After a hiatus in 2020, Frieze London made an exciting return this year to its spot in Regent’s Park, exhibiting influential artwork from some of the world’s most innovative contemporary artists. Showcasing over 160 galleries and featuring both emerging and established artists, the works on display were captivating and inspiring, ranging from an exploration of apocalypse and reconstruction to the return of Frieze Sculpture. With so much to see, we rounded up our top five events at Frieze this year, to provide a glimpse into the cultural experience.
With curator Cédric Fauq at the helm, Frieze’s new section Unworlding was centred around the idea of ‘the undoing of the world as we know it’. Featuring works that dissect the meaning behind hope and progress and show how ‘pessimism can drive imaginative agency rather than lead to immobilism’, Fauq brought together pieces from international artists such as Nora Turato, Ndayé Kougaou and Fanny Gicquel. With the post-pandemic world still in recovery, Unworlding was an incredibly pertinent depiction of resistance in the 21st century.
Making its return to Frieze Masters this year was Laura Hoptman’s section Spotlight, dedicated to illuminating the very best of 20th century avant-garde art. Embracing diversity, this section displayed solo presentations of work by ground-breaking artists from around the world, featuring 28 international galleries. Not only spanning countries, Spotlight also exhibited a range of disciplines, from Franca Sonnino’s woven masterpieces to the works of Cruzeiro Seixas, a pioneer of Portuguese Surrealism. Notable works included Korean artist Soun-Gui Kim’s ‘One Stroke of Painting’ series and Nancy Holt’s photography.
Running until the end of October in the English Gardens, Frieze Sculpture returns for the ninth time to display incredible structures at what is London’s largest free outdoor art exhibition. Featuring international artists, this year’s installation focuses on addressing a variety of key themes including the environment, architecture and geopolitical power structures. Notable pieces include a sculpture by Tatiana Wolska composed entirely from red plastic bottles to spark discussion about plastic consumption, and fragments of work by Serpentine Pavillion architect Sumayya Vally. Not just magnificent works of art, the sculpture garden invites conversations about wider issues; a thought-provoking and immersive section that is a real spectacle at Frieze.
This section, curated by Luke Syson, was dubbed ‘a more interesting history of art’, with Syson bringing together pieces across mediums and cultures to encompass a more inclusive and diverse glimpse into art’s rich background. Taking place as part of Frieze Masters, Stand Out 'looks beyond hierarchical distinctions’ and ‘reconsiders art objects often termed ‘decorative’ or ‘functional.’’ Gisèle Croës contributed ancient Chinese relics and Oscar Graf Gallery showcased works by leading designers of the Arts and Crafts movement. Venturing on a journey through time to celebrate some of the most monumental historic works, it was an insightful and inspiring collection.
The Gallery Climate Coalition
Occupying a stand at the fair and working to illuminate one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century was the Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC), a charity dedicated to making the art world a more sustainable and environmentally conscious place. With the climate crisis on everyone’s agenda, this section raised awareness about the commercial art sector’s involvement in the emergency, creating a platform for meaningful change to come about. The GCC has over 550 members, all with the shared goal of reducing their carbon emissions by at least 50% over the next ten years. Including works by Noémie Goudal and Wolfgang Tillmans.
Bronze Horse, China, Sichuan Province, Han Dynasty, courtesy of Gisèle Croës - Arts d’Extrême Orient s.a.
Libro del mare by Franca Sonnino, courtesy of Repetto Gallery
Untitled by Tatiana Wolska
Muamba Grove #1 by Vanessa da Silva, courtesy of Galeria Duarte Sequeira
yes. this is how we pierce the vault of heaven by Nora Turato, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Gregor Staiger
All photos courtesy of Frieze