what's new in london art fair 2011 - part 2

Continue from Part 1

Of the 124 galleries showing in London Art Fair, here are our favourites. Some of them are new comers exhibiting the first time in the fair, which we feel really pleased that the organiser had picked them! Do visit our full set  of photos which would show more art works each gallery represents.

Vegas - 

Madonna & Child (2010) by Bouke de Vries

Braille art by Sankeum Koh

Buddha z in Steel Lotus by Ziwon Wang - video link

Midnight Moonshine by Susila Bailey-Bond

Europe (2009) by Paula Scher

Haringey; from The Island - London series (2008) by Stephen Walter

Fight with Punch (2008) by Mark Hayward

Untitled study 2 (2011) by Ana Maria Pacheco

Jealous - 

People Strip (2010) by Jayoon Choi

Cinderella's Pumpkin (2011) by Sarah Tse

Mini Bee by Elisabeth Lacourt

Souffle Ballon Souffle (left) & Envol Plume (right) by Elisabeth Lacourt

what's new in london art fair 2011 - part 1

London Art Fair

The first major fair of the year in town, London Art Fair is good in the way that it's not as exhausting as Frieze but still have enough to offer the visitors to spend an hour or two inside to discover the trend of the art market in town. A quick run around the venue revealed two interesting finds for this year's show -

We Think They Must Have Souls (2008) by Littlewhitehead

The Perfect Man (2010) by Littlewhitehead

1. They have learnt from Frieze Art Fair last year about multiple display of works by featured artist across the venue. Simon Fujiwara's Frozen City last year in Frieze had won great reviews by critics and successfully attracted visitors to walk through the whole fair to see his works, thus helping to bring a more consistent level of traffic to every stall. Sumarria Lunn Gallery has installed works by Glaswegian artist duo littlewhitehead in various locations. The duo is famous for their dark-humourous installations with life-size human figures, such as these shown previously in Saatchi Gallery.

Studio 1, Hallituskatu 7, Oulu (2007) by David Spero

Adam Hinton's series taken in Shanghai 

2. Photo50 this year are showcasing 9 photographers and many impressive works can be seen in the most top attic area in the venue. Hopefully these few captures, together with the cafe, would make your feet go up a few steps to see these masterpieces. Our favourite among the 9 photographers is Scarlett Hooft Graafland from Holland -

Pentagon (2007) by Scarlet Hooft Graafland

More on top picks from the exhibitors in Part 2.


Further Readings -
Page: Official page for photo50 section of the fair
Page: Official page for littlewhitehead's works in the fair by Sumarria Lunn Gallery
Video: Clips of littlewhitehead's kinetic installation 'Hung Figure' - clip 1, clip 2 by stuartart
Page: Official web for Scarlett Hooft Graafland
Page: Interview with Scarlett Hooft Graafland by the Telegraph, 08.02.2010
Video: "Life Vividly Lived" Exhibition by Inishturkbeg including works by Scarlett Hooft Graafland

the frozen city at frieze art fair


Simon Fujiwara speaking at the Map Marathon at the Royal Geographic Society, organised by the Serpentine Gallery

Simon Fujiwara is the new kid in the contemporary art scene. If twitter to facebook is similar to facebook to google, then Simon is definitely the combination of twitter & facebook to established artists like the YBAs & Post-YBAs. Having graduated at the Städelschule in Frankfurt in 2008, he is receiving the Cartier Award from the Frieze Foundation (collaborated with the Gasworks) this year. 

As the award winner, he resides in the Gasworks in Oval, London from last August to prepare for his masterpiece in the Frieze Art Fair. Although Simon Fujiwara has an architecture education background, his art does not resemble the monolithic nature of contemporary "starchitects". Instead of a grand signature over numerous productions which makes all his works visually homogeneous, his work is developed with a grand narrative and filled with numerous details created to enrich the whole story-telling experience. His signature is not on a visual language, but on the autobiographical label. He simply employs people's desire to read though a person's mind and life; and others' perception on himself to construct his works. He is like a master builder in the renaissance age, filling his work with ornamental details which are all beautifully crafted on their own, but also form a collective image of the grand picture when seen from a distance. Famous for his hybrid art-forms employing performances, lectures and installations to showcase his works, the Frozen City is no exception in its creation and presentation.

