Amelia’s Magazine | Frieze Art Fair 2010: Exhibition Review

anarchist book fair london
Kutlag Ataman column frieze by jen costello
‘Column’ by Kutlug Ataman (2008) Thomas Dane Gallery. Illustration by Jenny Costello.

Unlike the formidable ‘fashion pack’ who rear their waspish heads every 6 months, website like this the art crowd – a jolly army of jacquard pashminas, drugs trilby hats and black horn-rimmed glasses – tend to be a more pleasant bunch. But visiting last Sunday’s Frieze Art Fair with so many of them arriving in droves, especially families (wanting little Cuthbert and Horatio to get a good cultural grounding early on) made standing in front of a particular artwork trying to ‘get’ it fairly difficult, especially when there’s someone behind you with a camera, waiting for you to get out of the way. Swarming crowds aside, the participating galleries delivered up their usual array of weird and wonderful delights. My personal favourite was ‘Clowd and Cloun’ by New York artist Roni Horn, of Eve Presenhuber Gallery, Zurich a series of images featuring a clown’s head in rapid movement (if you’ve never gotten over the film ‘IT’ like myself, then this is for you!)

Section from 'Clowd and Cloun (Gray)'  by Roni Horne,
Section from ‘Clowd and Cloun (Gray)’ by Roni Horn (2001) Eve Presenhuber Gallery. Photo by Viola Levy.

More macabre and disturbing was Berlinde de Bruyckere’s ‘Lingam’ (2010) from the Zurich Gallery Hauser & Wirth– a grotesque ‘lump of flesh’ suspended in a dome-like structure, with two legs indicating that it might have once been a person. Other works attracting attention was Belfast artist Cathy Wilkes’ intriguing installation ‘The Sea of Galilee’ (2009) courtesy of Berlin’s Giti Nourbakhsch Gallery. Featuring a scattered collection of battered objects including a life-size female figurine and a child’s nativity scenes, the work provided an intriguing reflection on religion and physical embodiment. New York’s David Zwiner Gallery unearthed ‘Trump’ (1998) a dazzling early work by Chris Ofili which demonstrates the artist’s unique manipulation of colour and texture at its most jaw-dropping (I was brought out of my awe-stricken trance by exclamations of: “Mummy, is that ELEPHANT poo?! Get over it!)

Chris Ofili 'Trump@ Photo by Linda Nylind
‘Trump’ by Chris Ofili (1998) David Zwiner. Photo by Linda Nylind courtesy of Frieze.

And the Lehmen Maupin Gallery also in New York, presented enfant terrible Tracey Emin at her provocative best with ‘Dark Hole’ (2009) – a work which among other things, takes the traditional feminine art form of embroidery and turns it on its head (quite literally some might say!)

Tracy Emin 'Dark Hole'
‘Dark Hole’ by Tracey Emin (2009) Lehmen Maupin. Photo by Viola Levy.

Frieze Projects Curator Sarah McCrory provided an engaging and accessible diversion from the serious business of browsing the works on display (and trying to chat to tired and grumpy gallery owners!) The bemused feelings of many newcomers to the art scene were summed up by Annika Ström’s project ‘Ten Embarrassed Men’ where ten be-suited corporate types shuffled around the festival looking suitably awkward (but one of them still managed to tacitly flirt with my companion to her amusement!)

Ten Embarrased Men- Linda Nylind
Annika Ström’s‘Ten Embarrassed Men.’ Photo by Linda Nylind courtesy of Frieze

And ‘Frozen’ by Cartier award-winning Simon Fujiwara took visitors on a tour of excavation sites, mostly seen through glass in certain areas below the floor of the Frieze exhibition space. Depicting a fictional Roman settlement described as “bawdy, materialistic and gender-equal,” the project was explained as the artist’s attempt to return to art in its purist form before the advent of Christianity made it “inextricably linked to piety and morality.” I wasn’t too sure how relevant this statement was given how seemingly little influence Christianity has over art today, but the project still appealed to my inner ancient-history buff!

