LONDON – Frieze returned as a live event – and not too soon.
The white tents were once again hoisted at Regent’s Park, and well-dressed guests from all over the world returned to the five-day artistic extravagance, which was teeming with Ruinart champagne, fine dinners, lavish parties – and Hermès Birkins. of all colors and sizes. .
Visitors to the fair conversed in German, French and Chinese during the fair, which ended on October 17 and saw 160 UK and international art galleries showcase work by emerging and established artists. It was a homecoming for many collectors and dealers, who were forced to do business virtually during the lockdown.
Jia Wei, partner of Beijing-based contemporary art gallery Spurs, said that while it was difficult for the team to travel from China to the UK due to the tension between the two countries over Hong Kong, human rights issues and COVID-19, it was important to be present at Frieze London.
“Our artists are very successful at home. We are delighted to introduce them to an international market. I think the appetite for Chinese art is at an exciting point where people really want to be involved in dialogues about contemporary Chinese art, ”Wei said.
Tarka Russell, director of the Timothy Taylor Gallery on Bolton Street in Mayfair in London, said she could sense that people had been deprived of human interaction and to see art up close.
“This Frieze really packaged a punch in terms of what was on offer, and London definitely came back with a huge bang. It’s amazing to see so much energy here. It is the cultural capital of the world, and it was a very joyful experience for so many people, ”she said.
Russell said the pandemic had little impact on the gallery’s operations. “We have a very strong and dedicated group of customers who have really supported us during COVID-19. They bought works of art that they didn’t necessarily see in person, ”she added.
She noted that all of the pieces by American artist Honor Titus that Timothy Taylor showed at Frieze were sold before the fair even started.
Robert Diament, DThe director of the Margate-based Carl Freedman Gallery and co-host of the popular ‘Talk Art’ podcast with actor Russell Tovey, believes this year has been the best edition of Frieze he has attended in over a decade. .
“This year, they’ve redesigned the place a bit, and it feels a lot more spacious and quieter. It is a more pleasant experience to be at the fair, both as a spectator and also as an exhibitor, ”he said.
“He’s been busy every day too: there hasn’t really been a time when he passed out. Normally on the second day of the fair we are much quieter, but this year it has always been very busy. So it’s fantastic, ”he added.
Sold-out works in the gallery included sea creature-inspired vases costing £ 6,500 each by Lindsey Mendick and a series of drawings by Tracy Emin, her first new work since cancer surgery.
David Hoyland, whose Seventeen Gallery on Kingsland Road in Hackney, east London, presented a solo presentation by Ney York-based Erin O’Keefe, said this Frieze was a great opportunity to see so many his friends and foreign collectors.
“We show emerging art, often from younger or still unknown artists, so the fair is an important platform to create an audience and a market. Frieze was very successful in doing this. We had a positive response and sold all of Erin’s works, ”he added.
Lyndsey Ingram, whose eponymous gallery is located on Bourdon Street in Mayfair, exhibited for the first time as part of the Frieze Masters. She described the vibe at the fair as “cheerful” and said sales had been “consistent and respectable” given the current moment.
Asked about the crowd at Frieze Masters, she said there had been people from the outside and lots of locals, “a reminder of the strong and vibrant arts community” that exists in London. “It was fun. The days are long and the turnout has been good – it’s clear people are eager to see new work.
Ingram said the gallery’s exhibition of Ellsworth Kelly’s early works alongside Korean artist Kim Yikyung’s ceramic Moon Jars had been “incredibly popular.”
Turin gallery owner Franco Noero took a multi-faceted approach to Frieze, with a spectacular stand at the fair resembling a work of art and two separate exhibitions in London.
“Hell in Its Heyday” featured the work of Pablo Bronstein and was set at the Sir John Soane Museum, while “The Oedipus Complex”, a collaboration with Trinity Fine Art, featured the work of Francesco Vezzoli, a longtime friend and collaborator by Miuccia Prada.
Vezzoli, acting both as an artist and curator, created an installation of his own work, alongside a group of Baroque busts by the 19th century sculptor Alessandro Rondoni. Vezzoli wrapped the busts in the scarlet silk of Catholic cardinals from Gammarelli, the ecclesiastical tailors of Rome.
“We had some concerns before we came, due to the pandemic, but we were pleasantly surprised by Frieze – and we’ve been so busy in London,” Noero said, adding that sales at the fair had been good, and the response to both outdoor exhibitions had been positive. He said he planned to return to London next year.
