Sunday, January 23, 2011

London Art Fair

The energy and enthusiasm of the city always amazes me. On a dark, freezing night at the beginning of January - a time to be tucked up in the warmth at home detoxing after December’s blow-out - throngs of Londoners descended en masse on the 23rd London Art Fair.

It has now officially become a venerable institution and it’s great to see the Fair thriving despite all the developments in the London art fair scene in the last decade - at the affordable end, London now has the Spring and Autumn Affordable Art Fairs in Battersea, and of course Frieze occupies the high-end Avant Garde international slot. But the London Art Fair seems to straddle quite successfully the contemporary-ish, affordable-ish well-heeled (and unsqueezed) middle ground - focussing mainly on UK Art.

Much of the stuff on display was familiar if you’ve been to London galleries or other fairs during the past year, but it is good to see it all mixed up with emerging artists and the more affordable side of the ‘big names’. I’d really like a Tracey Emin etching! - and it was great to see again Grayson Perry’s amazing Walthamstow Tapestry (last viewed at the Victoria Miro Gallery) and some of his ceramics dotted around. There was an incredible buzz at the preview evening and so much to see. The Fair ends today.

One of Emily Young's beautiful angels - the way she works with the markings in in the stone is exquisite

A detail from Ralph Fleck's Antiquariat (2010, Purdy Hicks Gallery)

A gorgeous floral by Ffiona Lewis - Window Poppy - Cerulean Blue (2011, Redfern Gallery)

If I had the cash this is the one I would buy - a quietly powerful early work by Derrick Greaves (L'Humanite, c 1953)

Many thanks to Nic for inviting me to accompany him - you can read his review for Londonist here.

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