The Blog

Impressions of Frieze and Frieze Masters 2013

Due to a bout of flu, a mugging and a head injury (all healed now) my impressions are slightly late but I hope they are enjoyed by some.

Due to a bout of flu, a mugging and a head injury (all healed now) my impressions are slightly late but I hope they are enjoyed by some.

I was full to the brim with anticipation for this year's Frieze Art Fair having missed last year's Frieze Masters. I took a deep breath, put on my best critic's eye and headed in to explore.

The atmosphere at Frieze Contemporary was frenetic, buyers were enquiring, viewers were instagramming and journalists were pacing the aisles looking for an artwork, event or moment which could be used to sum up what has grown into a multi-faceted event.

What always fascinates me the most about Frieze is looking at the range of the nationalities represented in the galleries; initially I think this was the only way I could wrap my mind around the, now, 152 of the world's contemporary galleries with additions hailing from New York, LA, Berlin, Johannesburg and Istanbul.

The first thing I noticed on entering were the gargantuan Jeff Koons sculptures at the Gagosian stand, the visual H-bomb of a giant heart sweet plus 'Cat on a Clothes Line (yellow)' 1994-2001 the second thing were the bouncers hired to guard the bouncers who had been hired to guard them, who became a massive talking point.

Jennifer Rubell's enormous statue 'Portrait of the Artist' 2013 which you could climb into drew a lot of attention as well as Ron Muek's hyper-real statue 'Mother and Baby' 2013. The mother weighed down with shopping which provided a welcome slice of everyday life amongst the Celine handbags and Prada outfits worn by the people who (unlike me) had come along to look AND buy.

There has been much said about the cost of the tickets and the elitism that it brings and I cannot disagree with the fact that £50 for a day ticket is a lot of money, although it's great to come along to Frieze, ogle the work and have a nice lunch, the aim of the fair is to sell artwork. Very expensive artwork, the price of which pales the £50 ticket price into insignificance.

Which takes me neatly onto Frieze Masters, the lighter and airier sister to Frieze Contemporary. On entering the tent the atmosphere is palpably different and it is easy to see why as walking past the stands and taking in Picasso, after Calder, after Miro, after de Kooning. As an art lover this is a chance to see works by some of the best and most famous artists in history, works that usually hang away from the public eye in people's homes and that is not an opportunity to be embraced.

There is something extremely reassuring about being surrounded by expensive objects of confirmed significance and it is the perfect way to follow the frenetic buzz of the contemporary fair.

Frieze London was buzzing for the entire week with events, talks and gatherings. My personal favourites were Zhang Enli's painted room at the ICA plus Lutz Bachers installation, which is still open.

Despite my search I didn't find the one event or artwork which summed up Frieze week but I can say with confidence that the art scene in London is full booming and blooming and I am very much looking forward to seeing what springs up throughout the year to come.