Frieze & Sunday

by Beauchamp Art


Frieze was a calm chaos like riding through the tempest in a rubber dingy, made to feel very small, but not wholly sublime, more concerned with one’s own grounding than the base of the sea itself, and the surface of the tides rather than the market forces driving the currents below.

There appeared to be an inexplicable abundance of Kitsch on display, along with a vast quantity of mirrors, chrome objects, and tights. This may seem a bizarre cross-section, but given the general abundance of artworks on display, one begins to find patterns between the works on display even if they are wholly disconnect; from separate galleries from across the world; whether they are there or not.

The Kitsch element no doubt owes itself to the attention drawn by Jeff Koons works on show (for which my peer was interviewed briefly by the BBC asked to give her opinion on the works on show, whilst I attempted to photograph a man with the same tone sun-glasses as one of the pieces), large plastic-looking sculptures, scaled up items easily disregardable at a car-boot sale, made into monuments and icons of resplendent glory. I was aware before hand of some of the major pieces on display through a Guardian article, but newspapers and casual art-goers alike have the same habit of taking pictures of the large sculptures, and frequently allow flat works to sink into the walls – waves of pictures disregarded like the unending stream of images on Tumblr, or the rolling non-news screen of Twitter. So much on display makes many of the works, even the particularly noteworthy works, forgettable.

Indeed, nothing seemed to grab my attention firmly by the under parts with an unrelenting grip, but it is not my attention that Frieze intends to hold, but that of art collectors and dealers, critics and banks looking for something for their lobby – no doubt a leading factor for the popularity of big sculptures.

Frieze managed to be both overwhelming in its quantity and under whelming in its contents. That is not to say that the pieces I saw where disinteresting, far from it, but due to the scale it is difficult to remember specific works, outside of the list of artist’s names I collected, and the works of those artists whom I was already familiar with.


Something especially frustrating about Frieze was they way it displayed sound pieces; the problem being they were displayed badly, as if no one with a knowledge or care of sound art was consulted in the process. There was a pillar with three sets of headphones housing three independent works which was so easily overlooked, and just bad to engage with. There was another installed in its own room, and a few bleeding out of speakers being trampled by passing comment, withering and becoming deflated. Sound is not just heard through ears, but through one’s whole body; one remembers not just the noises one hears through one’s ears, but those heard, and felt, through ones feet. The most prominent noise was the ventilation system murmuring under the crowds. They needn’t have bother with sound works at all in how they were displayed; the art-fair audience and the sound-artist audience are clearly in two very different spheres of existence. I suppose a Cagian clutter of prepared piano would not down well in the lobby of Deustche National Bank, whereas a giant hanging chrome sweet wrapper will go down a treat.


(For a simulation of the Frieze experience, scroll through the Artnet online catalogue at high-speed and stop when your glut is over satisfied, then proceed to continue browsing until a Mr. Cresasote-like event occurs)



SundayAfter Frieze, we were led to the smaller art fair, ‘Sunday’, which had a more digestible number of works, organised and curated more openly which gave the impression of a single exhibition rather than a selection of isolated galleries brought together. There was little dividing the works, which produce a continuum between the pieces that had less of the rigid formality of Frieze, and seemed far less corporate, though there was still a business incentive. Having been shown around Sunday by Gabriel Loy, a NUA FA gradate who was volunteering with organisation and curation, as well as preparing the space, I did get to experience a bit of the underbelly of the art-fair production, and he suggested that I should volunteer next year, possibly with other fellow students – most of the other volunteers where from London universities; Goldsmiths etc. so a non-capital perspective was welcomed.

Art students outside of London are often easily disregarded, and to be based anywhere but London is to essentially not exist at all; the abundance of smaller galleries featured from outside London from the UK featured in both Frieze and Sunday seemed a positive challenge to this unofficial, often unspoken orthodoxy of London-central art. However, for a gallery to ascertain representation in the wider sphere, it needs to begin to collect works, and not just display them as a number of the Norwich artist-led exhibitions spaces do. Norwich needs a contemporary gallery; to ‘put itself on the map’ as more than just the Fine City which houses the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, playing host to the largest collection of Francis Bacon, and a fair number of Giacomettis and Henry Moores along side its historical Museum collection.



Research List:

  • Walid Raad – Hostage
  • David Shrigley – A Burden
  • Garth Weiser
  • Diana Thater
  • Gedi Sibony – Cyclops
  • Liu Wei – Colours No. 3
  • Simon Denny
  • Maaike Schoorel
  • Rudolf Schwarkogler
  • Johanna Calle
  • Wolgang Tillmass
  • Erinc Symen
  • Ericin Cavuoglu –
  • Mark Flood – Deutsche 96
  • Galeria Plum B, Shij, Berlin
  • Anca Benere & Arnold Estefan
  • Aneta Gzeszykowska
  • Dennis Oppenheia – Material Interchange
  • Formalist Sidways Poetry Club – Miami – Ian Cheng
  • Omer Fast – 2013
  • James Beckett
  • Albert Oehlen – 124
  • Daan Van Golden
  • Leigh Ledace
  • Stan Vanderbeek
  • Jose Davila – Moments of Equilibrium
  • Mona Hatoum
  • Kurimanzutto – Mexico City – College