Eva Langret, director of Frieze London, said this edition, as a whole, was aimed at highlighting “new voices” in the arts community.
“We’re excited about this moment, about London, our community of artists and collectors, and bringing everyone back to celebrate art. I think at this particular moment, and after all that we’ve been through, it was really important for us to think about what the fair means as a platform and how it can help elevate new voice, ”she said.
She named Alberta Whittle, who won the Frieze Artist Award last year; Sammy Daloji; Ali Cherri; Jesse Darling; Rindon Johnson; and Sin Wai Kin as emerging names to watch in this year’s edition.
During the week, a wide range of satellite events and parties kept the guests busy.
Alexander McQueen hosted his Spring 2022 womenswear show and after-party at The Standard the day before the Frieze VIP premiere.
Alongside Daphne Guinness, Lara Stone and Emilia Clarke at the exhibit was Hong Kong gallery owner and collector Pearl Lam, a longtime supporter of the late Lee Alexander McQueen. Lam was later seen at Frieze Masters browsing Flemish paintings and 20th century art. Prada co-creative director Raf Simons and Bianca Quets Luzi, managing director of Simons’ namesake brand, were also spotted at Frieze Masters.
Simons wasn’t the only major European designer in town. Thursday, Donatella Versace hosted a conference at Central Saint Martins, which the brand supported in 2017 with the Gianni Versace scholarship. She was promoting the upcoming book “Versace Catwalk: The Complete Collections”.
Matchesfashion hosted a dinner at 5 Carlos Place with guests including Erdem Moralıoğlu, Roksanda Ilincic and Christopher Kane, while Dunhill hosted a cocktail party and the screening of a new short film. It was created in partnership with Frieze, documenting the collaboration between brand creative director Mark Weston and photographer artist Ellen Carey on the Spring 2022 collection.
Prior to that, guests visited a completely renovated townhouse on Hanover Square, now home to The Maine Mayfair, a New England-inspired brewery by Canadian restaurateur Joey Ghazal, designed in collaboration with Brady Williams.
That same night, Stella McCartney marked the launch of the gender-neutral Stella Shared 3 collaboration with South London slow fashion artist and designer Ed Curtis. The designer hosted a party at the brand’s flagship on Old Bond Street, which was co-hosted by Buffalo Zine and set design was by Lydia Chan.
Fashion label Zilver showed off its pop-up store and “Do Disrupt” exhibition experience with a cocktail in Soho. The exhibition presents works by Marc-Aurèle Debut, Andreas Greiner, Armin Keplinger and Giuseppe Lo Schiavo.
Meanwhile, Fiorucci co-hosted a party with Marchioness of Bath Emma Weymouth in Knightsbridge to celebrate the launch of the brand’s collaboration with Lakwena and Black History Month.
“What she does fits so well into Fiorucci’s universe. We have a long history of working with artists. Keith Haring, in the 1970s, before he was known, spray-painted the entire store, ”said Daniel Fletcher, creative director of the brand’s menswear.
On Friday, the winner of this year’s Hublot Design Prize was unveiled at the Serpentine Gallery. American illustrator Mohammed Fayaz, who designs posters for parties and events with digital tools, won the grand prize – 100,000 Swiss francs, or $ 108,312.
Italian designer Federica Fragapane, who turns data into artistic graphics, and Eva Feldkamp, founder of All in Awe, a non-profit organization that connects charities with creative professionals, won the awards Newly created Pierre Keller. They will receive 15,000 Swiss francs, or $ 16,236. each.
Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries and jury member of the Hublot Design Prize, praised Fayaz’s innovative and politically engaged approach to poster design.
“It’s extraordinary how Mohammed reinvents illustration. These posters have real meaning for her chosen LGBTQ community in New York City. At the same time, he transcends the beyond of time, because he also writes history. I’m sure he will document this community for decades to come, ”he said.
During Frieze weekend, fashion designer Mira Mikati hosted an intimate dinner with Spanish painter Javier Calleja to celebrate the launch of their fashion collaboration. One of Calleja’s new paintings, a large portrait of a young girl titled “Really? Was presented at Frieze London with Almine Rech Gallery.
The artist said he was happy to see that the art world is coming back to life after 2 years of pandemic. When it comes to working with Mikati, Calleja said it was a dream come true.
“I met Mira’s works a long time ago and thought there was a perfect connection between my work and her creations. For years, I dreamed of collaborating with her. She is a great artist and a great designer with an incredible team. When someone gives you more than you can give in a project, you feel like it’s a great gift, ”he added.