'frozen' Photo by Linda Nylind
Section from Simon Fujiwara’s ‘Frozen’ Installation. Photo by Polly Braden courtesy of Frieze

Outside in The Sculpture Park, the endless green fields of Regents Park were a welcome break from the slightly suffocating atmosphere inside the tent, and visitors were allowed more freedom to engage with the works on display. Artist Gavin Turk’s “Les Bikes de Bois Rond” was a big hit, allowing visitors to hop on a bike, cycle round the park and return to collect their certificate on ‘having participated in an art work.’ It’s a shame many other art exhibitions can’t take place in the open air.

les bikes du bois ronde
Gavin Turk’s ‘Les Bikes du Bois Rond’ Photo by Linda Nylind courtesy of Frieze

On the Frieze Film side, Linder’s Forgetful Green stole the show in comparison to the other more abstract films presented. Shot by Vogue photographer Tim Walker, the film was an ode to hazy drunken summer days, with its motley crew of hedonistic characters (including Linder herself) painted in garish colours, who gorge on rose petals and birthday cake, and roll around fields of flowers in debauched ecstasy – in Richard Nicoll outfits naturally! I wanted to jump in the film, don a wig and some false eyelashes and throw birthday cake around with them for eternity…

forgetful green
forgetful green
forgetful green
Stills from Forgetful Green, from CT Editions: The Protagonist

Although many are now championing the smaller and more independent art fairs, when it comes to Frieze, it’s important to look beyond the corporate trimmings, and the bustling crowds, as it still remains the best way to digest all that’s new and exciting in the art world in one (admittedly exhausting!) afternoon.

freize art fair by jen costello
‘Map of the World in Ties and Jackets’ by Jonathan Monk (2009), Lisson Gallery. Illustration by Jenny Costello.

Categories ,Annika Ström, ,Archaeology, ,art, ,Berlinde de Bruyckere, ,Birthday Cake, ,Cartier Award, ,Cathy Wilkes, ,Chris Ofili, ,Christianity, ,David Zwiner, ,Drunk, ,Eve Presenhuber, ,False Eyelashes, ,Freize, ,Frieze Art Fair, ,Giti Nourbakhsch, ,Hauser and Wirth, ,Jennifer Costello, ,Jenny Costello, ,Jonathan Monk, ,Kutlug Ataman, ,Lehmen Maupin, ,Linda Nylind, ,Linder, ,Lisson Gallery, ,Polly Braden, ,Regents Park, ,Richard Nicoll, ,Roman, ,Roni Horn, ,Rose Petals, ,Simon Fujiwara, ,Thomas Dane, ,Tim Walker, ,Tracey Emin, ,vogue, ,Wig

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Amelia’s Magazine | Frieze Art Fair 2011: Exhibition Review

Salon 94 at Frieze Art Fair 2011.

It shouldn’t really be possible to deduce trends in the art world, approved should it? Yet that is exactly what I was able to do at Frieze Art Fair. By housing a spectacular array of galleries all alongside each other in vast tents, dosage some with work by the same artist shown on different continents, medicine the sameness of much art is highlighted. And I say trends because none of these similarities can really be named a movement, not when the artists are flung so far and wide that they can have no possible involvement with each other than a fleeting knowledge gleaned from the media or touring art shows.

This year the biggest trends seemed to follow only a couple of themes.. deducible even as I zipped around the fair in a matter of hours. I must admit that I make judgements on what I like within milliseconds at such events, so by default most of the art that I picked up on were things that spoke to me (and not always for a good reason).

After by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster.

Frieze-Art-Fair-2011-review From the River-Christina-Mackie
From the River by Christina Mackie at Herald St.

Frieze-Art-Fair-2011-review-Map of Truths and Beliefs by Grayson-Perry
Map of Truths and Beliefs by Grayson Perry.

Isa Genzken.

Neon letter artwork and giant typography in general are popular (Tracey Emin, hello), as are craft inspired pieces that pile together assortments of materials to create something that often looks similar to a school art project. Add to this ceramics, tapestry (Grayson Perry, you have a lot to answer for, and I love you) and old toys, and the potential to create something exciting becomes seriously viable – though that line between primary school art project and stroke of genius is often hard to distinguish.

