what will VR art look like?

Virtually Real
12-14.01.2017
Royal Academy of Arts

With the mass arrival of VR headsets last year to the consumer world, it is no longer an expensive gadget only for the geeks or professionals. Applications of the technology range from gaming to design, but so far not a lot has been done with fine arts. What will 'VR art' look like? The latest Royal Academy exhibition attempts to give its audience a hint of that in this collaborative project with vendor HTC Vive.

Presented as 'the world's first 3D printed artworks in virtual reality', the exhibition showcases 3 separate pieces of works by 3 artists from RA alumni Adham Faramawy, Ellio Dodd and current third year student Jessy Jetpacks. Apart from the virtual piece inside the headset, there are also 3D printed sculptures on display in the venue, which are featured inside the VR pieces.

Below is a short interview with one of the exhibited artist Jessy Jetpacks - whose piece is probably the least conceptual and most resembling to a traditional video art piece, with the exception that it is a panoramic VR experience instead. The photos are the prototype prints of the 'creatures' featured in the VR film.


Q1: What is different from creating artwork in traditional media and the VR digital format? 

A: What is most different about VR digital format is how it is experienced, not so much how it is created. As a digital artist the process of putting work together is not dissimilar to other projects I have done. Crucially however, you must dip in and out of the immersive environment in order to see how the work is progressing. 

A key difference would be freedom from certain costs, and physical restrictions. For instance you can imagine the cost and labour of attempting a fully immersive installation environment in real life. In virtual reality you can play with light, gravity, landscape and scale unbound, but limited to the producible aesthetics of the tool.

Q2: How do you convey your concept to the audience in this exhibition?

A: Because the environment is immersive it can be very manipulative on a base emotional level, doubly so because mine includes specifically composed music. i wanted to use this manipulation in a kind and generous way, so the viewer is free to experience virtual reality without heavily referencing virtual reality or some already established themes of virtual reality e.g. jump-scares, or even certain aesthetics. I designed the simulation to provide constant but not overwhelming stimulation, with sequences of events that happen throughout. I use my enthusiasm and joy, in the form of the martian landscape and giant trilobite herds, a sense of the absurd and comical, with the hoards of dancing women (who are my avatar), also I use the poetic and symbolic within the music and how the whole experience ties together. 

The fundamental difference between the medium or format of these art pieces and the traditional formats such as paintings, sculptures or even performances is that they can only be completely experienced by those who has been equipped with the required hardware. Although one may argue that there are still limitations to how artists can express themselves within the capacity of these hardwares, they have opened up new possibilities of creating and experiencing art undoubtedly. In the piece by Adham Faramawy (shown in above image the physical print on display in the gallery), the visitor can interact in real time with the art piece by spraying colour-changing virtual paint on the 3D sculpture within the virtual space. It is, however, not very clear that what it symbolises in terms of concept other than demonstrating the functionality of the hardware product. The co-creation component, does not seem to have any significance to the art work itself, or one can argue after the excitement, where does the visitor's temporary contribution go into the art piece?

In Elliot Dodd's piece, the visitor enters a space with some sort of pathway connecting one end of a homogeneous environment to the other end which has a centerpiece scultpure, as shown in the above physical print on display in the gallery. The interesting aspect in this piece is that one can walk around in the created space, but also can beam oneself to a certain spot with the way the control pointer works with the hardware. You can also scale the environment up or down to experience it in a different way.

Some may compare this exhibition with Björk Digital in Somerset House last year. While one going to Björk Digital will probably have a certain expectation of what they will see because of the signature style and artistic direction of the singer, it is relatively uncharted territory to those who attended the Virtually Real show, simply because the 3 artists are lesser known in their catalogue of works. Also because they are exploring different possibilities within the technology and their artist direction, it does not have a so-called 'central theme' throughout the pieces, unlike Björk's show which her voice is the common entity that ties all the exhibits together.

Another potential paradigm shift in this development is that for museums and galleries, how do they showcase, collect and archive these art pieces? The usual white box model does not work any more. If any piece becomes hugely popular, there is no way they can simply sell more tickets to let more people in given the limited amount of time and hardware facilities available. So should the museums or artists consider a remote sales strategy similar to Orchestra selling live cast of their concerts online and in cinemas now? Would this open up new possibilities to exhibit in multiple locations around the world simultaneously because one is not limited by the unique physical presence of an art piece any more provided that the works can be 'replicated' across different platforms in different geographical locations in exactly the same way the artist wants it to be?

