Art & Photography / In Pictures

The AnOther Guide to Frieze London 2015

Make the most out of this year's instalment of the celebrated art fair with our comprehensive cheat sheet

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Palm-Tree
My First Dream, 2014© Gary Webb, Courtesy of The Approach

Offering a discerning lens on contemporary art, Frieze London has become one of the most anticipated events on the creative calendar, luring international crowds to leafy Regent's Park with its extensive showcase of classic and progressive artworks. This October marks the fair's 13th consecutive year, and with the addition of new galleries, experiences, events and chic eateries, it's bigger, bolder and even more impressive than ever before. So, where to start? The AnOther team presents a curated and comprehensive guide to the very best of Frieze 2015

Let There Be Light 
Rest assured that if every light in all of Regent’s Park’s magnificent tent were to be extinguished simultaneously, the steady flicker of this year's myriad artworks would be more than enough to guide you. Tracey Emin’s longterm employment of neon to communicate her message clearly and powerfully continues, with a new piece entitled You Made Me Feel Beautiful Again!, while Jeppe Hein pairs neon tubing with a two-way mirror to create an elusive and playful illusionary piece which reads Be Who You Are Not Who You Were. American artist Joseph Kosuth continues the trend with a large wall installation work called Ulysses, 18 Symbols, in which words including “sailors,” “mothers,” “virgin” and “whore” demand attention (and the odd Instagam shot) mercilessly from passers-by.

Meanwhile, at Sprüth Magers, Jenny Holzer presents one of her famous LED-based installations, casting a flickering urgency over the surrounding walls with the flashing text of her almost subliminal messages. Might this mark a renaissance for light-based installations? We hope so.

Size Matters 
The ample volume of works on show this year is virtually as impressive as the sheer scale of it all. Ranging from minature money cut-outs of global city landmarks (which inevitably require a serious iPhone zoom) by the emerging Rio art collective Opavivará, to Erwin Wurm's life-sized hot water bottle sculpture, Mutter, and a colossal Felix the Cat installation by Mark Leckey, which softly looms over show-goers, bobbing in its inflatable state. Needless to say, bigger isn't always better – in fact, Louise Bourgeois' Couple, which encases a poignant embrace between two colourful clay figures in a small glass bell jar – left a lasting impression on the AnOther team and caught the eye of a certain Tracey Emin, who navigated the fair's preview in a bright pink coat. 

Keeping It Real 
There’s little that will arrest attention quite like the presence of a naked woman sitting serenely in the centre of one of the world’s foremost art fairs, and this perhaps even more so when the figure in question reveals itself to be, on closer inspection, not real at all. John De Andrea’s sculpture of a nude woman draped in a cloth is so very realistic, from the soft dimples of flesh on her hips to tiny follicles dotting her scalp, that her proximity and her cold touch will have shivers racing up and down your spine. 

De Andrea isn’t the only artist to toy with life-size models at the fair, though Tom Friedman’s Cocktail Party is less a frighteningly lifelike resemblance and more a joyful recreation. Specially conceived for Frieze London 2015, it includes 26 life-size figures acting out familiar roles at an exhibition private view, complete with curious and delightful details. Cast an especially enchanted eye over the waiter carrying tiny canapés on an Agnes Martin canvas-turned-tray, and the willing voyeur stepping backwards, as we did, to snap a shot on an iPhone. 

Good To Talk
Drawing creative and cultural masterminds from all over the globe, Frieze Art Fair presents a rare opportunity to hear from curators, critics and artists alike, and the programme of keynote lectures, panel debates and dynamic discussions accompanying the fair this year places a smattering of stars on the small stage for all ticketholders to hear from.

Today, artist and author Douglas Coupland and Emily Segal from the trend-forecasting group K-HOLE – they who predicted the rise of normcore in 2014 – will discuss energy as clickbait, examining the nature of community in the digital age. Thursday will see a panel of directors, curators and tastemakers from four global institutions debate the potential of museums to change sociocultural landscapes, with a debate intriguingly entitled The New Museums: Coming Soon to a City Near You.

On Friday and Saturday the focus will fall to England’s capital, firstly with a heated debate over that provocative question, Can Artists Still Afford to Live in London? while Saturday presents a conversation between artist Fiona Banner and design writer and curator Emily King on her most recent project.

From 1pm onwards on Saturday, the talks give a nod to London’s proud punk heritage – firstly with a conversation between brilliant founding member of legendary band The Slits and the executive member of the ICA, Gregor Muir, and finally with a headlining keynote lecture by designer, activist and all-round unstopppable force Vivienne Westwood.