David Altmejd at Andrea Rosen Gallery.

Frieze-Art-Fair-2011-review-Ramiken Crucible by Andra-Ursuta
Ramiken Crucible by Andra Ursuta.

This trend sometimes crosses over with a very strong theme that says a lot about the spiritual deficit of our current lives: curious creations that bear significant reference to tribal deities and animist beliefs but also often with strong links to our present lives. Think crystallised heads on sticks, strange shaped skulls with flapping teeth, a flattened woman who looks like she’s just been removed from a peat bog: her body glistens with a jelly like substance, yet she wears trainers.

Joy by Tomoaki Suzuki.

Elmgreen and Dragset.

In opposition to this present day esotericism I also found realistic figures in banal situations, often in miniature size. Or play dead, high heels and Blackberry at the feet or a morgue trolley. Ring a bell, Ron Mueck?

Doppelganger (Blue) by Peter Liversidge.

Frieze-Art-Fair-2011-review-Gert-and-Uwe-Tobias Contemporary Fine Arts Berlin
Gert and Uwe Tobias at Contemporary Fine Arts Berlin.

Odd arrangements of objet trouvé on shelves have never been more popular. As ever I was also attracted to all the colourful decorative paintings. Aesthetically pleasing, and close in many ways to illustration.

Pierre Huyghe: Recollection.

And then of course there was the hermit crab in Pierre Huyghe‘s Recollection. That funny creature in a darkened room, benignly going about his own business in a small tank with only smaller creatures for friends. He bears a sculpted head on his back ( a replica of Brancussi’s Sleeping Muse) as he is coo-ed over by the moneyed hordes, marvelling at out total dominion over nature. But maybe the last laugh is on us? For what cares the hermit crab where he makes his bed.

Colourful art world characters.

In the past I have been put off attending Frieze Art Fair by what I have heard about the experience. And it was, indeed, a bizarre one. Whilst the plethora of artwork on display undoubtedly provides loads of inspiration, I think a whistle stop tour is necessary to weed out all the dross (of which there is much) and retain a modicum of sanity. But the event undeniably left a curiously icky feeling inside: I’ve never seen so many rich people in one place, and Frieze stank of serious wealth. Ridiculous, unnecessary wealth, of the kind that sucks the lifeblood out of whole nations and forces us to reevaluate our connection the universe. Do you sense the irony? We all know that art is a huge commodity in our money obsessed times, but here it is laid bare for all to see… and it’s disheartening to realise just how much the art world relies on the buying and selling powers of the mega rich to survive. Surely art is about more than this?

Frieze Art Fair continues until Sunday 16th October – you can visit the Sculpture Park for free, more details here.

Categories ,Andra Ursuta, ,Andrea Rosen Gallery, ,Animist, ,berlin, ,Brancussi, ,Christina Mackie, ,Contemporary Fine Arts, ,craft, ,David Altmejd, ,Deities, ,Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, ,Doppelganger (Blue), ,Elmgreen and Dragset, ,Frieze Art Fair, ,Gert and Uwe Tobias, ,Grayson Perry, ,Herald St, ,Hermit Crab, ,Isa Genzken, ,Joy, ,Magic, ,Neon, ,Objet Trouvé, ,Peter Liversidge, ,Pierre Huyghe, ,Pottery, ,Recollection, ,Ron Mueck, ,Salon 94, ,School Art Project, ,Sleeping Muse, ,spiritual, ,Tapestry, ,Tomoaki Suzuki, ,Tracey Emin, ,typography

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Amelia’s Magazine | Frieze Art Fair 2011 Trends: Neon Signs and Typography

Now (#2 mirror) by Doug Aitken

Now for the first in my round up of trends from Frieze Art Fair 2011: my pick of neon sign writing and typographic treats. Make what you will of the words that have been chosen for pride of place in these artworks…

Jack Pierson

After by Dominque Gonzalez-Foerster

All You Can Eat by Farhad Moshiri

Jung Lee at One and J. Gallery, there Seoul.