When the internet was first born, few people knows what to do with it and we are only realising its real potential in recent years. It is, perhaps still early days for artists to truly realise the potentials virtual reality can bring to artistic creation. And the end products, will definitely not look the same as the art works we have been seeing in the past centuries, just like an instant message with emojis is not the same as a letter written by hand in ink.

Further Readings -
Official page for the exhibition
Interview with Adham Faramawy by alphr.com, 13.01.2017

advent calendar 2016 - part 4 (19 - 24 December)

The final entries of our advent calendar series have the following artists and works featured -

Day 19: Now Gallery recommends 'Bullet From A Shooting Star' based at Greenwich Peninsula by artist Alex Chinneck, who time and time again shows that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. @alexchinneck creates inventive pieces of art using the familiar & transforming it into the unique. Don’t miss his melting Christmas Tree on display at Granary Square during this festive period. 

Day 20: Welsh artist Bedwyr Williams brings @barbicancentre Curve gallery to life with his quest into The Gulch. The curious & often subversive internal dialogue @bedwyr_williams plays out along the Curve’s space in this fantastical installation. Physical & metaphorical twists & turns guide you through the gallery and ultimately inspire you to give your own performance, one that will fill the cavernous gorge of the gulch for those following in your footsteps.

Day 21: close up of Anselm Kiefer's nuber pluant ustem (2016) currently on display in @whitecubeofficial bermondsey. Kiefer employs a range of media – oil, acrylic, emulsion and shellac - to emphasise the space of painting as a threshold into a mythic, imaginative realm.

Day 22: @GRAD_London recommends 'Destined To Be Happy', Russian artist Irina Korina's new solo installation which runs until 28 February 2017. Experience the macabre reality of Korina’s greyscale domain, punctuated with characters whose emotional relatability is laid bare for scrutiny.

Day 23: Berlin-based artist @AlicjaKwade ’s commission in @whitechapelgallery "Medium Median" explores our relationship to space and time through technology, culture and senses.

Day 24: Spring (2015) by Tony Cragg shown previously in @lisson_gallery. His axiom “There are many more things that do not exist than things that do exist” points to a deep well of things & forms that are as yet beyond our perception. Sculpture is for Cragg a method to unlock this enormous potential not just for new forms but the new meanings, dreams and language that will become associated to them. For him it is a method for discovering the as yet unseen. 

advent calendar 2016 - part 3 (13 - 18 December)

Part 3 of our advent calendar series have the following artists and works featured -

Day 13: 'Lay Down' by London artist Leah Capaldi is a site-specific installation at Matt's gallery's newish south of river space. The work consists of a video sculpture with continual performance, inspired by the artist's time in the deserts of the American West. There, Capaldi met a Utah cowboy & his horse, a film exploring their relationship and the vast, performative landscape that surrounds them forms the core of the installation. 'Lay Down' asks how power is constructed & understood, this question arising throughout the installation, in the iconic figure of the American cowboy, the influence of the sublime landscape and the authority of the screen. The crossover area between the disciplines of sculpture & performance are of particular interest to Capaldi's practice, with echoes of the seminal performance work of the late 1960s & early 70s. 

Day 14: "under the N2 flyover, Woodstock" by South African photographer David Lurie represented by Sulger-Buel Lovell. Lurie's work captures the graffiti in urban environment which reflects the social fabric and local culture of a place.

Day 15: the Music Lesson by Frederic Leighton in Guildhall Art Gallery's Victorians Decoded: Art & Telegraphy exhibition. The show explores the impact of telegraphy on the artistic imagination & wider social consciousness in the 19thC. Art works selected are chosen with the 4 themes around the ground-breaking technology of that era - distance, transmission, coding and resistance. In this piece, a mother teaches her daughter to play a Turkish saz. The rhythmic patterns in the pillars and inlaid marble of the interior give a visual equivalent of the spaced-out sequence of notes. The dangling legs of parent and child also suggest notes on a stave. The transmission of knowledge is achieved by steady pulsing, something like the telegraph key tapping to transmit a message. 

