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Frieze London: must-sees at the contemporary art fair

 

From the 160 galleries presented at Frieze and the slew of private views (Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha…) that go with the event, Numéro has selected the very best of the season…

One of the characters to reactivate (the policeman) by the artist Pierre Joseph from the section The Nineties of Frieze.

Photo by Richard Billigham on the Anthony Reynolds Gallery stall, from the section The Nineties of the Frieze fair in Londres.

 

 

1. Back to the nineties: the section devoted to the decade

 

Probably the most exciting feature of the latest Frieze, the Nineties section recreated from scratch an ensemble of vital exhibitions from the 1990s over a dozen booths. Conceived by Nicolas Trembley, a longstanding contributor to Numéro, the ensemble featured a moving plunge into the very first exhibition of Wolfgang Tillmans at the Daniel Buchholz Gallery from 1993 (then located in his father’s bookshop). His images documenting sub-cultures and gay life might now be cult, but they have lost none of their emotional power or bite. Other great legends of the nineties include Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Sylvie Fleury (a policeman was handing out the May 1993 exhibition text in the aisles), Karen Kilimnik, Daniel Pflumm, Steven Parrino…

 

It was this decade that saw the end of 20th century ideologies,the emergence of the Internet and a multi-polar world, the triumph of neo-liberalism and the lasting presence of AIDS in our lives (and with it a new rapport between the body and sexuality), embodying the matrix of our time.

 

To read: Une histoire (critique) des années 90, de la fin de tout au début de quelque chose, by François Cusset (La Découverte/Centre Pompidou-Metz)

 

Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition at Daniel Buchholz gallery (1993) reproduced in the section The Nineties of the Frieze fair.

View from the stall “Artist's studio” of the Hauser & Wirth gallery.

 

 

2. Hauser & Wirth’s delirious artist’s studio

 

It was without a doubt the craziest and most joyful stand of the fair. The Hauser & Wirth Gallery proposed an imaginary and wild artist’s studio regrouping works by some of the greatest: Louise Bourgeois, Francis Picabia, Isa Genzken, Martin Creed, Hans Arp, Paul McCarthy, Thomas Houseago, Allan Kaprow, Bharti Kher…

View from the exhibition “Spring and Fall“ by Latifa Echakhch at Kamel Mennour gallery in London.

Photo. Julie Joubert 

 

3. The muted violence of Latifa Echakhch at the Kamel Mennour Gallery

 

For the Franco-French art world, the big event at Frieze was of course the opening of the art dealer Kamel Mennour’s first London space hosted in Mayfair at Claridge’s Hotel. And the big event for the whole art world was the exhibition by Latifa Echakhch’s, who was also present on the gallery’s stand at Frieze. The Franco-Moroccan artist, now living in Switzerland, has long been seducing critics and establishments alike: the winner of the Marcel Duchamp prize in 2013 has had successful shows at the Pompidou Centre, the Tate Modern and the Pinault Foundation in Venice… and is showing yet more wonders in London

 

Latifa Echakhch is showing a series of lacerated canvases and broken church bells. Their connection? Muted violence… “Latifa elaborated her canvases from the pastel colours used by children,” explains Kamel Mennour, “In this way she formed different squares of colour covered with several layers of ink. Then she lacerated the canvases to violently bring out the colours from the depth of these gashes.” And a repressed childhood comes flooding back.  

 

As for the bells, they are replicas of those from the Lübeck church in Germany.  Bombed during the war, they lay broken on the ground outside the church… and are still there today. The locals left them exactly as they’d fallen like witnesses of the tragic events. These replicas are a way for the artist to repeat how the past – and its residual violence – will continue to chime forever. The repressed don’t remain so for long, however big or small the story.

 

View from the exhibition “Spring and Fall“ by Latifa Echakhch at Kamel Mennour gallery in London.

Photo. Julie Joubert 

View from the exhibition “Spring and Fall“ by Latifa Echakhch at Kamel Mennour gallery in London.