Warm Broad Glow II (this read negro sunshine in full) by Glenn Ligon

You made ME LOVE You by Tracey Emin

Hairy Beaver; Glory Road 2003 by Jason Rhoades

Categories ,2011, ,After, ,All You Can Eat, ,Dominque Gonzalez-Foerster, ,Doug Aitken, ,Farhad Moshiri, ,Frieze Art Fair, ,Glenn Ligon, ,Hairy Beaver; Glory Road 2003, ,Jack Pierson, ,Jason Rhoades, ,Jung Lee, ,Letters, ,Neon, ,Now (#2 mirror), ,One and J. Gallery, ,review, ,Seoul, ,Tracey Emin, ,trend, ,typography, ,Warm Broad Glow II, ,You made ME LOVE You

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Amelia’s Magazine | Frieze Art Fair 2011 Trends: Spiritual, Tribal and Animist Art

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-David Altmejd
Next in my round up of Frieze Art Fair 2011 trends: examples of the spiritual, buy more about tribal and animist inspired art that dominates the current global art scene. Proof, decease if ever if it was needed, of a struggle with meaning in our consumer driven world.

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-David Altmejd
One of the first things I saw were these weird heads by David Altmejd, which mix elements of tribal and ancient cultures with recognisably modern features (love the ponytail).

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-David Brian Smith
Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-David Brian Smith
David Brian Smith‘s Great Expectations – We Were Silhouettes went for a quasi Christian angle – the lone man amongst his psychedelic sheep. At Carl Freedman Gallery.

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-Evgeny Antufiev
Russian artist Evgeny Antufiev worked with stitched textiles to create these strange beasts, crossing the alien with the tribal. At Regina Gallery.

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-Stas Volyazlovsky
Fellow Russian artist Stas Volyazlovsky crossed the esoteric with the political in his huge textile art.

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-Georg Kargl Gallery
I don’t know who created this but it caught my eye at the Georg Kargl Gallery, Vienna: a strange floating head.

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-Isa Genzken
At Hauser & Wirth Isa Genzken showed Geburt (Birth) – a disturbing quasi human mannequin prostrate on the floor.

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-Broadway 1602 New York
Broadway 1602 New York was home to this equally odd dolls’ house, complete with eye stuck in vagina and silver penis seeping beads. Nice.

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-Patrick Jackson
Two bearded men in repose by Patrick Jackson at the Francois Ghebaly Gallery, LA. Religious ecstasy, or something more sinister?

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-Andra Ursata
Shown in my previous blogAndra Ursata‘s flattened woman, Ramiken Crucible.

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-The Breeder Athens
Also loved this collaged wall decal – artist unknown. Decorating the stand for The Breeder Athens.

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-391
Also at The Breeder, this is a section of a huge painting. Hanging clowns and others, for who knows what indiscretion. Disturbing but also strangely beautiful.

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-Rodrigo Torres
Rodrigo Torres planted his contemplative goat man at the junction of a busy thoroughfare.

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-Zhang Xiaogang
Asian artists are grossly under represented at Frieze. Zhang Xiaogang‘s neon baby lay on a slab in a mirrored artwork – a sacrificial reflection perhaps?

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-Raqib Shaw
Raqib Shaw produced intricate decorative pieces that featured dragon mermaids, multi headed snakes and mysterious orbs.

Frieze Art Fair 2011 review-Mark Alexander detail
All Watched Over by Machines of Infinite Loving Grace by Mark Alexander took a more painterly approach with an intricate oil that was clearly influenced by Hieronymus Bosch.

Viewing this art in the context of Frieze, one can’t help but wonder where exactly all this soul searching will lead…

Take a peak at my round up of typographic trends and also read my full review of Frieze 2011.

