Impressions from Frieze London Art fair (updated)
Last year the artist Mark Wallinger and Neil Wenman, senior director at Hauser & Wirth, created a half green / half red booth where they divided the space between the conscious and the unconscious replicating Freud’s examination room in Swiss Cottage. The booth was filled with an eclectic selection of paintings, drawings and sculptures by a wide range of artists that the gallery represents. This year, Wenman came up with the idea to do an open booth presentation, called ‘Field’, featuring 42 sculptures on plinths by the gallery’s roster of artists. I asked Wenman how the idea came about.
“I initially read this quote by the American sculptor Ruth Asawa: ‘Sculpture is like farming. If you just keep at it, you can get quite a lot done’. The notion of farming interested me so I thought about creating a booth that is an open field. I was thinking about the lines in a plough field and I wanted to replicate that with these columns. We have 42 plinths in a grid and then I wanted to chose works by a whole range of the artists that we represent. There are 30 different artist on show on 42 plinths. Some artists occupy more than one plinth. It covers about 55 years of artistic production. The earliest work is from 1960 by Hans Josephsohn, the newest work is literally two days old. Phyllida Barlow made a piece in response to the stand. I told her the size of the plinth and she told me she wanted to make work specifically in response to my project – really lovely.
With Freud’s examination room, we created an interior and I wanted to do the opposite; open it out and make it as big and free as possible. The idea is that you approach the work, think about the object first and then the label is on the back of each plinth. You find out who the artist is after you have approached the object. The booth is about trying to show the whole ‘family’ [of our artists] but then also allow the visitor to get in and be involved, to interact with, create their own stories and their own links between the object themselves”.
Next week at Fiac, Hauser & Wirth will present a special booth organised by Paul Schimmel, Director and Vice President of the gallery. The presentation is inspired by events surrounding the tragic attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo earlier this year.
Hauser & Wirth Booth curated by Neil Wenman.
Phyllida Barlow, untitled: donors2015, timber, plywood, cardboard, polystyrene, cement, plaster, polyurethane foam, spary apint, steel, PVA, sand, paint, paper scrim, fabric. Hauser & Wirth
An intricate, intruiging work with a lovely shimmer by the American Garth Weiser. “Garth is really a process artist”, says Casey Kaplan when I ask him about the work. “The first thing he is doing is a non-objective, loose abstract painting in oil. Once he is satisfied with the painting and it is dry he will paint from left to right from top to bottom very thin lines. Once the lines are stable he will then tape almost like a milimeter of tape in the same formation from left to right. The next thing he will do put black oil onto the painting and push the oil through the entire painting. In the case of this work, he works with an enamel, more or less a spray paint, that will mix with the oil and will work together rather than against each other. He will pull the tape which reveals all of the process from underneath. In the final stage he will go into the painting with a razor blade and cut through it and reveal more of the first ground of the painting. There is no figurative aspect to the work: if you see something that is what you see. We have a lot of natural light in this booth so you get an incredible effect with the spray paint – it shimmers”.
Magali Reus, In Place of (Archipelago), 2015, Jesmonite, sand, volcanic black sand, pigments, wax, powder, coated steel and aluminium, polyester resin, fibreglass, powder coated and air brushed aluminium foil, polyurethane rubber, The Approach
Do Ho Suh, Specimen Series: Basin Apartment A, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA, 2015, Polyester fabric, stainless steel wire and display case with LED lighting, Victoria Miro
When standing two meters straight in front of this work it looks like the circle is floating in the air. When you approach the concave hemisphere you can’t figure out the depth – magical effect.
The Frieze booth of Gavin Brown is very minimalistic compared with their Art Basel booth. The artist Martin Creed filled the space with various, colorful floor mats such as a welcome mat, a prayer mat, a yoga mat, a play mat for children or a car mat. “Our choice for our booth is always very project based and artist focused”, says Martha Vontalan of the gallery. “This year we wanted to present the work of an artist duo Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys. This is the very first presentation we are doing with them. They are going to have a show in our space in Rome mid-November. We thought that this presentation would work very well with Kerstin Brätsch’s glasses and we wanted to highlight Frances Stark as two days ago a retrospective of her work opened at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles”. De Gruyter and Thys present a series of figures and some of them are reduced to the minimal. “There are also figures in motion, some doing yoga and some just standing”, explains Vontalan. “The portrait drawings that are put on the steel plates are found on the Internet and taken by Belgian and Dutch people that lived in the 17th and 18th century”.
Written by Thierry Somers