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CULTURE

Inside London's Frieze Art Fair 2015

CULTURE

Inside London's Frieze Art Fair 2015

Immersive works inspired by the annual event itself

by Cajsa Carlson
on 16 October 2015

London’s annual art extravaganza, Frieze, is currently drawing art-hungry crowds to the beautiful Regent’s Park in the city center. Always a fun, impressive fair, this year’s Frieze featured an unusual number of works that were inspired by the space they're in, which was designed by London’s Universal Design Studio. Rachel Rose, last year’s winner of the Frieze Artist Award, contributed one of the best immersive installations this year: a miniature Frieze-tent, filled with music and lit by colored spotlights. Each day, the interior of the tent varies slightly—inspired by the animals inside Regent’s Park. On the day we visited, the music was high-pitched and the lights were dim, referencing the way mice hear and see things.

Rose is part of the Frieze Projects, which showcases new work commissioned especially for the fair. Like Rose, art collective ÅYR, another Projects participant, was inspired by Frieze itself and created a "chill-out space" consisting of interlinked bedrooms, each complete with a bed and soothing light. The main attraction here, though, was undoubtedly the iPhone and laptop chargers attached to each bed; plenty of people chose to hang out in ÅYR’s space, but were more frequently occupied by their screens than the surroundings, which itself functioned as a social comment.

The digital world also influenced the work of Andreas Angelidakis. His “Soft Ruins” installation, seen at Athen’s Breeder Gallery, places cushy “stones” next to a film installation that ponders what happens to abandoned social media. It reminds us of sites we used that went out of style, like Friendster, that have become “ghost towns of the web.” The fascinating piece poses questions like “could Facebook become our Rome?” and it's definitely one of the most thought-provoking stands at the fair.

Another theme this year is subverted domesticity, with a number of artists taking the everyday and twisting it into something fantastic. South Korean artist Do Ho Suh’s latest work is exhibited at both the Lehmann Maupin and Victoria Miro galleries. At Maupin, you can enter his “Hub, London Studio” and marvel at its architectural beauty, made of polyester and steel tubes. At Miro, his fabric sculptures include a sink and a yellow, otherworldy-looking fridge. Suh’s work is both reassuringly familiar and completely alien, and enhances mundane items into something way more lust-worthy.

London gallery The Sunday Painter, which took part in Frieze for the first time this year, showed Samara Scott’s “Lonely Planet II.” Consisting of a metric ton of water sunk into the floor of Frieze, filled with spray paint and items ranging from a wineglass and belt to spring onions and plastic rings, it’s an eye-catching example of the way in which the artist uses “the detritus of everyday consumerism” in her work.

Though entering Frieze comes at a price (£37 for a day ticket), the outdoor Sculpture Park is free for everyone. This year’s sculptures vary from the ancient (“Pre-Ekoi", an anthropomorphic monolith from sometime in the 11th to 14th century) to the brand new, like Haroon Mirza’s collaboration with Mattia Bosco, “Standing Stones.” The stones in Mirza’s piece are powered by a solar panel and crackle with electricity, prompting one visitor to wonder if they were radioactive; it was an observation that underlined the slight menace of the piece. Leo Fitzmaurice, also represented by The Sunday Painter, created bunnies out of “plastic bags” for his “Litter,” a humorous way to juxtapose man-made items and nature. And this time around, the park will continue to enthrall visitors for months after the fair ends. Frieze just announced that many of the sculptures will remain on display until mid-January 2016.

Frieze London is on until October 17 2015.

Images by Cajsa Carlson

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