Frieze Art Fair Highlights 2011

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Francis Upritchard, Echo, 2011
Francis Upritchard, Echo, 2011insInstallation view, Kate MacGarry, London

Last week welcomed the biggest contemporary art event of the year, Frieze Art Fair. Taking place from October 13 – 16 in Regent’s park, the annual programme saw 60,000 visitors flood to see the work of over 1,000 artists in 173 galleries, with

Last week London welcomed the biggest contemporary art event of the year, Frieze Art Fair. Taking place from October 13 – 16 in Regent’s park, the annual programme saw 60,000 visitors flood to see the work of over 1,000 artists in 173 galleries, with various other events hosted to coincide with the three-day extravaganza. Full of variety, this year's offerings ranged from the fun (Elmgreen and Dragset’s The Fruit of Knowledge featured a life-sized monkey trying to catch a banana whilst balancing atop a pile of provocatively titled books) to the unnerving (David Altmejd’s blue cast crystallised heads on sticks and Andra Ursuta’s black flattened woman in Ramiken Crucible) and the beguiling (Doug Aitken’s installation Black Mirror featuring Chloë Sevigny and Ryan McGinley’s various nude portraits). We asked AnOther’s contributors share their highlights of this year’s ninth edition of Frieze.

Editor Nancy Waters on Francis Upritchard's solo show...
"Francis Upritchard's Echo exhibition at the Kate MacGarry Gallery was wonderful. I love her hollow-eyed melancholic human figures saturated in the rainbow shades of rave culture. There was a sense of loneliness but also humour, such as the two furry camels sprouting from ceramic urns with snooty expressions on their faces."

Contributing Editor Francesca Gavin on the female artists to keep an eye on...
“One thought came to mind this Frieze – women artists are the ones to watch. At Frieze a pile of Alex Bag TV works proved that the hyper-reality of Ryan Trecartin had fascinating roots in her trash take on TV culture, while Hannah Perry’s mashup video-music performance on LuckyPDF’s Frieze project was a fresh and resonant alternative. For monochrome fans, Czech artist Eva Kot'átková’s solo presentation at hunt kastner was an unusual take on control and utopia in sculptural form. At the other end of the (colour) spectrum, Boltelang artist Bianca Brunner won fans with her psychedelic spilt oil photographs at the Sunday Art Fair.”

Josephine Meckseper’s show at Timothy Taylor Gallery was the stand out show of the week. The works were a perfect amalgam of consumerism, collage, fashion, Americana and pop. A close rival was Marlene Dumas’ awesome meditation on fame, death and celebrity at Frith Street Gallery. Here haunting crucifixions hung alongside portraits of Amy Winehouse and Phil Spector, while a macabre and putrid Osama Bin Laden looked out from a wall near Lawrence of Arabia. The big opening was White Cube’s new mammoth outpost in Bermondsey, an ode to the abstract with beautiful work from Marieta Chirulescu and Eileen Quinlan.”

Fashion Editor Agata Belcen on OMA at the Barbican...
“The current OMA exhibition includes a delightful short film about one of the domestic residences the firm has built. The house, in all its concrete beauty, with plenty of narrow and steep staircases and technological innovations, is a bit of a nightmare for the housekeeper as she wields the vacuum cleaner and can't get her head around purposeful holes that cause leaks. It's nice that OMA engage in the disjunct between house as work of art and house as inhabited space.”

Contributing arts writer Jessica Lack on Michael Landy, Wilhelm Sasnal and Doug Aitken...
“Michael Landy's credit crunch machine was a wonderful Heath Robinson like contraption that sliced up your credit card and produced a work of art in return. Wilhelm Sasnal's painting exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery turned snap shot impressions into nostalgic memories, whilst Doug Aitken's film installation at Victoria Miro Gallery was a cool, slick study of the legacy of post-pop and minimalism.”

Picture Editor Zoe Maughan on an epic Frieze 2011...
Frieze Marathon! So much to see, but highlights for me included Andreas Gursky's club scene, Ryan McGinley's falling girl, Wolfgang Tillmans' Freischwimmer 190, and a favourite for being new to my world: Nathalie Djurberg's clay animation.”

Commissioning Editor Laura Bradley on the Garden Marathon and the south London buzz...
“A lovely afternoon spent visiting Doug Aitken's new show at Victoria Miro. The Serpentine's Garden Marathon was a welcome retreat from the intensity of Frieze. The sixth in their brilliant Marathon series included talks by artist couple Peter Saville and Anna Blessmann who discussed their TV Blumen series. South London is having its moment with the brand new 58,000 sq ft Casper Mueller Kneer Architects-designed White Cube in Bermondsey and the Old Vic Tunnels which have transformed to showcase artwork and film from the likes of Stanley Donwood, Jonathan Yeo and Antony Micalle.”

In 2012 the launch of Frieze New York and Frieze Masters will complement the existing October fair.

The Minotaur is at the Old Vic Tunnels until 25 October. Josephine Meckseper at the Timothy Taylor Gallery runs until 12 November. Structure and Absence at White Cube Bermondsey runs until 26 November. Marlene Dumas: Foresaken is at the Frith Street Gallery until 26 November. OMA/Progress at The Barbican runs until 19 February 2012.

Suggested Reading: Doug Aitken on Black Mirror and Chloë Sevigny, and Wilhelm Sasnal at the Whitechapel Gallery.

Text by Lucia Davies