4th October 2019

Off to Frieze London today, and as always, I am surprised by the size of this event. I was supposed to have company, but they have been forced to cancel. My first stop is to admire bronze making by Neha Choksi where she appears to have displayed the remnants from the casting process. I suppose this is why she has titled the pieces “Missing Monument”

Next is Nicholas Pope and his amazing large ceramic towers called “Yahweh and the Seraphim”, 1995. In discussion with the gallerist, I discover that the artist created these huge pieces by the coiling method. These were then fired and glazed as smaller pieces and lay in his shed for many years until the gallerist found them and persuaded him to assemble them. They are magnificent otherworldly towers and I am in awe..

Next is the work of Ana Maria Tavares

These are beautiful little sculptures under glass domes that are resemble paradise or utopian landscapes.

Then onto the work of Kathleen Ryan and her beautiful bejewelled fruit. Polystyrene bases studded with natural gems are captivating and very expensive. After having a look at her website, I can see that she uses these gems a lot and makes her fruit of varying sizes. But I particularly like her use of bowling balls to form bracelets and necklaces..

Kris Lemsalu is exciting with “Sally Go Round the Roses”, 2018. An Estonian national she studied in Copenhagen. Estonia informs her practice which involves ceramics and costume. Vibrant colour and found objects tell imaginative stories of hidden lives. I like this piece. It reminds me of the live art work of two of my FAD friends, who are studying live art.  

Senay Camgoz brought Hala to life in a parody of women from her heritage. Tess brings her alter ego to life in performances and photography as nancyvioletjolene in clubs, on radio and podcasts. She is very daring but reminds me of the Jenny Slinger art at Richard Saltoun that I saw and the feminists of the 70’s. Except Tess’s work is definitely contemporary, embracing LGBTQ themes as she does.

I am intrigued when I encounter some blobs on the floor. These are the work of Rolf Nowotney and shown by Christian Andersen of Copenhagen. Here he is presenting “dementia (mildew exteriors)” This artist is also addressing the dementia theme, as am I. Here he is using polyurethane, polyester resin, cement and twigs and dried flowers to” carve out a landscape of the mind losing its sense of identity and self-narrative.”

This is my field of work and I am keen to see how it reads to me. I wander around these small pieces on the floor trying to recognise the emotion within. I’m not sure I understand his narrative, but I recognise the distress. In the blurb I recognise the difficulties encountered in trying to convey the loss of identity and confusion at the world you no longer recognise. I spend a lot of time looking and eventually the gallerist asks if I am interested in the work. We discuss the issues and he is very kind and suggests I contact him to get in touch with the artist directly. This is something I should do

These images are from the show Nowotney undertook with the David Dale Gallery in Glasgow in April 2019 as my photos were so poor.

And then after a long day I find the Haas Brothers work. I am in awe and in love. These beautiful ceramic forms are tipped with gold. They are called “Accretions”, 2019 and are blob shapes covered in tiny fronds. They are glazed in stunning colours and the forms are amorphous and slightly sexually suggestive. The ceramic forms are a revelation and when I look at the price, I am not surprised to see they are eye wateringly expensive. It seems incredible that anyone can make these, and when I look into them, I am not surprised that they have a team working on the production process. They do however seem to be very hands on and take great enjoyment in the making.

I am done for today. Frieze London will come around next year and it is amazing to see so many art works in one place. Last year there were many works with shiny surfaces that attracted the selfie crowd: sharing on social media ids the way forward. This year there were far fewer young people around. I don’t know if they went on a different day, or if the pricing has kept them away. It’s a shame because there was so much to inspire new artists. Last year I felt sure there would be more lights and shiny surfaces this year, but it seemed to be more about the visual aesthetic and quality. Even the very biggest artists were exhibiting more decorative or home friendly work. Although at the cost of these pieces it is hard to know who is buying.