Day 16: The Celestial Teapot by Lukas Duwenhögger, is a proposal for a memorial site for the persecuted homosexuals of National Socialism in Berlin. The work was displayed in his solo show in Raven Row @raven__row earlier this year. Duwenhögger’s figurative paintings conjure his subjects into situations and worlds that are inventively adorned, allusive, anachronistic & compelling. 

Day 17: Mantle Deposits by Hermoine Allsopp @hermioneallsopp in @arthouse1_ldn 's group show 'It's Offal' - From excrement to innards, 'It’s Offal' looks at the work of artists who have chosen to explore what lies within. A guttural festivity that triggers questions about who & what we really are, our fears & desires, and what we value in the end. 

Day 18: the use of vivid colours from 'winter evening in the Black Fens' by english painter Fred Ingrams in Art Bermondsey Project Space @abprojectspace is characteristic this series of works: "The future of ditches in The Fens is for others to decide upon and maybe when all the soil has been blown & eroded away from the land in between them the battle between the “re-wilders” and the property developers can really commence. To me these precious margins are just dividing lines that run at ninety degrees to each other and border the huge fields of crops. The fields they frame are slabs of ever-changing colour. You can look down them or across them. Depending on your viewpoint ditches form either horizontal lines that divide the landscape or converging lines that meet at the vanishing point. Looking down a ditch creates one kind of painting, looking across a ditch another. The result is two types of landscape." - Fred Ingrams @fredingrams 

See the previous entries in Part 1 here, and those in Part 2 here

advent calendar 2016 - part 2 (7 - 12 December)

Continuing our part 2 of the advent calendar series featured on our instagram in the run-up to Christmas:

Day 7: Gazelli Art House @gazelliarthouse recommends Philip Colbert's neon artwork. Pop!  a toast for a happy holiday & wonderful 2017! 

Day 8: Calvert 22 @calvert22foundation recommends Associated Nostalgia by Bulgarian-born photographer Eugenia Maximova @emax, one of the artists exhibiting at 2016 New East Photo Prize Exhibition. The series presents colourful trinkets that belonged t Eugenia Maximova o the artist's relatives & friends who displayed them in their homes during Bulgaria's otherwise bleak communist period. These objects are of little monetary value but now represent the priceless memories & family histories which the photos celebrate. 

Day 9: Leyden Gallery @leyden_gallery recommends South African born Vivienne Koorland. Her solo exhibition Soft Heart has at its own nodal core, the intersection of the Artist’s Body and a Body of Art travelling. Koorland is also currently showing together with William Kentridge at The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh. Her​ painting 'Soft Heart' appears​over Christmas & the New Year​ in the Winter Salon at Leyden Gallery from 15.12.2016 to 14.01.2017

Day 10: Maria-Lena Hedberg's work is featured in the group show 'Shifting States' at Espacio Gallery @espaciogallery. The exhibition presents works in various media / formats. The creative processes of the participating artists involve entering a state of flux in which the destination is initially unknown. The overt subject might be a time, a place or a psychological state – or all of the above.

Day 11: Candice Lin's System for a Stain installed in Gasworks gallery @gasworkslondon explores how histories of slavery & colonialism have been shaped by human attraction to particular colours, tastes, textures & drugs. It combines organic processes with DIY mechanics to create a metabolic machine that echoes the unrelenting flow of bodies & matter in colonial trade. Incorporating various handmade trinkets and curios, such as glazed cochineal vases and a tea strainer based on the upturned bust of Scottish botanist Robert Fortune, the installation transforms prized, historically loaded goods into a blood-like stain.

Day 12: Here is Big Bifur by Jean-Luc Moulène currently on display in the group show Thinking Tantra at Drawing Room @drawingroom_ldn . A trans-historical exhibition that begins with anonymous Tantric drawings, the collection dates from the second half of the 19th century, continues with work made in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s by Indian artists & includes work by 10 international contemporary artists. Tantra is a body of beliefs & practices that enables individuals to conjoin with something much larger than themselves - 'nothing short of cosmic forces'.

