Art Frieze Art Fair 2017

Impressions from this year's fair.

The eye-catcher of Tanya Bonakdar’s booth is a work by Olafur Eliasson. The colour of the spheres disappear when you walk around the work either becoming a mirror or turn into black. In his practice the Danish-Icelandic artist plays with light, air temperature and water and there is always a sense of wonder in his work. You can also find this in terms of fragility with Sarah Sze’s work ‘Model for a Pause in Narrative’ and in terms of weightlessness in Tomas Saraceno’s sculpture ‘Altostratus/M+1’ the opening image of this article. I always like wandering around the gallery’s booth as the atmosphere is – just like Maureen Paley’s booth – open, relaxed and inviting to discover the works of art in peace.

Sarah Sze, Model for a Pause in Narrative, 2017, Tanya Bonakdar gallery

Always worth a visit is the Hauser & Wirth booth. Neil Wenman, senior director of the gallery, always comes up with a captivating idea how to present the work by their artists in an imaginative manner. Last year the booth was transformed into an artist’s studio, this year the gallery re-created a fictional Bronze Age presentation from a forgotten museum, titled ‘Bronze Age: c. 3500 BC – AD 2017’. It features bronze works by the artists that the gallery represents, including Hans Josephsohn, Louise Bourgeois, Fausto Melotti, Subodh Gupta combined with artifacts on loan from European museums. The booth is a space for wonder and discovery and was realised in collaboration with Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge. Beard also provides an audio guide to the artworks which can be downloaded on iTunes and other podcast channels.

The work by Thomas Ruff is omnipresent at the fair. Mai 36, David Zwirner and Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle all present work by the German artist to coincide with his wonderful retrospective at Whitechapel Gallery that opened last week. Ruff works in series to examine the medium of photography. The Whitechapel presents a selection of his  ‘Nudes’ series for which the source material was taken from pornography sites. Ruff blurred the images so the pixel construction becomes visible. More works of this series is presented at the fair. In an upcoming interview we conducted with Ruff on the occasion of his retrospective he calls himself, “a scientific engineering type of photographer”. The interview will be posted on our website next week.

Melvin Edwards, After Midnite, 2017, welded steel, Stephen Friedman gallery

Earlier this year, I visited the artist’s first solo exhibition in Germany organised by Galerie Buchholz in Berlin. At Frieze, Stephen Friedman gallery, presents a solo presentation of the 80 year old American artist. These arresting and powerful sculptures address race, slavery and violence. Edwards who feels deeply connected to the African Diaspora, creates sculptures by welding metal objects such as nails, chains, barbed wire, tools, knives, hooks and machine parts. The objects are intriguing and disturbing to watch. Edwards’s work has been included in the show ‘Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power’ at Tate Modern.

Michaël Borremans, Angel Dust, 2017, Zeno X Gallery

Michael Dean, Iol (Working Title), 2017, Herald St

Patricia Treib, Skirt II, 2017, Kate MacGarry

Helene Appel, Dishwater, 2017, watercolour and acrylic on linen, The Approach.
For visitors who can appreciate a piece of craftsmanship: check out this work. It looks like water has been spilled over the linen and it is mesmerizing to watch how the artist has created the soap bubbles.

Rezi van Lankveld, Yellow, Black Hat, 2014, The Approach

Rineke Dijkstra, Emma, Lucy, Cecile (Three sisters, 2008-2014), 2008, Max Hetzler

Daniel Richter, ärgerliches Grün, 2015, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

Liam Gillick, A Game of War Structure, 2011, Esther Schipper

Theaster Gates, Gold Landscape in Three Strokes, 2017, White Cube

Alex Dordoy, Svalbard Soil 7, 2017, The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd

Will Boone, Wade, 2017, David Kordansky

Cecily Brown, Dodgy, 2004, Thomas Dane Gallery

Text written by Thierry Somers
Tomorrow: impressions from Frieze Masters.