London Art Fair
LONDON ART FAIR 2018
And so, it begins - London Art Fair kicks off the International art fair season with a packed opening full of laughs, hugs and full flute glasses, surrounded by a maze of art.
On the ground floor you are greeted by the work of German street artist Van Ray at Venet-Haus Gallery. Its big, bold, and in your face, a rustic portrait of Mickey mouse on hard steel tells you to Enjoy Life, other entries Hint – Cocaine silver, 2017 shows a man in deep thought sitting on the words Think Outside the Box. A large mirror cornered by rust and paint is a personal favourite – perfect for an art fair selfie.
Pocket sized paintings in the Charlie Smith booth by artists Barry Thompson and Emma Bennett are pleasantly welcome, giving my eyes a breather from the large 190 x 150 paintings only fit for a Beverley Hills Mansion or Spanish villa with generous wall space.
Over at Art project a quick stop at Turps Gallery and my eyes are instantly drawn to a quirky portrait of a scantily dressed blonde with a perfect resting bitch face beside the words 'Great Big Slag' - this awkwardly has my undivided attention; my inner feminist is happy and please don’t ask why.
The nudity continues at Seoul based, Hanmi Gallery. This time in a cool video installation by performance artist Yingmei Duan.
Men and woman of various ages and sizes strip down to their birthday suit like Adam and Eve in that beautiful garden of Eden, thankfully the weather looks rather warm. The booth is cleverly designed with each corner scattered with leaves and brown sticks, giving the audience an autumnal feeling. Portraits hang on white walls of naked bodies piled on top each other like layered lettuce, mayo and bacon in a BLT sandwich, yummy.
Ed Cross fine art brightens up the area with blue walls, showcasing the works of Nigerian artist Wole Lagunji and Shiraz Bayjoo. You will notice the chest of drawers in the corner intentionally painted on giving you the impression of venturing into an artists studio.
Losing my way, I stumble across a rather cute and shiny red dog squatting with his droppings visible for all to see. Sebastian Burdon's POPek Red, at TAG Fine Art is going for a whooping £20,000 – by far the most expensive pooch I have ever seen.
Another highlight is Marion Boehm's collages at ArtCo's booth – they are bold and unapologetic with hints of religious symbolism. I overheard the dealer informing a possible buyer that there are only a few available for sale – I'm not surprised.
Sophie Derrick steals the show at Contemporary Collective, a sister company to powerhouse Degree Art. Her portraits are luxurious in rich gold and white – a breathtakingly stunning view. Beside Derrick you'll find Claire Luxton – if you don’t know Claire, you should really ask yourself why, she' s unmissable. Large self-portraits are hidden behind a mix of colourful flowers only revealing her eyes. What's great about Claire is her generosity – each portrait comes with a bottle infused with the real flowers used in the photograph – genius!
Words by KERI KARR