Map of the Frozen City - click here for an enlarged view

In the Frozen City, his take on the word "Frieze" (which sounds like 'freeze') and name his piece as the present perfect tense 'frozen' is a delightful play of language which also fits well in the time and space elements in his work with respect to the venue of the present art fair. With so many press coverage on the work already, we would not repeat here again on what the Frozen City actually is here. You can check the links at the end of the post if you need to find out more. We found this commission is more relevant and connected to the venue compared to previous years, which varoius artists are invited to create a piece on each own and be placed in various locations inside the fair tent. Because every artist has his/her own creation, even though some of them may be producing his/her works as a site-specific piece, they would seldom produce a collective voice that could link all these commission works scattered around the fair tent together. While one may argue this approach may help promote more artists, that actually makes the whole act weak, reducing them to simply place-holders between gallery booths, with not much attention being paid to.

Whoever in Frieze that decided to grant Simon the monopoly of the full venue to play with is genius. Of course Simon also did a brilliant job in finding a unique concept which could make the work most site-specific and maximise the advantage of colonising the whole tent. The creation of 'check-point'-like excavation areas across the 'site' makes the whole thing a journey one is tempted to embark on and complete. Simon has demonstrated his architectural sense in 'masterplanning' his works and subsequently developed each excavation areas like 'plots' in a masterplan. His take on engaging his works with the fair itself (both its nature of trading in a market place and its physical arrangement of various functions) has made visiting the fair the only way to experience it. Irrespect of artistic value, this non-transferable art piece with an expiry date is a huge brand-building (or perhaps more precisely brand re-inforcing?) success for both the artist and Frieze. And after you explored the Frozen City, we are quite sure you would agree on handing Simon the Cartier Award.

Tour guide explaining to the fair visitors in the 'archaeological' site

We congratulate Simon Fujiwara for his success and look forward to seeing his next masterpiece! If you are more interested in his works, remember to check out the 2 interviews listed below.

Full photo set

Further Readings -
Page: British/Japanese Artist Simon Fujiwara Wins The Cartier Award 2010 by artdaily.org
Page: Simon Fujiwara's Residency in the Gasworks Gallery 01.08-20.10.2010
Page: Focus - Simon Fujiwara . Frieze magazine, Jul/Aug 2010
Page: Simon Fujiwara by designboom.com 24.02.2010
Interview: by Hans Ulrich Obrist for Kaleidoscope magazine, A/W2010
Interview: by Francesca Boenzi for Mousse magazine, issue #20
Video: Bringing up Knowledge by musacmuseo, featuring Fujiwara's "the Museum of Incest" based on archaelogical site in Tazania
Video: Nytt av Nick Cave på Disidentifikation by kulturvast featuring Fujiwara's "Welcome to Hotel Munber" (at around 0:10)

more than frieze... our picks outside the main fair

Frieze Art Fair 2010

With the mega Frieze in town this week, every one in the art 'industry' is cooking full speed to serve the audience a big feast. Below are some recommendations from various print media -

The Independent: here
Wall Street Journal: here
W magazine: here
Official media partner the Guardian: here

If you have any energy left after the official Frieze events, or simply don't bother to spend money for entry but still want to support art, here are a few shows around which we quite like (in no particular order!) -

Finally, if you have not booked your tickets yet, don't forget the 2-for-1 offer by TimeOut here!

travelogue - ARTHK10


ARTHK & Vinexpo Asia Pacific together in Hongkong last week

ARTHK is a rare event open to the public in the city that still has the international mix in terms of ambience & audience after the former british colony has returned to China. Since its debut in 2008, the event has readily emerged from various art fairs around the world and become an important event in the calendar of the art world thanks to the growing wealth of the asian (mainly chinese) buyers and art collectors in the region.

