Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Pinta Art Fair - Highlights

Pinta Art Fair returned for its 4th year to Earl's court exhibition centre after a successful run last year. It's now bigger, with Spanish and Portuguese artists under its 'Latin American' umbrella. Though the galleries themselves are global with some British galleries such as Jagged Art and Rosenfeld Porcini having stands. Central and South American art has been doing well of late, so Pinta is looking to capitalise on this.

I'm not a massive fan of abstract and conceptual art, but I was pleasantly surprised by last year's fair where I liked more artists than I thought I would given that there was a lot of both conceptual and abstract art on display.

The atmosphere is different to most other art fairs, each stand spaces out its art - no cramming in as many works as possible. And it's a lot quieter than other fairs - granted I went during the press view, but that was less busier than comparable press views at Art13 or London Art Fair.

The one confusing aspect was the choice of a mid-week run. I've never come across an art fair that doesn't capitalise on the weekend opportunity to draw in visitors so we'll see if this is reflected in the official headcount once the fair comes to a close.

But on to the art on display. I've picked my top choices below:

Manuel Merida's minimalist circles of red, blue and white are both simple and hypnotic. As they gradually turn, the coloured sand inside falls downwards in clumps, under the spell of gravity. It's both cathartic and a commentary on life in that it may not always be smooth but it continues nonetheless. Rather than see this as nihilistic, I saw it more as an acceptance that life is inherently imperfect but beautiful all the same.

This photograph by Andre Cypriano titled 'Sugar Ball' sums up Brazil in an image. A beautiful beach with the famous Sugarloaf mountain in the background. But taking centre stage is football, a tatty ball that's as if children have been playing with it for years but still the symbol a nation is associated with.

I enjoyed this surreal painting of rippling waves of plastic forming chairs, making the chairs seem like they have a train akin to a wedding dress. It only works due to the mundane nature of the focal object.

Claudia Jaguaribe photographs sets of books on a shelf, when lined up the spines form an image of a rainforest. It's a direct message about the origins of books and how they contribute to deforestation but it's done in an innovative and varied way that catches the eye.

Moris is an artist who I can't find any images of his work that is on display at Pinta. He's created Calder-esque mobiles made up of rusty saws, machetes, screwdrivers and roll of dollar bills. They are the instruments of war but they form something so delicate - this contrast reminded me of Pedro Reyes' musical instruments made from guns and the 'Violentcello'.

Paula Rivas' hypnotic installations involve round objects, or molecules on wires weaving up and down as if they're dancing to a rhythm we can't hear. Reminded me of the Kinetic Rain sculpture at Singapore airport but on a smaller scale. It was my favourite work of the show.

One other standout piece (again no image available) is of to tourists near a natural wonder that bears a resemblance to the pillars of the Giant's Causeway. However one tourist is on top on her phone, the other below staring at whatever happens to be on her phone. Neither is soaking in any of the natural wonder around them - a damning indictment of our 'efficient' modern society.

Marta Soul pokes fun at high society. As this couple kiss, they are seemingly unaware of the statue ready to lash them. In another image a couple on a grand staircase in a plush mansion, lie slumped as if they've been killed. It may not be s subtle as Juno Calypso's work but never takes itself too seriously and so doesn't feel over the top.

These are my top picks and well worth exploring if you can find the time.

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