See the previous entries at part 1 here.

advent calendar 2016 - part 1 (1 - 6 December)

We have launched our first ever advent calendar feature on our instagram and here is the summary of the first few entries:

Day 1: Arebyte @arebyte recommends Gretchen Andrew's @nexttopanimatedgifmodel work for her current show HOW TO HOW TO HOW TO, which reflect on the idea of Internet-based learning; a culmination of sharing knowledge through various YouTube videos. The project is self-reflective but also socially reflective where we see an advance in collective learning and cooperative discourse. 

Day 2: Calvert 22 @calvert22foundation recommends Polish photographer Michal Slarek, one of the artists currently exhibiting at the 2016 New East Photo Prize Exhibition. The photo featured is from the series Alexander, which documents Macedonia's pride in its mythic, though often forgotten, history, particularly through it Gretchen Andrew s connection to Alexander the Great. Michał is the winner of the 2016 New East Photo Prize, which celebrates photography from Eastern Europe, Russia & Central Asia; presenting unique perspectives on an under-represented region. 

Day 3: Pi Artworks @piartworks recommends Memory Coils by Maria Berrio @mariaberriostudio. American Histories, curated by New-York based Alexandra Schwartz, brings together 9 US-based artists who explore cultural histories through figurative works on paper. Their work reflects their own diverse heritages & influences while speaking more broadly to the array of international cultures that make up the United States. The exhibition spotlights how artists examine & synthesize such themes through a personal lens. During this time of political discord over issues of tolerance, these artists offer crucial voices in favor of pluralism & acceptance. Image courtesy of the artist and Praxis Gallery, New York.

Day 4: Vitrine @vitrinegallery recommends Basel-based, Manchester-born artist Clare Kenny @clarelkenny. The image featured is an installation view taken from her current solo exhibition, ‘Enough rope to hang ‘emselves’, Clare reflects on the themes of family & memory. Informed by personal viewpoints & experiences, especially her upbringing & family history, Kenny’s work explores the intersection between personal & collective memory. For this exhibition, the artist takes a family story regarding her grandmother, who spent much of her life working in a rope factory, as the catalyst of constructing an installation & a body of work.

Day 5: PM/AM @pm______am recommends British visual artist Mat Chivers @matchivers. His presentation uses a range of media to explore relationships between environmental phenomena, the fundamental materials that constitute the world, and the contemporary production technologies that we use to understand & interact with them. Image shown is Harmonic Distortion, 2016.
Statuario di Altissimo and Nero Marquina marble.

Day 6: IMT @imtgallery recommends Danish artist Lotte Roser Kjær Skau's work. @lotteroser makes a dedicated gif every Christmas for IMT. The one above is a still from last year & is very in keeping with her on going series 'United We/I Stand etc.' More details here.

Follow us on Instagram to receive the latest #adventcalendar entries in the upcoming days.

Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today

South London Gallery
10.06-04.09.2016
written by Suzanne Harb

Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today is one of a trio of touring exhibitions from the Guggenheim-UBS’ MAP Global Art Initiative. 

The London leg of the exhibition (which will also visit Sao Paulo and Mexico City) curated by Mexico born Pablo León de la Barra brings nearly 50 pieces from more than 40 artists born after the late 60’s to the South London Gallery. The result: a rich array of works that convey a dialogue of the shared reality of artists internationally. 

Simon Armstrong (Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation), Margot Heller (SLG Director) and Pablo León de la Barra (curator) introducing the show.

 

The works, shown as part of the MAP initiative, will enter into the Guggenheim’s permanent collection. This is an interesting move from the western institution to engage with and collect works from non-western artists. This position of awareness is telling of the current climate in art. Even the private markets have not escaped; Christies have dubbed one of its seven hot trends for 2016 as ‘the rise of non western art’.

Entrance to the main gallery

 

The exhibition itself spans the whole of the gallery space, including the recently donated former Peckham Road Fire Station, ‘the earliest surviving purpose-built fire station in London’ which won’t be fully completed and open to visitors until 2018. Pablo has included in the selection a rich variety of artistic forms including sculpture, installation, painting, video and a performance piece by Amalia Pica (every Saturday at 1pm) and other off-site art works.

