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The London Art Fair 2022

Last month, ArtULTRA headed to Islington to check out the London Art Fair. After two years of being held online, the fair reopened at the Business Design Centre in late April with over 100 modern and contemporary galleries from all corners of the globe. Upon entering the fair, we noticed an energetic buzz of gallerists engaging with customers and people waving at each other from across the stalls. Everyone seemed glad to be back.

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To exhibit at the London Art Fair, galleries have to be invited by the selection team: it’s similar to Frieze, rather than The Other Art Fair where artists can hire their own stalls. The type of galleries exhibiting would classify as ‘high street galleries’- reputable, and most are established. They are not, however, the 'superstar' galleries like White Cube or Hauser and Wirth. The fair focuses on modern and contemporary British art, with many artworks made during the past two years during lockdown. But the London Art Fair also showcases international artists and galleries, which make up a quarter of their exhibitors. 

On display, we found relatively established artists with an international career and solid sales records. Many galleries were selling print editions of famous works, by very high profile artists such Francis Bacon, Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall or Tracey Emin. Surprisingly, not all these works were astronomically expensive, with prices ranging from £1,000 to £30,000. 

The Museum Partner for this edition of the London Art Fair was the Cambridge-based The Women’s Art Collection, which had their own stand celebrating the breadth and diversity of women artists, collectors and patrons. Their stand had the stunning painting, Tuesday, below by the Lancashire-born artist Leonora Carrington.

 

We particularly liked Tiffanie Delune, a French Belgo-Congolese artist based in Portugal whose work is pictured here. We also enjoyed speaking to a few gallerists, including Brit who established the digital gallery Mothflower about a year ago and has a nice selection of emerging and established artists on her site.

Tiffanie Delune, Free Birds Learn to Sing in Silence

Another highlight of the fair included discovering the symbolic mixed media artworks of Canadian emerging artist Gabrielle K Brown. Brown was exhibited by the Cornwall-based Anima Mundi Gallery in Art Projects, a small area on the second floor of the fair dedicated to emerging artists. Her large-scale wooden panels were a surrealist blend of folk-style wood-carving, Native American-inspired imagery and references to Looney Tunes, Pop Art and Biblical stories. Brown is inspired by a deep reverence for nature, and her works offered criticism of consumerism and ecological destruction fuelled by an oil economy. 

Unfortunately, the area dedicated to photography Photo50 was rather anodyne. A group exhibition had been curated by Rodrigo Orrantia entitled ‘No Place is An Island’ which presented photographic, video and performance-based works around the theme of ‘connections and dialogues.’ The area could have benefitted from a greater effort at coherence and better presentation of photographic works (which were not always printed large enough for viewing).

 

Overall, however, visiting the London Art Fair was like riffling through a box of chocolates – there were some real gems to discover! 

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Gabrielle K Brown, Greed Never Looked So Good