October 18, 2009

The bubble having burst, Frieze seems to have lost its fizz

by Tatyana Franck

In its 7th year of existence, Frieze endured its first albeit numerous gallery issues especially since the Dollar lost so much of its value. Having a somewhat vacant space, the gallery organizers had to act and did so by creating a new section called “Frame,” set aside for galleries having been in existence less than 6 years each displaying a “one man show.”

The most distinguished pieces from this year were the latest works from Anselm Kieffer and were exhibited privately at White Cube! Without the decorum afforded by the Grand Palais but with triptychs enough to take one’s breath away...

Some crotchety French deemed that this latest edition held by Frieze was not worth the extra walk. Many galleries, however, were not of the same opinion and took a chance. Hauser & Wirth from Zurich, London and New York sold even more than they had the previous year! One of the more amusing installations in the commercial exhibit was that entitled “Nutz club de Milwaukee’. In this small space that had been turned into a nightclub, the younger generation could be seen wearing masks lit from the interior…nothing was for sale save the wine and beer!
As for Victoria Miro, she presented a magnificent installation dedicated to the young British artist Conrad Shawcross. An exhibit well worth the space!

Conrad Shawcross, Slow Arc Inside a Cube IV, 2009, Light, steel, motors, 93 x 93 x 140 cm. Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro Gallery, London. Copyright the Artist.

Faced with hard times, the pavilion of art and design was set up in Berkeley Square decided to open its doors to Fine Art galleries. A well-reasoned choice as each visitor left with feelings of inequality. In art as for politics, being open to all is not always a panacea!

It should be noted, however, that young design galleries such as the innovative Carpenters Workshop from London with their portrait by Study for a mirror from the Random International collection (S.Wood, F.Ortkrass, H. Koch)

Random International, Study for a mirror, 2009. Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery and Random International.

Random International, Study for a mirror, 2009. Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery and Random International.

and the Cathedral : a table by Pierre Paulin presented on a stand fashioned by Perimeter.

Pierre Paulin, Cathédrale: table, Aluminium laqué, verre, Edition limitée de 8 ex + 2 prototypes + 2 EA, signés et numérotés. Photo: Olivier Bac. Courtesy Galerie Perimeter.

Beyond design, the neo-gothic contemporary art exposition, organized by the agent for all Visual Arts placed in the old Holy Trinity church, next to Regent’s Park made a huge impression. Everything was for sale in that church, even its soul!

The original initiatives are in abundance around Freize, most notably the opening of the Museum of Everything (cf. newsletter ArtyParade from the month of November). Another exposition not on the original circuit, the most interesting was that which was organized by the English gallery Paradise Row who temporarily installed its exhibition in a dilapidated building in the Mayfair district, awaiting the completion of its new gallery in West London. “Play” is an exposition with a game theme and involves public participation. Many artists took part in the performances.

Just seeing the amount of people waiting to get into new contemporary art sale exhibitions at Christie’s or at Saatchy gallery during the evening organized by Philip’s, it must be said that during a time which lacked buyers, the auction houses certainly appear to be able pique the interest of a large number of people!

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The bubble having burst, Frieze seems to have lost its fizz