The followings are some of my observations being the 1st time attending the event physcially -

1. There's not enough space, or maybe too many people - 

At the preview night, it is simply impossible to navigate as the 'not-so-wide' passages between booths are flooded with people. And from the comments of many local visitors to the fair throughout the weekend, ARTHK needs to get more space next year if they are growing bigger & bigger. The organiser may think that the compact layout could create a sense of market-place with crowded buyers, but they should not forget that it is Asia here, which 'speed and efficiency' are regarded as king as well. If people are consistently obstructed by other visitors when viewing the art pieces or find the space too suffocating to walk through, they may not return next year.

Singapore's own art fair is rumoured to debut next year, it is quite obvious that they would provide a more relaxed atmosphere if ARTHK continues to perform as such.

2. Damien Hirst & Julian Opie are everywhere that you can't possibly escape from seeing a few of their works - 

This re-affirms their 'super-star' status and at the same time demonstrates that once again in the young asian market many buyers are still looking for brands rather than substance. I'm not saying Damien's or Julian's works are all bad, but in a prominent fair facing their potential clients directly face-to-face, isn't that a better way to present some of your gallery's new talents than showing something everyone has known already and available everywhere as well? Perhaps there is some sort of sales tactics there which I don't know too much, or are they just trying to get some quick cash by providing more best-selling products to the consumers? 

3. Quite a number of galleries from London have made themselves there -

'Some Days Aren't the Same' by Sarah Bridgland at the Man&Eve booth

In fact, over 150 galleries from 29 countries are in the exhibition hall. For the London galleries, big names such as Gagosian, Lisson, White Cube, Other Criteria and Hauser & Wirth are all well-stocked with full range of collections. Man & Eve, Pilar Corrias, Rokeby and Paradise Row have made it to the Art Future Galleries category which are a collection of 16 young art galleries featuring up & coming artists.

4. Special commissions and events are scatter around the venue -

Installation to the ceiling

Yoshitomo Nara's works by Marianne Boesky Gallery

Hongkong i-phone orchestra performance led by artist Samson Young & Keitai Girl performance "Hong Kong Wonderland" directed by Noriko Yamaguchi - video link

5. Off-site events and satellite shows are everywhere in the city as well, below are a few just to name -

'Angel with a mission' - solo show by Guangci 瞿廣慈香港個展《飛天使者》

Full photo set here

'Hope & Glory' - curated by Simon Birch

Full photo set here

A collaboration of Acconci studio & Ai wei wei, installation at Para/Site - video link

6. It seems the organiser has not really engaged in social networking on its own to promote the fair -

While almost a dozen of official partners listed on all propaganda materials of the fair are media entities, it is a stark contrast to see the buzz created on paper & screens by these enthusiastic partners and the 42 tweets generated by the official twitter throughout 3 months! Perhaps the difference is due to limited resources, and it seems to be a common problem - Art Basel's official twitter has only 41 tweets from debut till now! Another weird twitter practice for ARTHK is they change to another account this year! it's @ARTHK last year, and @ARTHK10 this year. Why?!

7. Finally, anyone knows who is the campaign creator for this year's propaganda? This neon-sign visual is just so hongkong & cool!!