Categories ,2011, ,All Watched Over by Machines of Infinite Loving Grace, ,Andra Ursata, ,Animist, ,Asian, ,Athens, ,Broadway 1602, ,Carl Freedman Gallery, ,collage, ,Consumer, ,David Altmejd, ,David Brian Smith, ,Evgeny Antufiev, ,Francois Ghebaly Gallery, ,Frieze Art Fair, ,Geburt (Birth), ,Georg Kargl Gallery, ,Goat Man, ,Great Expectations – We Were Silhouettes, ,Hauser & Wirth, ,Hieronymus Bosch, ,Isa Genzken, ,Los Angeles, ,Mannequin, ,Mark Alexander, ,new york, ,Patrick Jackson, ,Ramiken Crucible., ,Raqib Shaw, ,Regina Gallery, ,review, ,Rodrigo Torres, ,Russian, ,spiritual, ,Stas Volyazlovsky, ,textiles, ,The Breeder, ,trends, ,Tribal, ,Vienna, ,Zhang Xiaogang

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with King of Kitsch Luke Twigger

At first glance on Luke, mind you’d be forgiven for thinking that you had stumbled across a slickly designed online charity/tacky souvenir shop. Firstly, page there are the ornamental fawns, viagra replicas which you may well have seen nestled among the clutter in your Nan’s display cabinet. Secondly, there is the glazed winged-cherub, staring serenely into the distance with a violin resting on its shoulder, which wouldn’t look out of place on one of the dusty shelves of a country souvenir shop (except these ones have ipod docks – check them out here!). But look more closely and you’ll find that there is certainly more than meets the eye.

Original drawings of ipod dock series (courtesy of Luke Twigger)

There is no denying that Luke Twigger’s work is kitsch with a capital K. His work is, however, palatable because it is built on a foundation of the familiar, drawing you in, but also challenging you to think beyond the realms of conventionality and the expected with a postmodern twist on his subject matter. His creations frequently involve taking something purely functional and modifying it to the point where it no longer resembles its original form, challenging the viewer’s belief system in how an object should be defined. Drawing on the influences of kitsch culture to create objects made entirely by hand, Luke straddles art, design and craft to form an impressive portfolio, which is quirky and cool (and occasionally bizarre) in equal measure.

Original drawings of budgie speakers (courtesy of Luke Twigger)

From kaleidoscopic Chesterfield sofas to melting candles of the Virgin Mary, this eccentric marriage of classic objects/well known figures with something so out of context is what makes Luke’s work compelling. For example, take his latest project, The Three Mothers. Viewed as potentially sacrilegious by having a novelty candle moulded into the shape of Virgin Mary which can be burned, the project poses questions about the significance of the image and the function. If Mary lights up the dark, isn’t she essentially fulfilling her function, by guiding those who are lost? If so, how can this re-forming, regardless as whether it be viewed as burning, be blasphemous? One thing to realise is that there is always an intellectual layer to his work.

Coinciding with Frieze Art Fair this weekend, Luke will be collaborating with BEARSPACE, a pioneering art space in London exhibiting emerging artists who push the boundaries of contemporary art practice, for the launch of Christie’s new art fair, Multiplied, serving as a platform for emerging artistic talent.

In the lead up to the event, Luke talks to Amelia’s Magazine to educate us on his refined artistic style, Konsthantverk, and provides us with intriguing insights into some of his most ambitious projects to date.

Superkitschman illustration (courtesy of Luke Twigger)

You went to Loughborough University of Art and Design to do fine art but your work now seems to have more of a focus on sculptures – how did this evolution in your artistic style come about?
My time at Loughborough was primarily directed toward working in 3D. It started off quite heavily ‘conceptual’ but I just felt that it was something very tired and restricted. I wanted to work in a way that would have this conceptual weight but in a much more playful and enjoyable way that encouraged a great deal of experimentation and focused on the making of an object. I looked toward artists and designers working within these ideas and learned that process and manufacture could be used as a method to really enhance and amplify what it is they want to say. These artists and designers were mainly working in the Scandinavian countries and I was so compelled by their work, I booked a ticket to Sweden to find out more, which led to my work taking on a much more “Scandinavian” aesthetic and approach. I started using craft and a multitude of techniques to create work that magnified my ideas of kitsch and how to work beyond the “trash’ notion often associated with this term.

