Stand-out themes from London Art Fair 2023
I’ve been going to the London Art Fair since 2017, and I’m never disappointed. It’s held in the Business Design Centre in Angel, which is a big trade hall with lots of natural light from the glass ceiling. Hundreds of small independent art galleries each have a booth, and they showcase work from their new artists and well known pieces too. It’s an art fair, so everything is for sale - it can be fun to see people shopping for art - but there’s no obligation to buy and all the gallery owners are friendly and happy to chat about their artists.
Here's some super cool techniques I saw that were new to me... Solenne Jolivet (represented by ruup and form gallery) uses coloured thread as pigment to create amazing pieces like the one above right. I spent ages taking in all the stickers in the piece 'Buddha isn't Smiling' by Gonkar Gyasto (represented by tag fine arts) - the different graphic styles create this extra layer of discomfort, I love it. Peter Monoghan's piece 'Rotating Circle' looks metallic and shiny from a distance but as I got closer I saw that it's made from hundreds of strips of coloured paper, attached to the surface at 90 degrees. (Cube Gallery) The Jealous gallery is always a highlight for me and this year didn't disappoint, with Danny Augustine's print catching my eye - doesn't it reminds you of pop-out childhood activities?
The stand out theme at the fair this year for me was digital and virtual worlds. L'houette depicts the retro Nokia game Snake (tag fine arts), Amy Lincoln's piece 'Rainbow with Rain Clouds' reminds me of digital rendering and RGB surreal colours (shown as a print at Cactus Moon Studio). Neil Douglas' piece Metropolis has the crisp clean perspective of a video game city - and bold, surreal contrasts stand out in the colour palettes of Simone Albers, Nick Grindrod and Poul Webb. (Portland Gallery, Art Gallery O-68, The Catto Gallery)
I couldn't post about London Art Fair without sharing these stunning sculptural pieces. Marice Cumber's giant ceramic teacup 'The Big Cup of Little Value' expresses vulnerable self-reflection perfectly at Zuleika Gallery. Carolein Smit is a new artist to me and I loved her pieces at James Freeman Gallery, including this 'Medusa' with its' intricate detail and strong presence. And the Aylesbury Fragments by Harriet Mena Hill (Shown by Eagle Gallery) touches on a subject close to my heart. Old housing estates being demolished to make way for shiny new apartment blocks happens constantly in London, and I dislike it partly because it symbolises gentrification, and previous residents often are displaced and 'forgotten'. It's also hugely damaging environmentally - the waste of the old building materials, and the gallons of concrete used for the new construction, instead of repairing the existing structure. Mena Hill paints scenes of the old estate onto fragments of the demolished walls themselves. It's moving.
If you liked this post, subscribe to the Yellow Tiger newsletter to get notified when there's a new one.