Frieze Art London 2013 review: Art fairs are no evil!

This year, the Frieze Art London took place in Regent’s park in a tent-like structure reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s architecture. 173 respected contemporary art galleries from all over the globe were featuring, over the course of four days, their most successful artists to the public: from Murakami , Jeff Koons, Urs Fischer to Rineke Dijkstra.

New programs were offered to the public such as the Statues Park and the Frieze masters. Unfortunately, I did not attend the latter.

Numerous bright artists were on display such as the Turkish artist Canan with his series “Turkish delights” showing a plump woman reading Butler, Djordje Ozbolt with “made in Africa (assembled in China)”, Thomas Struth with ‘Ulsan’, Pedro Reyes with “personality crisis” and Mike Nelson “Mirror”.

CANAN                            CANAN, from turkish delight’s series


              Djordje Ozbolt, made in Africa (assembled in China)

bed                                    Bed installation by Lili Reynaud-dewar

Frieze projects captured my attention, especially the bedroom installation with a fountain in the middle made by Lili Reynaud-Dewar in which she questions the ideas of the private and the public in our society.

Conceptual artworks seem to take a prominent place every year even if I read on the Art newspaper (free paper offered at the fair) that painting made its comeback. I am still puzzled.

Buying a short movie about porn stars’ lives by Omer Fast from the Arratatia Beer gallery for as little as $65 000 might seem a crazy idea considering that you buy a file, a piece of nothing that can be destroyed anytime. Where is art heading? I like to say that investing in art is similar to investing into its concept, but are artists going too far or is it a certain form of sarcasm? What are they aiming at by doing so?






I do believe (even if my article gives the impression to claim the opposite) we should stop criticizing fairs and accept reality, meaning, being part of the game.  Yes, art is a commodity, a piece of investment, and what?  We should look at the educative side of it, its reflection on society and ourselves. Art is big bucks and it is better this way, it shouldn’t be accessible to everyone otherwise it wouldn’t be so prestigious, mysterious and satisfactory. In fact, capitalism offers more opportunities to artists than ever: make good living (Jeff Koons, Hirst, feel the irony), keep on creating, be exhibited worldwide and sell worldwide. Overall, fairs are a great promotion, both for galleries and artists. The price of art has to stay high, anyway, would you buy a Rolex for 200 dollars? I guess no, the feeling of having something of value comes with the price, just like art.

Looking at it, a luxurious watch completes the constructed idea of beauty that we are familiar to, however, an artwork does not complete this definition anymore and that is what makes it mysterious, questionable, ugly but symbolic and at the same time makes you reflect and turn your brain around. So once more, in what is it better to invest, a brand new watch or a concept? Get both and be on time for the next Frieze edition in 2014!

Text written by: Julie Diebold


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