandro Teoldi, created from airplane inflight blankets the large paintings contained a intimate touch and teasing gesture between the artworks.

Proyectos Ultravioleta, Guatemala City

This was my favourite stand, displaying work by Chilean artist Johanna Unzueta. The artworks were large double-sided drawings presented in glass panels, mainly freestanding. They were laboured over in a timely manner, allowing the surfaces to build up with residue whilst being treated as sewn constructions with pin puncture marks. Definitely a work to be seen in the flesh!

Across the road from Frieze was the annual Sunday Art Fair that invites a younger selection of galleries from around the world to present work by upcoming artists. With a more modest budget and welcoming atmosphere, it’s a great venue to make new discoveries. Here are my five galleries to watch:

Ivan Gallery, Bucharest

In particular the work by Elijah Burgher entitled “Chants”, 2017, a series of pressure prints with modernist and mystical references.

PACT, Paris

An excellent juxtaposition of artworks building a conversation between Amy Brener’s beautiful ‘dressing kit’ latex paintings / body armour with the surrealist paintings of Emily Ludwig Shaffer, exploring what could be an ordinary scene in an uncanny manner.

Subtle pieces by artist Elena Alonso, working across drawing, sculpture, and installation, her work references material and architecture with a delicate sensitivity to the environment and sophisticated appearance.

Meyohas, New York

Intriguing large-scale paintings by artist James Miller caught my eye on this stand. They have the appearance of digitally printed works, yet are handmade in a super flat style that cleverly suggests mechanical reproduction, containing a vibrant lightness that defies interpretation.


Words by Fiona Grady


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