Be sure to check out Federico Herrero’s mural on the Pelican housing estate during your visit. The mural, not only an important Latin American artistic tradition, does well to tie in the large Latin American community that resides in the area and subtly reinforces the idea of shared global cultural narrative despite geography.

View of Amalia Pica's AnBnC (2013) and Carlos Amorales' We’ll See How Everything Reverberates (2012)

 

Pablo spoke of his complete submersion in the two-year long project that has seen him travel across his native region and surrounding areas, visiting artists and their workshops. His aim was to collate a group of artists that tackled issues and themes that surround a shared reality and addressing the influences of ‘colonial and modern histories, repressive governments, economic crises [and] social inequality’. To set the stage for this Pablo included the works of two older artists who have greatly influenced the landscape of contemporary South American artistic expression today and so their canonisation will live on with important works like Alfredo Jaar’s A Logo for America (1987) being included in the Guggenheim’s permanent collection. 

Alfredo Jaar’ A Logo for America (1987)

 

Many of the works have a participation element to them. Most notably Carlos Amorales’ We’ll See How Everything Reverberates (2012) invites the viewer to play the mobile (visually indicative of the work of Alexander Calder) of cymbals. It is this interactivity with the work that gives the show a playful element. This participation goes to further the sense of interconnectivity between artist, his message and viewer. Enabling this kind of conversation cements the viewer in the show and in this wider idea of global communication initiative, something I feel that cements MAP’s aim. 

 Pablo interacting with Amorales’ work

 

While some may question the Guggenheim’s motivations to appear culturally engaging in this manner I see this initiative as an important breakthrough no matter the motivations. As Richard Armstrong noted during the launch he found that there were a great number of unexpected similarities between the Guggenheim and SLG as institutions, and the further people go to foster unlikely global relationships the more democratic our view of the contemporary art world can become. 

Further Readings: 

Office page of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Official page of South London Gallery
Official page of Guggenheim Map Global Art Initiative

our top picks for the frieze week 2015

With Frieze week getting in action and galleries gearing up for the world's attention here in London, we have continued our tradition and hand-picked our favourite 10 listings below for our followers -


1. Frieze 
Apart from the galleries booths, the sculpture park, the cafes and the queues, we recommend our followers not to forget the talks in the fair itself are also intellectually unmissable. We find the topics of these 2 sessions particularly relevant in the current climate globally and locally:  The New Museums: Coming Soon to a City Near You and Off-Centre: Can Artists Still Afford to Live in London?
We are also interested to explore the installations Rachel Rose created inside the Freize tent, which sounds intriguing from the way it was described by FT in her interview in their Weekend Magazine.

(image from Victoria Miro's website)

2. Elmgreen & Dragset at Victoria Miro Mayfair
The Scandinavian maverick duo returns to Victoria Miro featuring a new series of works that are representations of museum wall labels of other artists’ works, including David Hockney, Ross Bleckner, Roni Horn, Martin Kippenberger, and Nicole Eisenmann, among others. They are also having another solo show at Massimo de Carlo gallery called Stigma, which was shown in their Milan gallery earlier this year.


3. Ai Wei-wei at the Royal Academy
The Chinese artist has proved his celebrity artist status with his own show in the Royal Academy. Apart from his works on display, it is also the interviews he did with the press and the instagram posts and tweets he made during his visit which gives you the full wei-wei experience.

Cm_bill viola in mt rainier coffee shop 1979 photo kira perov_photoshopped

(image from Blain|Southern's website, by Kira Perov)

4. Bill Viola at Blain|Southern
Viewers visiting this show can see the predecessor of all Bill Viola's videos - one monumental installation Moving Stillness (Mt. Rainier), 1979, shown for the first time since its inauguration at Media Study/Buffalo New York. In conjunction and presented for the first time ever, recordings of Bill Viola’s early sound compositions form an immersive installation The Talking Drum at The Vinyl Factory Space at Brewer Street Car Park in Soho, London. Two works are featured, The Talking Drum,1979, and Hornpipes, 1979–82, that explore the resonances of an empty swimming pool.