Some of our favourites -

by Lionel Bawden at Grantpirrie's booth

A moving installation (grateful if anyone can provide details of this piece) - video link

'Sweet Valentine' by Jeon Joonho

'Dao Gives Birth to One' by Hung Keung, one of the winners of the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Awards 2009 「道生一」- 洪強, 「香港當代藝術雙年獎 2009」得獎作品

Full photo set here

Further Readings -
10 Things to See during ArtHK by Alexandra Seno for Wall Street Journal, 20.05.2010
The Next Basel?: High Hopes Crackle at ArtHK's Vernissage by Sarah Douglas for ARTINFO.com, 27.05.2010
Art Sales: sleeping giant awakes in the East by Colin Gleadell for the Telegraph, 25.05.2010
Two women reshapes hongkong's art scene by Gareth Harris for FT.com, 29.05.2010
Interview with ARTHK's Director Magnus Renfrew by Tamara de Guzman for Asia Tatler, 26.05.2010 (video)
ARTHK10's official twitter

london art fair / kinetica art fair 2010 - part 2

The London Art Fair (LAF, review part 1 here) & Kinetica Art Fair 2010 (KFA,review part 1 here) were hold within a month, and their close proximity in time allow for some observations I would like to share here.

 From the approach to the venue, I found that LAF has done quite a bit of propaganda around the venue -

The projection screen outside the Business Design Centre facing Upper Street would feature art after dark

Outdoor bus gallery from CCA

On the contrary, KAF was well hidden from the eyes of the pedestrians. Probably not entirely their fault due to the location of the venue is deep inside the plot and below street level, but I do remember it has taken me some time to figure out the way in last year. The organiser probably has identified this as well, and they have brought a spectacular moving milk float around town and on the media to get more publicity -

The milk float by Ben Parry & Jacques Chauchat (video link)

Apart from the regular exhibitor booths, both fairs have developed a series of special programmes to provide more fair-specific experience to their audience. LAF has ArtProjects which showcased 25 emerging artists/projects & Photo50 with works selected by a distinguished panel. KAF has teamed up with Cyber Sonica in its performance line-up, and held a section called Kinetic Masters showing vintage art pieces from advocates of kinetic installations.

Live performance by Musion Academy (video link)

It was the first time I attended LAF so I couldn't compare it with my past visits. But for KAF, I had a feeling the performance section has become more prominent and features a greater variety of acts. And the stage this year has involved more complex set-up which makes the performances even more enjoyable. Unfortunately the exhibitor booths do not live up to the same standard/expectations. Some of the works are fairly fancy/gimmicky without the real fun element. Having said that, there are still some truly delightful pieces around, such as these two -

Generator by Rudolf Pacsika (video link)

Flutter by Cinimod Studio (video link)

I also found there are only 2 or 3 exhibitors showing interactive / electronic art pieces in LFA. Considering we are living in the world of facebook & twitter, apple & google, and this is "London's" art fair which the city has a fame of avant garde and cutting edge tradition on its creative industry, it is slightly disappointing. Whether this is the problem of the organiser, the exhibitors or just the general economic climate; I do not know.

Full set of London Art Fair 2010 photos here
Full set of Kinetica Art Fair 2010 photos and additional video clips here

Ocean of Light by Anthony Rowe, a sonic-sensitive LED matrix (video link)

Peal by Monomatic (video link)

Further Readings -
Official website of London Art Fair
Official website of Kinetica Art Fair
The Kinetica Art Fair 2010 Picture Gallery at the Telegraph
Art fair prices even fairer this year by Arifa Akbar for the Independent, 15.01.2010
Review of London Art Fair by Oliver Basciano for artreview.com, 14.01.2010
Underwhelming show hides its greatest virtues from sight by Rachel Cloughton for journal-online.co.uk, 05.02.2010 
Interactive art on display at the Kinetic Art Fair by BBC news, 05.02.2010
Kinetica Art of the Future by Herbert Wright for Blueprint, 08.02.2010
Official vimeo of Kinetica Museum

london art fair - part 1

London Art Fair
13-17 January 2010

Following the previous post about Zoo Art Fair last year, below are my 10 favourite artists (in no particular order) from the London Art Fair so you could see how the two resemble / differ in terms of talents shown -

1. Chuck Elliott (UK)


video link

3. Vincent Fournier (Belgium)

4. Thomas Allen (USA) 

5. Kevin Osmond (UK)

6. Francisca Prieto (UK) 

video link

8. David Mach (UK)

10. Yu Jinyoung (Korea)

More review coming up in part 2.

zoo art fair 2009

Zoo Art Fair 2009
Shoreditch, London
16-19 October

As the London Art Fair is opening this week, let's have a look back on the Zoo Art Fair last autumn, and see how different the two fairs would be. The discussion below would emphasize mainly on the fair experience, while the photos show some highlights of the exhibits.

