Frieze Art Fair (which shares its name with contemporary art magazine, Frieze) is held annually each October in Regent’s Park, London. This year, over 150 leading contemporary art galleries from around the world are represented on site – allowing the visitor to both view and purchase contemporary art. The Frieze Fair also hosts a curatorial program of newly commissioned artworks, a talks program and an artist-led educational program under the direction of the (non-profit) Frieze Foundation – all of which add depth and variety to the market-driven focus of the fair.
This year’s Frieze Projects is curated by Neville Wakefield with the aim, in his words, to ‘create aesthetic opportunity out of the uncertainty that has become the hallmark of our troubled times.’ But what is most apparent is that the works commissioned each engage either the actual exhibition space or the concept of the mega-art fair, which at its most essential level facilitates market exchange. Artists included are Mike Bouchet, duo Kim Coleman and Jenny Hogarth, Ruth Ewan, Ryan Gander, Per-Oskar Leu, Monika Sosnowska (pictured below), and Stephanie Syjuco. Arte Contempo (Lisbon) and Contemporary Art Centre (Vilnius) each contribute their own curated projects as well.
British, London-based artist Ryan Gander‘s work We are Constant is worth noting for the way it forces the Frieze visitor to take note of the presence of ‘consumption’ and ‘spectacle’ at the fair. Gander’s installation work is placed prominently at the entrance to the fair. It consists of photographic portraits of visitors alongside their choice of art work found at the fair. These portraits are added to the installation throughout the duration of the fair.
This year’s Frieze Film commission features a new film by the Danish artist collective, Superflex (excerpt video above). Superflex which has chosen to take the present economic crisis as its subject. Fittingly for the art market, which is a microcosm of our larger world economy, Financial Crisis (Session I-IV) addresses the recent and current economic troubles that have been felt worldwide. The four parts, entitled The Invisible Hand, George Soros, You and Old Friends each feature visually spare frames of a respectable-looking middle aged man against a black background. The man looks directly out at the viewer as he calmly and deliberately speaks on the topic of the financial crisis. As the Frieze site states, Superflex chooses to approach the ‘economic crisis as a psychosis to be treated therapeutically, hypnosis is used to relive the stages of financial meltdown.’
The Frieze Foundation’s Cartier Award, which supports emerging artists from outside of the UK was given to Jordan Wolfson. An American artist based in Berlin and New York, Wolfson will also present a site specific work at Frieze.
The 2009 Frieze Art Fair takes place in London from 15-18 October in Regent Park.