(image from Dominique Levy's website)

5. Gerard Richter at Dominique Levy
Another show which celebrates the earlier works of a monumental artist of our time. Dominique Levy is showing a vital group of paintings selected from the artist’s original nineteen Colour Charts produced in 1966. Presented with the support of the Gerhard Richter Archive, the exhibition is the first to focus on the earliest works of this series since their inaugural appearance at Galerie Friedrich & Dahlem, Munich in 1966.

Cy Twombly -

Bacchus, 2006–08,  © Cy Twombly Foundation (image from Gagosian's website)

6. Cy Twombly at the Gagosian new space in Mayfair
The exhibition will include as yet unseen large Bacchus paintings, with loans from the Cy Twombly Foundation and other collections. it is a tradition to open a new Gagosian gallery in Europe with Cy Twombly, apparently.

(image from a previous site-specific installation in 2014)

7. Neil Ayling at "Berloni off-site" 49 Greek Street
Ayling will present a site-specific projection across the dilapidated townhouse floor, alongside a space specific three-dimensional piece using images of the walls, ceiling and floorboards themselves. Through deconstructing an enlarged camera obscura, Ayling's studio creation here becomes fragmented to give way to a further sculpture.

(image from Gasworks' website)

8. Kemang wa Lehulere at Gasworks
Unravelling the relationships between personal and collective histories, amnesia and the archive, Wa Lehulere’s practice explores how South Africa’s past continues to haunt the present. Inspired by theatre and set design, his drawings, performances and sculptures are often conceived as ‘rehearsals’, framed by longer-term research projects about motifs such as the act of falling or the unfaithfulness of language.

(image by Ravi)

9. Architecture by Caruso St John
This year art lovers can also experience two much anticipated new spaces both built by architect Caruso St John - the Gagosian Mayfair mentioned above and Damien Hirst's Newport Street gallery at Vauxhall. You can find an article with interview of the architects by the Evening Standard here.

10. Outside London
If you haven't seen this yet, you have roughly 2 more weeks to go before it closes - Lightscape by James Turrell at Houghton Hall. It is definitely not easy to get over, given the state of railway transport in this country, and a drive from London and return will cause you half a day. But we are very sure the lights can add some beautiful memories to your Frieze week 2015, and lots of likes on your instagram as well.

stories from start-ups in the arts

organised by UP Global and Culturate
Google Campus london
01.10.2015

Founders of start-ups in the visual arts industry share their experiences, give tips and explore the latest trends in this panel discussion on art + tech earlier this evening. The speakers include Jonas Almgren - CEO Artfinder, Bernadine Bröcker - CEO Vastari, Marcos Steverlynck - Co-founder Riseart and David Zokhrabyan - CEO and Co-Founder at ArtHome.London and Gitoon.

Below are some of the highlighted points we heard -

  • Efficiency and transparency hasn't happened in the art world much - it is now time to apply established technology to disrupt the market
  • Create 'experience' to engage and reach out to more people - e.g. art rental for "real" experience to consumers so that they can buy after rental if they like it
  • Make art accessible and affordable - create new market for art purchase and appreciation in mass public, make the market bigger
  • Follow the model of the Fashion industry to make art purchase popular online - provide good returns policy to encourage worry-free e-shopping
  • Pop up stores offline to increase accessibility
  • Social media helps the exchange of cultures, both among artists and among buyers
  • The technology to support the transactions online is a totally different platform from that to handle transactions in auction houses
  • Find out whether the buyers have affinity to the artist, or the artwork, or both?
  • Big brands in the art market is not big brands compared to the brand recognition and power in other industries
  • Museums start using new e-platforms to move inventory in archive, providing conusmers with affordable luxury through established art brands
  • Pricing is more transparent and democratic online
  • Is art an investment or just a personal decoration? Most people only buy art they truly like, and tend to not compare price as much as other commodity
  • Investors are not familiar with the new online market because it is not the usual traditional art market
  • Museums are not investing in art tech startups yet
  • Universities maybe the place to look for collaboration - students with ideas to collaborate & grow (e.g. UAL + arthome.london)
  • Digital art is shaping the future of art and the younger generation are more open to that and also help to shape what is defined as art in their generation
  • Most of the UK public money that 'support arts' only go to the venues, not the artists
  • Artists need to learn to sell their works, how to do business, what regulations are relevant - tax, insurance, etc for example
  • Artists never stop making art whether they sell the works or not
  • Artists can't afford the studio in big cities with high rent - how can artists be supported to have affordable production spaces? Big challenge but also big opportunity. If handled properly it can potentially bring the studio experience back to the customers
  • No one has a clear idea of what an art market is, someone has to define it so investors can get in
  • Artists need to build their brand & reach out to the Audience
  • Artists can see what is selling through big data, and how they can sell more maybe by making more similar or inspired works to the best-selling items, and audience can also see the growth of artists to buy those with more potentials
  • Electronic art is still way too avant-grade for common amateur buyers in the mass market
  • Authentication is a big challenge to tackle
  • 50% of sale on artfinder through mobile platform including tablets
  • Cyber security is not a big concern as art business is not big enough to attract hackers, reasonable level of security is enough
  • Different pricing models for artists online - some allows artist to make an offer of price to buy, some encourage artists to make works of different sizes which will be sold in different prices to broaden their reach to consumers with different budgets

