Frieze Art Fair - Mandy Williams
Frieze Art Fair is an annual ritual for me; opening the day after my birthday it’s like an extended celebration. I am always excited to go and can’t imagine missing it. Sometimes the international galleries bring my attention to someone I didn’t know and whose work I really enjoyed and this year that was ShanghART showing Liang Shaoji, a 72-year-old artist who breeds silkworms, using them as a medium for her work. Her sculptural works were covered with a gauzy layer of silk, the centre floor piece resembling waves that had washed up shards of pottery from a ship-wreck.
Within the fair there was a Project section of artist commissions linked by a chosen theme – this year it was around collective identity and the outsider - and a Focus section which highlights lesser known artists. There was also a special themed area, Sex work: Feminist Art & Radical Politics, which brought together artists who have been working since the 1960s along with the galleries that supported them. In this section the highlights for me were Natalia LL, a Polish artist showing with lokal_30, whose playfully challenging and assertive photographs of women were also recently shown at Roman Road Gallery in London, and Marilyn Minter, an American artist showing with Salon 94, whose large, shimmering painting of pubic hair, Ginger, asserts its beauty in this age of lasering and waxing.
In addition to talks and performances at Frieze there was also Frieze Masters and Frieze Sculpture. I always end my visit with a walk around the sculptures in Regent’s Park. This year was selected by Clare Lilley (Director of Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park) and opened earlier in July. John Chamberlain’s FIDDLERSFORTUNE, (Gagosian Gallery), a large sparkling pink aluminium knot with ends like nail heads, looked wonderful surrounded by autumn colour. Alicja Kwade’s Big-Be-Hide of two large stones separated by a double-side mirror (kamel mennour), made good use of the reflected landscape and was a great spot for people watching – one of the other main attractions of visiting Frieze Art Fair.
Words and images by Mandy Williams