Photo. Julie Joubert 

Woman Crying #2 de Anne Collier, 2016, sur le stand du Modern Institute.

 

4. The Modern Institute’s stunning display

 

The Modern Institute, opened in Glasgow in 1997, is like a breath of fresh air in the midst of the more institutional galleries. A canvas structure by Martin Boyce (initially made for a group show in April) welcomed works each one more vivid than the next. “We wanted to show artists that generally don’t get seen at fairs, and whose works doesn’t suit the usual white walls of this kind of place,” they explained to us on the stand, “They all provoke and work around a visceral emotion: the tears of a woman photographed by Anne Collier and the striking metallic paintings of Hayley Tompkins.” We also see very beautiful pieces by Mark Handforth, Liz Larner, Scott Myles and Eva Rothschild. 

New Moon de Mark Handforth, 2013, sur le stand du Modern Institute.

Pink Project: Table by Portia Munson, 1994 - 2016, on the P.P.O.W Gallery stall.

 

 

5. La vie en rose at P.P.O.W.

 

It’s rare to see such a gratifying stand as that of the New York gallery P.P.O.W., with its tribute to the feminist art of the 1960s through to today. Apart from the pleasure of rediscovering the pornographic paintings of Betty Tompkins, it is the reactivation of the Pink Project: Table initiated in1994 at the New Museum by Portia Munson that wins all the votes. For the event the artist has reinstalled her table with its impressive clutter of pink objects: dolls, hairbrushes, sex toys… “It all started with a personal collection. Portia was pregnant at the time… And then the collection grew allowing her to reflect on the way companies work on constructing your identity as a woman through these objects. The success of this piece comes from its power of attraction, a power to be compared to the seductive force of the consumer society. Attractive and yet sickening on closer observation,” the gallery owner explains. 

View from the Southard Reid Gallery stall with Celia Hempton pieces of art.

 

 

6. The festivities of the Focus section: cocks, virtual reality and toilets

 

The section devoted to exciting young talent well deserved a detour. Together the 37 galleries (all under 12 years of existence) compete in provocation and imagination.

 

It all starts in the toilets refurbished for the occasion by Julie Verhoeven. The artist has had fun transforming the space into a pop installation hosting an off the wall party complete with fuchsia and pink loo roll and cheesy pop tunes (Shania Twain’s ultra-kitsch You’re Still The One belting out from the speakers).

 

Then there’s lots of giggling on the Southard Reid Gallery stand showing the (very beautiful) penis paintings of Celia Hempton. “The subjects are all known by the artist, with the inaugural work of the series being that of her own boyfriend,” explains the gallery owner without even cracking a smile. “To remain in erection, he was forced to watch porn films.” On the same stand Celia Hempton also presents installations of new productions that look at life beyond our reality: paintings veering towards abstraction inspired by her encounters on Chatroulette (women or men, nude most of the time) or images from the Dark Web, that hidden part of the internet containing the most violent of videos (decapitation in particular).

Celia Hempton Southard Reid Gallery stall.

View from the Seventeen Gallery stall with an interactive installation by Jon Rafman.

 

Continuing on the joyful side of life, the Seventeen Galleryproposed an interactive virtual reality piece by the Canadian artist Jon Rafman. But if there are two artists that truly deserve our attention it has to be Aaron Garber-Maikovska, presented on the stand run by French group High Art, and Rose Marcus at the Night Gallery. Aaron Garber-Maikovska (a Los Angelean artist also represented by Clearing and Standard Oslo) proposes an installation and two videos. We see him making gestures and emitting sounds impossible to comprehend. “What interests Aaron”, explains one of the gallery owners “is the moment just before communication, before the meaning. He emits these sorts of impulsions and onomatopoeia. In the drawings of installations we think we recognise graffiti but it’s not that, it’s not letters, it’s just not…”

 

Rose Marcus creates canvases of brilliant compositions mixing up photos taken at John Lennon’s memorial and more abstract paintings, with the whole thing making reference to the history of painting (cubism, Cezanne and futurism).

Rose Marcus on the Night Gallery​ stall.

