Having been the lucky recipient of some London Art Fair VIP tickets via a friend I collected one of my art mates and we sallied forth. Free entry and catalogues was enough to make us happy.
Last year I visited the Art Projects section last when I was hot, footsore and waterlogged with it all.
Am I the only one who quickly becomes over burdened trying to give fellow artists proper time and regard at these events? Now we have lost all labelling I am at sea so much of the time – especially faced with one work. Given a solo show the artist has at least a chance to inveigle their thoughts and wishes under my skin, but with one work I can manage little more than decide on its merit as an image and have a stab at where the artist is coming from. Thankfully the LAS catalogue offers just enough on each artist to allow you in.
Man to the rescue – having found myself chatting to one of the directors of the London Art Fair he told us that he was about to lead a tour of his eight favourite galleries and invited us to join it. Result.
We joined his tour. He, with pink egg timer in hand allowed curators and artists five minutes to talk about what they wished and then we moved on. His ‘Desert Island Discs’ selection included the Jealous Gallery who spoke about the annual MA printmaker who is chosen to join them, and Caitlin who choose 40 UK graduates ‘with potential’ to showcase. I studied closely the illustrated contents of the boxed book that we were handed on the train home trying to find any overall links. Fascinating and intimidating.
I enjoyed the throw away lines – ‘meet the nicest man in art……..we were here at 7.30 with the artist trying to work out if we had the right colours together…….’
Stand P8 bought us into the world of L-13. [Light Industrial Workshop]. This installation of ‘A Brief Survey of Art Hate Field Propaganda’ was work manufactured to look in period while not being so and dealing with events that never were. Art Hate was founded by Billy Childish and Harry Adams and as such was an obvious strange bedfellow to its neighbouring profit making galleries – and a staged one. I couldn’t but help think that for all it’s obvious anti -establishment intention, that by allowing themselves to be bought into the LAS arena they had allowed the work to be neutered and subsumed by the ‘Art World.’ Given the philosophy and intelligence of the artists involved this seemed most odd. I still feel I must be missing something here……
Back downstairs in amongst the more conservative galleries I find myself meandering about trying manfully to impose some sort of order – stick to the right or left – hand lane……doesn’t work. I see something far more interesting and dive off towards it. Quickly I find myself giving works [with a few exceptions] less than a cursory minute each. This can’t be right. How am I meant to ‘do’ this? I find a friend’s work and am cross for her that her works have been hung deliberately close to another gallery artist whose palette is so similar- they seem to bleed into each other.
One thing did hit me forcibly – an overall ‘vintage’ feel to a lot of it, from Robin Katz proudly showing us his Lynn Chadwick sculpture on the tour to the endless Ben Nicholson’s, Prunella Clough’s and their friends…..a sea of browns and greys and concrete …………
The other was the interest that abstract seemed to be getting. Just an observation.
Oh – and I was too knackered to go back upstairs to Photo 50……so sorry -next time.