our top picks for the frieze week 2014

​It is the week of the year here in London. Everybody suddenly becomes very cultural and talks about art. Yes, everybody.

So you want to catch up with the chat and impress people on how cultural you are? Here is our annual cheatsheet, free of charge. We would appreciate if you mention @londonart to others if they praise your insight. Thank you.

If you are visiting for the occasion, we suggest you try to take into all of the below (in no particular order) in your stay in London -


1. Sculpture Park at Frieze Art Fair
This is where everything starts, so it deserves to be mentioned year after year. A stroll in Regent's Park is an essential stop of your art week. No matter it is raining or sunny, you would be able to enjoy the wonderful marriage of horticulture, nature and art. No admission fee.


Anselm Kiefer, Ages of the World, 2014; Private collection; Photo courtesy Royal Academy of Arts. Photography: Howard Sooley / © Anselm Kiefer


2. Anselm Kiefer at Royal Academy
We attended the blogger's event from the Academy and curator Kathleen Soriano explained that site-specific works are commissioned in the show, "Yes, it’s a retrospective – 60 percent of the show is a retrospective – but the 40 percent remaining we really hand over to the artist. We want them to work with these fantastic galleries and create something that’s specific for those spaces." The very nature of Anselm's works strike one's mind because it asks fundamental questions about life. Read his interview with the Telegraph if you still have second thoughts.


3. Aiko Miyanaga at White Rainbow



4. Matthew Barney at Sadie Close



5. Tom Dale at Copperfield



6. Pierre Huyghe at Hauser & Wirth
The gallery has brought both installations as well as video works of Huyghe. The centre-piece is a disturbing piece of a masked monkey left behind after the Fukushima disaster. Huyghe's use of materials with life in his works adds another layer to the meaning of 'creation' in the hands of nature as well as the artist. 


7. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at Carroll / Fletcher
First solo exhibition by the Mexican-Canadian artist, which displays 4 sound installations


8. Jan Kempenaers at  Breese Little


9. Performances Evening in DRAF on 16/10
DRAF is transformed into a stage for their annual evening of performances. Quinn Latimer & Megan Rooney, Joe Moran, planningtorock, Sarah Lucas and Eloise Hawser present new live works for a unmissable event. The gallery space is showing works by Nina Beier


10. Krijin de Kroning's Dwelling at Turner Contemporary & Folkestone Triennial
This is the first time we recommend something outside central London on our list. When it takes over 2 hours from Heathrow to the galleries in East and South London, we think it is fair to include something outstanding as de Kroning's work which is only about an hour away from St Pancras or Stratfor Intetnational stations on high speed train. And if you really take the courage to ride the train there, your would be rewarded with other amazing works of the Triennial in Folkestone or Edmund de Waal and Jeremy Deller in Margate. Here's an interview with the artist himself by Icon magazine.



More photos here on our flickr album for de Kroning's Dwelling.

*****

And one last thing. As usual, we list the official websites of all the other art fairs in town we know here for your easy reference -



1:54 Art Fair - The African art fair in Somerset House has firmly established itself to be the place where people could go see contemporary art from the continent.


