Boondocks by Suzanne Moxhay
I gave up and asked for directions to the Bearspace stand after wandering around looking for it for nearly half an hour. ‘Yes it’s two floors up, take a right, left, and right again,’ said the sleek-haired young man with the name tag. As you may have gathered, the London Art Fair is huge. 120 galleries are exhibiting, and then there’s the Photo50 section and the Arts Projects section.
‘Feudal’ is the installation from Deptford-based Bearspace – a photography installation drawing inspiration from the Dark Ages. Falcons are the stars of Slovenian photographer Jasmina Cibic’s contribution, representing a wilderness hierarchy while at the same time the birds are tied to their posts or wearing masks. The birds in the photos are alive, said the poster, and the images are so pin-sharp you half expect the birds to come at you and take out your eyes.
Perch for Falco cherrug by Jasmina Cibic
The overgrown houses and spooky, mystical forests in Suzanne Moxhay’s artworks halfway look like paintings but they are also photographs, says the Bearspace representative. It’s half storybook long-lost fantasy land, half Tolkien-esque Fangorn Forest where the trees have a will of their own. Are those people or tree logs, at the bottom of the piece called ‘Bayou’? Maybe both. My friend shuddered as she peered at the photo, so I asked her if she liked it: ‘I really don’t know. But I can feel it down my back.’
Feudal by Suzanne Moxhay
Overwhelmed by choice, we ended up spending most of our time in the Arts Projects section. I can see why this part of the fair is becoming increasingly popular, as it seems to feature more original installations. My favourite find was Troika Editions’ Sachiyo Nishimura, whose industrial landscape images are oddly compelling. The work by the London-based artist is on first glance just factory pipes, rail tracks and power lines, but for reasons I can’t put my finger on the large photographs are simply stunning.
Landscape / fiction by Sachiyo Nishimura
The pearl and bead panels by Korean artist Sankeum Koh just beg to be touched, hanging on the walls all shiny under bright lights. The artist’s works can also be found in large scale on public buildings, said the Hanmi Gallery representative. It’s obviously modelled on typed words, and while it’s not braille the effect is still to make something solely visual into a fascinating tactile experience – maybe even more so because you could potentially get thrown out for handling the art. Shan Hur is another Korean artist attracting attention, having created fake archeological discoveries at the I-MYU Projects stand. Ceramic vases and other items were excavated from concrete walls, representing the hidden pasts of buildings as their functions change.
The fair had plenty of playful exhibitions too, including Sadie Hennessy’s ‘Gary Glitter Glam Rock’ candy at Wilson Williams Gallery’s Art Star Superstore. Yours for £3, but as my friend said, with Glitter’s history I’m not sure I could put that in my mouth.
The London Art Fair until Sunday 23rd January at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London N1. See our listing for more information and opening hours. Bearspace is at stand P19 upstairs in the ‘Arts Projects’ section; after this weekend find it at 152 Deptford High Street, London SE8 3PQ.
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