28/10/2014 05:58 GMT | Updated 25/12/2014 05:59 GMT

Art Fairs Highlights or Who is the Art For?

October for the art world is what September is for fashion - it is when all the new trends are being set and launched. Last week saw thousands of art enthusiasts, dealers and collectors flooding London in search of what is the next best thing in art. New galleries, new shows, emerging artists, all is happening at one go and it felt almost too overwhelming even without visiting Frieze.


Ideally the Black of this Print Would be a Breath-Taking Image, Laure Provoust, 2014, Whitechapel Gallery. Seen at Multiplied.

I did not make it to Frieze this year. And while you might think that a review of the art week that does not cover the art shown at Regents Park is incomplete, I disagree. With all that attention on art as business only, I wanted to be able to enjoy the work for what it was and not for what the price tags said it is.


IQ Sale, Mark Powell, 2014., Hang-Up Gallery. Seen at Moniker.

My firm belief that art is not a luxury or an investment only took me to the fifth editions of Moniker Art Fair (Old Truman Brewery) and Multiplied (Christie's). I was in for a treat.

Hang-Up Gallery's stand at Moniker 2014 was one of the highlights for me. East-London based artist Mark Powell overtook the space and converted it into a giant junkyard.


Close -up shot of the space featuring 'Regardez Evolution' and 'The Freak Show'.



Oil Pump, Mark Powell, Junkyard Games, 2014. All images courtesy of Chuck Noble.

With it's sincere rawness, consistency of concept, curation and body of work, 'Junkyard Games' install was a truly memorable experience. What I found truly fascinating was, however, the artist bold approach toward this new style he is now developing. It is not easy to break the mold or challenge the direction of work, one is comfortable with, but Mark Powell seemed to embrace that challenge and continue his constant development in a most effortless and creative way.

Another impressive stand to include is Moniker Projects' 'Five Years Young', featuring the works of Mark McClure, Jo Peel, Matt Small.


The balance between delicately drawn on canvas urban landscapes (Peel), 3D sculpted portraits in metal (Small) and shapes and materials from the environment, combined in sculptures full of light and plasticity (McClure) is carefully maintained. It is great to witness how these so different in media artists successfully present their work in a most effortless way.

In Mcclure's own words 'I believe in art being much more immersive and inclusive than simply hanging works on white walls - so am keen to encourage a level of interaction and function'.

I cannot but agree with him. Art should be more than pretty pictures hung on white walls. It should move, question, challenge, provoke thoughts and emotions and engage with its audience. And looking at the stands mentioned, it appears that the artists not only took that concept on board but managed to fully recreate it...



Storm Warning, 2014. All images courtesy of Mark Mcclure.

Another example of not 'just another stand' is David Shillinglaw's space. Looking at the impressive 8 ft high and 5 ft wide wall was like entering a parallel, long lost world, fully of ancient stories and characters.



Images: courtesy of Arlen Figgis

I cannot but also include another two artists - Spaniard Vinz Feel Free and Amanda Marie, both with Andenken Gallery. I have always liked Vinz genuine and authentic voice and representation of the society and world we live in. That, combined with Amanda's delicate graphic stencils, reminiscent of the 'Golden Age' complimented my Moniker highlights.

Below, Vinz signing off his print, released during the fair. Image via the artist.


Amanda Marie's outdoor piece in London. Image via Andeken.


My week finished off at Christie's with Multiplied. In its fifth year as well, the fair had a lot to offer. My highlights, however, would be attending Yinka Shonibare MBE talk and Whitechapel Gallery Director Iwona Blazwick OBE, on his new edition 'Kaleidoscope' being launched by the Multiple Store; Damien Hirst's 'Shizophrenogenesis' (Paul Stolper Gallery) and the unique impressions by Sara Sanders (Robert Blackburn Printing Workshop)


Yinka Shonibare and Iwona Blazwick, Multiplied 2014. Image: Aida Prints.

Damien Hirts's pills extravaganza.



Sara Sanders wonderfully luxurious prints, now acquired and part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Library of Congress print collection, definitely seemed the best way to wrap the art week up.


Image: PS Marlowe