Saturday, 2 March 2013

Art 13 - Highlights

London is replete with art fairs from Frieze down to the Other Art Fair - so much so, that my list keeps growing. Art13 is the latest to try and muscle in on this prime market and it has aimed itself squarely at the likes of Frieze and the London Art Fair.

It's cast its net quite wide including bigger names, emerging galleries and a significant international contingent including many from Eastern Europe.

Though the layout is very confusing to navigate, the opening night had a real buzz to it and here's my run down of the artworks that most stood out for me:

Zilvinas Kempinas, Fountain. Courtesy Galerija Vartai

The concept is so simple, a fan plus magnetic tape creating rhythmic pulsations. Yet it's amazing how closely it resembles a water fountain in fluidity and sound.

I've recently come across a Mayfair gallery specialising in contemporary photography called Brancolini Grimaldi. They had a particularly strong showing and I liked two of their artists:

Miles Aldridge, Like a Painting. 

This photograph reminded me of the pre-raphaelites in it's beauty and intensity. The model appears doll-ish and this enhances its surreality.

Peter Fraser, Untitled

Fraser manages to capture the light perfectly, so as to imbue the mundane with the magical. Here a simple plate of fruit glows with life.  Brancolini Grimaldi are also having a solo show by Joachim Brohm which I will be reviewing in a month's time.

Mat Colishaw has been featured in many publications for his current, and frankly average, exhibition at Blain|Southern, but here we see him on form:

Mat Colishaw, Last Meal series

Colishaw has photographer the last meals of prisoners on death row but has used dramatic lighting for a chiaroscuro effect.This was my favourite as the mundane coke and fries sits so uneasily with the overly dramatised representation, a technique usually preserved for the finer foods.

Ben Turnbull, Heroes III. Courtesy Eleven Fine Arts

I enjoyed how the background was made up of comic speech bubbles and the title mixes the styles of spider-man and Captain America. Despite all the comic book pretences, it's actually referring to real heroes such as firemen and how Hollywood glosses over them in preference of fictional characters. 

Carlo Gavazenni Ricordi, Gates of Rome. Courtesy Fine Art Society
The subtle use of collage photography overlays produces an impressive technical result that had us wondering whether it's real pictures overlaid or some trippy hallucination.

This sculpture (below) may not be subtle but we've all felt like this at some point in life, especially when stick as a commuter on the Underground.

Atoosa Vahdani, Mortar

There was also some flashbacks of the ongoing exhibition by David Breur-Weil in the tunnels near Waterloo station.

The Outsiders, as their name suggests, was one of the galleries that stood out with a real Shoreditch vibe. Some other street art galleries, like Lazarides with their amazing mock brickwork stall, made sure they didn't look too out of place. The Outsiders feature prints by Zevs (pronounced Zeus), but this was my favourite:

Zevs, Liquidated Olympic Rings

All of his works highlight the bleed in of consumerist culture into our lives but I particularly liked this one for acknowledging how the Northern hemisphere, especially the US and Europe bleed into other cultures in developing countries, which have no way of preventing it.

The Outsiders also attempted to rebel against the fact people have to pay to enter an art fair just to think about buying art. So they gave away a free print to anyone who wanted it. A noble gesture though not quite as anti-establishment as they were marketing it to be.

Galerie Paris-Beijing had a wide variety of artists from the subtle to the high impact, summed up neatly by my two favourite works.

Yang Yongliang, Moonlight. Courtesy Galerie Paris-Beijing

This ethereal backlit cityscape amongst the hills feels both familiar and like an alien world at the same time.

Kim In-Sook, Saturday Night

It's probably too small for you to see but each window is a microcosm of relationships form a simple hugging couple to a full blown orgy. It's not subtle but a reminder of how everyone behaves behind closed doors and it's very voyeuristic, making you want to see what's happening in each window.

Kim Joon, Drunken-Gone With the Wind

I liked this work as even though it's a massacre of broken bodies and outright carnage, the porcelain flower patterning gives it a contrasting sense of serenity and stillness. 

Ricardo Rendon, Area de Corte. Courtesy Zipper Galleria

I make no excuses in saying that I'm drawn to works that catch my eye, mainly because a busy and bustling art fair is not a great place for subtle pieces. But this one's mystery drew me in - the middle has been removed and lies in pieces on the floor, but what did it show us? Was it a detailed masterpiece or just a sheet of grey? There is a sense of loss, exacerbated by the leftover frame sagging forlornly.

And these are just the artists I didn't know of! Other returning favourites included Mela Yerka's varied and subtle portraits and the impressive door carvings of Vhils.

Clearly lots to like and I'm sure it and I will be back next year.

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