View from Sam Falls exhibition Franco Noero Gallery stall.

 

 

7. The 1930s romanticism of Sam Falls at the Franco Noero Gallery

 

An absolute marvel at the fair was this new series of photographs (and sculptures) by Californian artist Sam Falls made in upstate New York and Los Angeles. He succeeded in reinterpreting the realistic and romantic photography of the 1930s in a truly contemporary manner. 

View from Jeff Koons exhibition at Almine Rech Gallery in London.

Photo : Timothée Chaillou

 

8. From Jeff Koons to Frank Stella: the big guns keep the crowds coming

 

The big event outside the fair was the opening of the Almine Rech Gallery’s second space in London with none other than Jeff Koons. There was a queue to get in on the night of the private view… due mainly to the gallery’s diminutive size and only 40 people being (officially) allowed in at a time. Just opposite the outlandishly large space that is the Gagosian Gallery also had a full house with an exceptional exhibition of new works by Ed Ruscha. The great contemporary masters were dutifully honoured in the Frieze Masters section: Daniel Buren at the Galleria Continua, James Rosenquist at the Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery and Frank Stella Marianne Boesky’s stand, not to mention Dominique Lévy and Sprüth Magers. Great art indeed...

 

Frieze Art Fair in Londres, Regent's Park, until 9th october 2016. frieze.com/fairs/frieze-london

 

By Thibaut Wychowanok

 

 

Interview with Takashi Murakami, a pop icon
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Interview with Takashi Murakami, a pop icon

Art Drawing from Japanese popular culture and the world of manga, his spectacular artworks have brought him global fame and have been shown at such diverse and prestigious locations as New York’s MoMA, London’s Tate Modern and the Château de Versailles. Takashi Murakami was also a pioneer with respect to his iconoclastic fashion collaborations, an approach that he continues to explore today by co-producing exhibitions with the designer Virgil Abloh. Drawing from Japanese popular culture and the world of manga, his spectacular artworks have brought him global fame and have been shown at such diverse and prestigious locations as New York’s MoMA, London’s Tate Modern and the Château de Versailles. Takashi Murakami was also a pioneer with respect to his iconoclastic fashion collaborations, an approach that he continues to explore today by co-producing exhibitions with the designer Virgil Abloh.

Albert Oehlen, the painter of pop culture exhibited at Palazzo Grassi in Venice
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Albert Oehlen, the painter of pop culture exhibited at Palazzo Grassi in Venice

Art Like a free-jazz jam session, his canvases bring together a whirlwind of references, from pop culture to figuration to abstraction, blended in hyper-controlled chaos. François Pinault’s Venice museum is currently celebrating the work of German painter Albert Oehlen. Like a free-jazz jam session, his canvases bring together a whirlwind of references, from pop culture to figuration to abstraction, blended in hyper-controlled chaos. François Pinault’s Venice museum is currently celebrating the work of German painter Albert Oehlen.

Who is Yuko Hasegawa, a japanese art authority ?
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Who is Yuko Hasegawa, a japanese art authority ?

Art 2018 is a great year for japanese art in France, with a whole host of concerts, dance shows, theatrical events and exhibitions being planned. Top of the bill is hang at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, the work of Yuko Hasegawa, the greatly respected chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. 2018 is a great year for japanese art in France, with a whole host of concerts, dance shows, theatrical events and exhibitions being planned. Top of the bill is hang at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, the work of Yuko Hasegawa, the greatly respected chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

How Art Basel moved from must-see fair to global brand
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Artists and hackers, they hijack new technologies
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Artists and hackers, they hijack new technologies

Art Algorithms, coding, data, hardware – what use (or misuse) can artists make of all these new technological tools? This is the fascinating question asked by a double exhibition at the centre pompidou, to which Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda has been invited as guest of honour. Algorithms, coding, data, hardware – what use (or misuse) can artists make of all these new technological tools? This is the fascinating question asked by a double exhibition at the centre pompidou, to which Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda has been invited as guest of honour.