Frieze London 2016: What to look out for

By Jo Phillips

For .Cent Magazine, the October theme is irregular. And as the international art fair Frieze London approaches, why not take a quick preview of some of the unusual exhibits  that will be showing across some galleries. Below is a small curated list looking at a selection of the  themes the artists explore.  A simple way to ease you into an artist’s work alongside some explanations.

One of the underlying themes that may be shown at Frieze is that of gender. With society’s increasing fascination with gender identity, it’s of no surprise that artists would consider what masculinity or femininity mean to them. During the fair’s Film Festival, Singapore-born Ming Wong will unveil his work through video media. Wong is particular known for his adaptations of classic Hollywood films in which race and gender are switched or become interchangeable in order to examine the need for representation in popular culture.


Wong is, incidentally, one of the few male artists at Frieze that explore gender through their work. The topic is otherwise dominated by women, who often use their art to explore gender and feminine sexuality simultaneously. Portia Munson’s art is especially worth noting; her simple arrangements of pink plastic objects explore the meanings and stereotypes behind the colour itself.

Another artist with a particular use of colour is Penny Siopis, whose aggressive use of red offers perhaps a more violent take to femininity in contrast to Munson. Carolee Schneeman and Betty Tompkins, both representing a wave of feminism dating back forty years, have made their mark upon the art world through their graphic depiction of sexuality. Their work, famous for its use of the human body, provide unapologetic discourse on female genitalia and sexuality specifically. Tompkins’ paintings that teeter on the lines of pornography are especially striking in their encouragement to view them from different distances and angles.

Frieze will also show works from a younger generation who explore similar topics: Celia Hempton and Erin Riley approach sexuality and the human body in equally honest manners. Hampton has gained recognition for going on online chat-forums and painting the occasional naked man who appears on the other end of the webcam. Riley also incorporates the digital age; her tapestries depict the moment of climax in lesbian pornography found online.

courtesy of portiamunson.com
courtesy of portiamunson.com

When not exploring feminism, nudity or sexuality, colour is of course vital in other pieces of artwork. James Turrell, Channa Horwitz, and Chris Bracey are just a few names whose use of colour is prominent in their art. Turrell, whose acclaimed use of light, recently made headlines after rapper Drake paid an homage to his work in his viral video for Hotline Bling.

Horwitz, though now dead, has earned a steady increase in attention for her combination of colour and minimalism. Bankroller Gallery will host the late Chris Bracey, an artist who created pieces devoted to neon visuals. His installation, Neon Legacy, features iconic pieces from Bracey’s portfolio; fans of neon should visit the gallery to immerse themselves amongst the collection of signs and illuminations. The installations will reference late-nigh debauchery and extravagance and will surely be a treat for the eyes. img_00000033    

Like Celia Hampton and Erin Riley, Jon Rafman is also an artist inspired by the internet age who will show at Frieze. His often humorous art is known for analysing the way in which modern society functions in a digital era. With a seemingly endless progression of modern technology when entertainment is concerned, it is of no surprise that such a theme will be explored at the art fair. Polish artist Goshka Macuga goes a step further; her recent work is noted for her incorporation of Artificial Intelligence and her references to post-humanism embody the zeitgeist concerned with humans’ relationship with technology.

via frieze.com
courtesy of frieze.com

The Moretti Fine Art Gallery will display a fascinating insight into the minds of children, who will have their artwork shown. The children represent Atelier dell’Errore, the child neuropsychiatric clinics developed by Reggio Emilia and Bergamo. The exhibition, titled The Guardian Animals + other invisible things, depicts animals as ancestral figures, embodying the youngsters’ fears and need for protection. Aside from the representation of animals, the gallery will also host ten large drawings on a white background, mostly with irregular shapes, housed in wood cases, which share the first room with the 17th-century tondo L’Angelo Custode by Carlo Dolci; and the second room with a small wood painting by Luca Signorelli portraying Saint Anthony Abbot. This collection of artwork mirrors the youngsters’ ability to trust, and taking care of others, by presenting themselves as guides. The portrayal of the Saint, protector of animals in the popular tradition, equally represents the search for cleansing and liberation through simple life and constructive work.il-farchio-del-sudbs-140x200-2014-autori-vari-atelier-dell-errore

We will be at Frieze and will keep our readers posted as new information arrives. Keep an eye on our Twitter (@centmagazine) and Instagram (@centmag) for any updates.

For more information regarding Frieze, click here to visit the art fair’s website. Feel free to check our other article on Frieze, which will give you a wider knowledge of the fair’s origins and evolution.