Expect The Unexpected 
Shock, surprise and intrigue have come to define the ever-progressive Frieze London, and this year is certainly no exception. If the pencil sketched pornos on show at the Wilkinson Gallery stand or the inky, masturbatory illustrations by Camille Henrot aren't saucy enough to make you blush, Japanese artist Ken Kagami is hand to offer 'predicted doodles' of show-goers genitals that are almost as comical as the phallus-stuffed hat he wears while sizing up his willing victims (see above). Equally as curious is the installation by modern art collective ÅYR, who intend to explore the correlation between comfort and productivity with their self-prescribed Chill Out Chambers – a succession of beds, lit by a cluster of low-hanging lampshades and complimentary phone chargers. Then again, on crawling into Rachel Rose's compelling Tent installation, viewers are greeted by the saccharine sound of The Bee Gee's, How Deep is Your Love – surely, no one saw that one coming.  

 

Reflections On Art
Narcissus himself would be in a daze walking the hallowed aisles of Frieze London this week, such is the number of artworks on show which centre around the use of mirrored surfaces. Liu Wei’s Puzzle is perhaps the most striking of them all; an enormous, multi-faceted structure composed of aluminium alloy and glass which serves not only as an excellent surface for taking photographs in, but which also reflects almost every other artwork in the White Cube stand, serving to make the global gallery even more impactful than usual. Elsewhere, Gary Webb’s idealistic palm tree, sweetly entitled My First Dream, reflects the majestic tent’s interior structure in pastel-tinted foliage over in the The Approach stand, while Yayoi Kusama’s magnificent polka dot Pumpkin commanded the attention of Philippa and Grayson Perry on the press day.

Food For Thought 
For cuisine that's as artful as the fair itself, be sure to reserve a table at Petersham Nurseries' verdant pop-up restaurant, where diners can enjoy an eye-popping array of wild floral arrangments and a specially curated menu by chef Damian Clisby and culinary director, Lucy Boyd. Pallette pleasers include crab linguine with chilli, sea purslane and garlic, and roasted poussin with a fresh autumn salad. For something a little more low-key, head to the fair's outside terrace, where Soho-based eatery Pizza Pilgrims are serving up Neapolitan-style pizzas from their forest green oven van, alongside fruity Sohocello cocktails and Italian beers. While, health enthusiasts can afford to go wild at The Juice Well, where a vibrant kaleidoscope of organic, cold-pressed juices, super-food smoothies and cleanses are as delicious as they are nutrient-rich. 

The Frieze Feed 
In the realms of social media, Frieze is just as popular as fashion week, so make sure to use hashtags to navigate your way through the extensive coverage thematically. It seems obvious but if you want to know about the lauded gems on view at Frieze Masters for example, just seek out #FriezeMasters. The same goes for #FriezeTalks (to keep tabs on all the brilliant ‘in conversations' taking place over the week), #FriezeFilm (for the special video commissions), #FriezeLive (for the performance pieces) and so on. You can zoom in even further by searching specific artist hashtags. We’re keeping a beady eye on #Tunga for updates on the twin-centric processional performance from the Brazilian artist. 

Then of course, you need to refresh your Instagram follows for an “insider" experience of the art fair. For an insight into the inner-workings of regular Frieze exhibitors, we recommend @cheimread, @kamelmennour, @simonleegallery and @hauserwirth. For up-and-coming galleries to look out for – as featured in the fair’s Focus section, spotlighting emerging talent – there’s @thesundaypainter, @galeria_dawid_radziszewski and @simonprestongallery. And finally, there are the artists themselves. There are so many to follow but we recommend Tokyo-based contemporary multi-media artist @kenkagami, who is participating in this year’s #FriezeLive, the Venice Biennale awarded digital media artist Camille Henrot (AKA @coelocanthe) and feted Chinese painter @xu_qu for starters.

Last but not least, for those looking for a further Frieze fix, you can download a number of talks from the Frieze Talk archives on iTunes to hear discussions from the likes of Yoko Ono and John Baldessari. 

Surface Value 
Frieze is nothing if not multi-sensory, and this year’s proliferation of textural works and woven surfaces creates a touch and feel element which is impossible to resist. From Turner Prize-winner Laure Prouvost’s expansive tapestry The Smoking Image, which decorates most of MOTINTERNATIONAL’s exceptional stand, to the recurrence of feathers in the work of Jorinde Voigt and woven elements in Alexandre da Cunha’s tension-based string pieces, traditional, craft-based methods are present, but they have been subverted almost beyond recognition. 

Frieze Art Fair London runs until October 17, 2015. 

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