London Art Fair celebrates 30 years with the 2018 edition at the Business Design Centre. While the number of art fairs seems to multiply each year, London Art Fair has remained true to its origins and celebrates 3 decades as the first pit stop of the year for collectors of Modern British Art. Yet the fair has evolved with the times, featuring an impressive collection of contemporary art alongside Modern British, and becoming even more international this year, with 131 galleries from 5 continents. Here are some of FAD’s favourites from London Art Fair 2018;
Those in search of photography or cutting edge contemporary art from around the globe should venture upstairs to a rabbit warren of galleries housing Art Projects and Photo50.
Part of Art Projects Dialogues features an international selection of galleries curated by Misal Adnan Yildiz showing a vibrant mix of photography, video art, painting and textiles by women artists. The focus on women is timely given the global movement for gender equality, with #MeToo and #TimesUp making waves in the film and advertising industries and politics as well as the art world. Angela Tiatia at Alaska Gallery stands out with a video installation in which she stars, subverting the male gaze that runs through the history of art in portraits of nude of semi-clothed women, by fixing her gaze unwaveringly at the camera as her bare, stiletto-clad legs climb up and down a wall. The markings on her legs seem like decorated stockings, but are in fact tattoos typical of her Samoan heritage, and her work subverts misogynist notions of ‘exotic’ women.
On the ground floor an unusual selection of art from London Art Fair’s Museum Partner Art UK can be found near the entrance. Five leading contemporary artists have dived into the digitised vaults of Art UK, an online database featuring artworks from over 3,250 of the UK’s museums, universities and more unusual venues such as a lighthouse. The result is Art of the Nation – Five Artists Choose, an eclectic mini-exhibition of treasures from the nation’s art collections curated by Kathleen Soriano who has invited the artists: Mat Colishaw, Oscar Murillo, Haroon Mirza, Rose Wylie and Sonia Boyce to choose up to six works. There are already over 200,000 paintings featured on Art UK, with their next ambitious project involving adding 170,000 sculptures to the site this year.
London Art Fair is a great place to find reasonably priced prints for the burgeoning collector, as well as originals.Jealous Gallery is a must for lovers of prints by established and emerging artists, featuring prints and drawings by familiar names such as Chris Levine, David Shrigley and Charming Baker, alongside surreal originals by newcomer Delphine Lebourgeois, reminiscent of Aubrey Beardsley, and diamond dusted lips by Sara Pope.
Woolff Gallery are featuring mesmerising lightbox projections by talented duo Davy & Kristin McGuire, visceral dripping paint sculptures by Russell West, and Love Jordan’s unique interpretation of the paint spectrum which evoke the aesthetic of Damien Hirst’s medicine cabinets.
Winners of the Young Masters Art Prize at Cynthia Corbett Gallery include Isabelle van Zeijl, whose haunting self-portraits have been manipulated into C-print canvases in the style of Dutch Old Masters. Cynthia Corbett founded the prize in 2009 to nurture burgeoning artistic talent.
Tucked away amongst a strip of galleries alongside the main stretch of the fair, are some gems at Bangkok gallery La Lanta Fine Art: The Nippon Phenomenon by Eri Imamura represents the response of her psyche to the 2011 earthquake-Tsunami off the Sendai coast in Japan, in the form of Manga illustrations worked into sculptural embroideries on vintage Kimono material, whilst Chamnan Chongpaiboon’s imposing portraits employ Aboriginal dotting technique and pointillism with an Asian Pop palette.
Barcelona’s Galeria Miquel Alzueta displays colourful geometric abstractions by Bruno Olle, and captivating photographs of fashionably dressed women by Andrea Torres, who makes painterly interventions on the canvas to render the subjects anonymous.
London Art Fair is on until 21 January: https://www.londonartfair.co.uk