Your work has been described as ‘Konsthantverk’, a Swedish term which translates to ‘the handmade art object’. Can you tell us more about this?
This mainly relates to my style and methods of production; I work as an individual making things quite factory like, which results in everything being unique, in a sense, but not entirely original. I don’t want to make anything that is a one-off, as that would instantly fall short of any definition of being kitsch.

Original drawings of speaker designs (courtesy of Luke Twigger)

Many of your designs appear to fuse the traditional with the modern (e.g. your kitsch cherubic figurines which also serve as ipod dockers). What fascinates you about this combination of old and new?
What excites me is not necessarily the old and new aspect; it’s the idea of taking something purely functional and working it so much it that the function, which was once primary to the existence of the object is over-ridden by the form. I think this is essential to the manufacture of kitsch. A vase is the perfect example of this; it was created purely as a vessel but over time it has been exaggerated, re-styled, over-styled and elaborated beyond any functional sense, making its most basic of functions obsolete and giving way to pure aesthetical pleasure. I guess with functional undertones, which I think makes something that has the ability to both raise questions and pose answers simultaneously. In terms of my work, the function happens to be new as it must work within our regular lives and fit in with contemporary culture to make itself understandable. Victorian artists and makers made sugar bowls and inkwells; we as a society don’t have much need for these objects anymore, so its function must be relevant.

How would you describe your artistic style from a subjective AND an objective point of view?

Subjectively, I’d say that my ‘artistic style’ would be experimental behavior that manifests itself into a tangible and almost design led conclusion. Objectively, I like to think that my work encourages inquisitiveness, questions, answers and adoration.

Tell us more about your ‘The Three Mothers Paraffin Candles’ project
The Three Mothers Paraffin Candles were really an experiment into the Super-Kitsch, a prelude to my new body of work, ‘Super-Kitsch Manufaktur’. The idea was to take something that has been so over-used, so exploited and in a way so obviously kitsch; the image of the Virgin Mary, and push its Kitsch-ness so far by applying function to the form and using the image not in an ironic or subversive way, but celebratory. This object would not look out of place in the souvenir shops of The Vatican City and was made as something that should exist; making the Kitsch, Super-Kitsch.

Was there a particular reason you decided to choose the Virgin Mary for a waxwork sculpture to burn?
Entirely for the reason that I felt this should be something that exists; I think it raises interesting questions in the significance of the image and the function combined. Is it unholy to light the candle? Yet it illuminates the dark? I guess it’s a bit like a shrine in one object, although could also be deemed sacrilegious. Very ambiguous! But these were all after-thoughts; Mary was used because she is depicted on candles but never represented and I wanted to do that.

Is there a symbolic meaning behind this piece?
None whatsoever. I don’t use kitsch as an ironic or subversive device. It was made because the souvenir shops didn’t have them.

What’s next for you and where can we find more of your work??
I am currently working on a brand new body of work called “Super-Kitsch Manufaktur” that explores in greater depth what the Three Mothers Paraffin Candles touched upon. Using all sorts of Kitsch devices to create the Super-Kitsch: enlarging, representing, replicating, associating function and re-working the familiar creating something sub-familiar. This marks the departure of using found objects, which I feel is important to really strengthen my ideas of the Super-Kitsch. All the sculpting is made in plasticine, then moulds are taken of the original; effectively ruining it, therefore the work only exists in multiple, no original is ever kept. Every age spawns its own kitsch; I guess this is made to serve that purpose in time.

To view The Three Mother’s Paraffin Candles in action, click here, or to purchase the candles, visit his online shop here.

Luke will be exhibiting with BEARSPACE as part of Christie’s brand new art fair, Multiplied, which runs from 15th – 18th October 2010 (Christie’s, 85 Old Brompton Rd, South Kensington, SW7 3LD). In addition, he will be part of a group show at BEARSPACE, focusing on new objects/multiples and sculpture, which will be showing from 27th Nov 2010 – 15th Jan 2011.

Luke is also currently working on a collaborative project with illustrator, Mike Perry.

Categories ,Bearspace, ,Christie’s, ,Frieze Art Fair, ,Kat Phan, ,Loughborough, ,Luke Twigger, ,Mike Perry, ,Multiplied, ,postmodern

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