Entrance & exit of zone A

Zone A is made up of small booths for galleries. Interestingly ICA and the Serpentine Gallery also have a booth there. There are not too many booths in this area, and their size compared with the official cafe is a bit out of proportion. If the spatial layout permits, it would be good to have the cafe in the middle of a loop of small booths to increase the breathing space; instead of putting it in one side and squeezing all the booths on the other side.

Booths in zone A

ICA is selling art prints to fund its programmes

film showing at zone B

Zone B is dedicated to movies. While this gives a dedicated area solely for one form of art, it is  quite difficult to let a steady stream of visitors to watch every piece of videos duiring their stay. Perhaps due to budget and space limitations, only very few works could be shown on the projecting screen. The other works are shown on a small TV with a headphone. In order to give boarder exposure to the works, could they be streamed online in the fair's official website, say at least during the show period?

Installation and Exhibition Space in Zone C

Zone C is the most spacious among the 3 venues. And also it contains several areas of different characters. There is basement, ramp, rooms etc. for exhibitors to make their booth/display site-specific, and some did make an effort and did not disappoint to make an impression.

The space itself makes Zoo Art Fair worth the visit and of another character from Frieze in addition to the artists/works selection

Zuzanna Janin

video link

Lava (2008) by Takagi Masakatsu

video link 

Zoo Art Fair being hold at the same time of Frieze has got the advantage of the critical mass & all the media coverage. London Art Fair would undoubtedly be more focussed on local and regional works compared to the two, but being in London means works won't probably be confined to a local context. Already there is a strong emphasis and line-up on photography this year, with a day dedicated to this form of art which the public could easily relate to. It would also be interesting to see how the organiser arrange the space itself to make the experience worth re-visiting again.

Full photo set here

Further Readings -
Official website of Zoo Art Fair
Video Wall of thoughts from Zoo visitors at Winkball.com
Review by Nicholas Forrest (01.11.2009) at artmarketblog.com
Official website of London Art Fair

art february in london

overview of the entrance

Kinetica art fair debuts in london this year. Ran from 27.02-02.03.2009, the fair connects collectors, curators and the public to view and purchase artworks from leading international galleries, artist's collectives, curatorial groups and organisations specialising in kinetic, electronic and new media art.

cinimod studio's beacon in collaboration with chris o'shea - more here, here & here.

tim lewis' pony - it strolls around with visitors 'shaking hands' with its head 

wall of eyes by adrian baynes - they are motion-sensitive, would keep looking at you no matter when you move!

I attended one of the panel discussions ‘What is the Future Of Sound and Light?’, in which Martyn Ware (Future of Sound), Mike Faulkner (D-Fuse), Ghislaine Boddington (bodydataspace) & Jason Bruges showed the audience how they develop their works, how to cope with expectations from the public, bureaucracy from government officials and what have they done in the past. It is pretty valuable session -

these are a few highlights of the show -


study in white by jason bruges

clubbing robot by giles walker

krachtgever by peter bosch & simone simons

here are some clips of cybersonica performances - 

overview of steve nosurname with visuals from barry gene murphy

steve nosurname with visuals from barry gene murphy

steve nosurname with visuals from barry gene murphy

steve nosurname with visuals from barry gene murphy

performance by threep accompanied by the minimalist visual waveforms of vent media

performance by threep accompanied by the minimalist visual waveforms of Vent Media

Further reading -
Official website - kinetica art fair
Art Fair Photos from official kinetica museum website
Channel 4's footage of the kinetica art fair 2009
bathysphere recordings' flickr