Sunday Fair - This is the satellite fair in Ambika P3 focussing in North American and Northern European galleries and artists. We love its no-frills approach, the website has only gallery listings, nothing else. You need to REALLY go to the fair to see what it's about. Now that's confidence.


Kinetica Art Fair - Kinetica moves its date from February to the frieze week this year, and change venue to Truman Brewery (probably because Sunday art fair is occupying its past base). We expect a lot of cool performances in the fair as usual, which differentiates itself from the other satellite fairs.

The Other Art Fair - Director Ryan Stainer has Polly Morgan on this year's committee to pick who should show in this fair

The Independent Artist Fair - Now tell me what's the difference between this one and the one above? Less commercial? What does that actually mean?

Art Apart - A boutique art fair from Singapore in Town Hall Hotel

Moniker - The focus is on street and graffiti art, which it labels as 'urban art'

the annual summer exhibition

by Suzanne Harb

Summer Exhibition
Royal Academy
09.06-17.08.2014

Joshua Reynolds, the first president of the Royal Academy, once said; ‘a room hung with pictures is a room hung with thoughts’. This year over 1,200 thoughts from artists like Martin Creed and Michael Landy to unknown artists grace the walls of the main galleries of the Royal Academy. Having had to whittle down the 12,000 digital submissions would have been a Goliath task. However what remains is a look into the various disciplines that represent contemporary art today. 

Now, the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition often get’s some stick from esteemed critics from the larger publications and across the board reviews are varied. What is interesting is how much discourse this annual exhibition (now in it’s 245th year) can encourage. With all those who attended making their own personal assessments as to which deserve to be labeled the good, the bad and the ugly. It is for this reason along that I love it! Due to the nature of the exhibition, it attracts such a varied audience thus opening up channels of communication between people and uniting them through their discussion of art. 

Providing a dissection of what is happening in contemporary art right now the Royal Academy is by the artists and for the artists. This is an incredibly powerful approach as it means no boundaries are put up in relation to prestige, style and approach. A plethora of current topics are tackled, it is almost like thumbing through the pages of a world new paper. Interestingly a piece titled FGM by Angela Braven is an example of how art continuously shines its light on contemporary issues. Depicting the horrors of Female Gentile Mutilation, and highlighting the ever widening divide in opinion regarding the matter, the inclusion of works such as this is vital as it highlights art fearlessness to tackle such issues head on.

What was in 1769, an exhibition open to the public was a pioneering and exciting, a notion that we take for granted in 2014. However the rooms curated in that traditional salon style are a means of acknowledging the exhibitions 18th century roots (and a technique very much needed to showcase the sheer volume of works). Gus Cummins RA was responsible for the curation of the Small Weston Room as well as room VII. Hung densely from floor to ceiling in a complex grid, works are clustered together as to produce some unexpected dialog among themselves, interesting juxtapositions and placements revealing more of a narrative.

Cornelia Parker RA has curated the Lecture Room. She has invited many high profile artists and Royal Academicians to contribute works in keeping with her black and white theme. With many artists creating new works especially for this space, she has created an exciting and dynamic cohesion of works. This room is playful yet sleek and provides a break from the busy rooms that preceded it.

While there is a great deal to take in, one drawback of the exhibition is that it is lacking in its representation of the more unusual artistic mediums. With a large percentage of the 1,262 pieces being taken up by paintings, and while sculpture does indeed stand out against the painted sea of works, we have yet to see the inclusion of performance art. In addition to this there is very little video and not near enough sculpture to be representative of the vast and varied approached to art today. While this is an important observation, I do not want it do detract form the wonderful experience it is walking through a room engulfed by art. Wondering and meandering through peoples thoughts is something very special. While you may not love everything on display the chances are you will find something that moves or amuses you. 

*****

Further Readings -
Review: "The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: The anarchy and ecstasy returns" by Zoe Pilger for the Independent, 02.06.2014
Review: "Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, review: 'not so much old or new as exhausting" by Mark Hudson for the Telegraph, 06.06.2014
Review: "RA's Summer Exhibition: A sprawling exhibition of varying quality" by Will Gompertz for BBC Arts, 04.06.2014
Review: "First Look: the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition" by Ben Luke for the Evening Standard, 02.06.2014