Back with updates after a wearing winter flu. First off, @London stories#2018.
We flew on 19th of January to London for the 30th LAF edition. The other reason was an essential meeting with the living sculptures, anti-establishment anarchistic artist couple, Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore, known as Gilbert & George.
Along Frieze, The London Art Fair is one of Europe´s leading contemporary and modern art fairs. Hosted in the Business Design Center in Islington, the London Art Fair 2018 brought together British art alongside leading international and emerging contemporary pieces. For this year´s edition, there were 131 featured galleries next to other projects, such as: Photo50 – curated by Hemera Collective, a curatorial and collaboration led group specialising in photography and lens-based media; Art of the Nation – Five Artists Choose – curated by Kathleen Soriano, the former Director of Exhibitions at the Royal Academy and Art Projects showcasing the freshest contemporary art from across the world, with its major feature – Dialogues, curated by Misal Adnan Yildiz.
The air inside was dense and hot, literally hot, contrasting with the wintry thick rain outside. The galleries´ stuff were affable and engaging (though one could spot a discreet fatigue tone on Saturday, the 4th day of the event). There was a certain global glossy breath coming from the artwork, a somewhat frosty, tamed and marketable pas-de-deux, with numerous clins d´oeils and eulogies made to works and forms of recent trends.
There were also plenty of sparkles and spontaneous electricity. I noticed as i entered Tracey Emin´s work, a variation of the 2002 embroidery series. We loved the Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) stand and talk panel, as we were lucky enough to hear Richard Wilson expound on What does it mean to collaborate?
As being already familiar to the art of Yingmei Duan, i was glad to spend some time at the Hanmi Gallery stand. I was also thrilled to discover Yehsine Kang´s work through ATELIER AKI, specialising on Korean contemporary art and committed to supporting Korean emerging artists. As someone under the spell of the “archive fever”, LoveJordan and Joanne Tinker really caught my eye at the Woolff Gallery stand. Gibbons&Nicholas presented the newest works of Peter Burns and it was delightful to exchange a few words with the gallery director, Ciara Gibbons. At her charming friend´s advise i went on a quest of David Shrigley´s works and wanted to go back to them, afterwards, to say “thank you” but never found my way in the maze back to the Gibbons&Nicholas gallery… In our way, we discovered and loved Rita GT and Keyezua´s works presented by MOV’ART Gallery, an interlocutor and promoter for contemporary art in Angola since 2014.
Oh. There was an original Banana art work by Damien Hirst. Here is the signature. And there were also Banksy and Warhol.
Starved, after the art overkill, we went to Quality Fish Bar, at Finsbury Park, to quench our thirst and nourish our earthly bodies. Scrumptious choice!
Just before we´d jump on our late evening plane, taking us to Berlin, we went to Bermondsey to catch up with Beard Pictures And Their Fuckosophy in the White Cube. We arrived about 20 min. too soon and as i´m not keen on coffee, i spent my time in front of the gallery, thinking about the narrative and connections between the sleek urban myth, Jay Jopling, the floating photos of his artist wife, his early friendship to Damien Hirst, on whether there is any meaning in life, what is actually art and the hiring of this adorable young and effective stuff to work for, to care for, to greet and handle at one of the world´s leading contemporary art galleries.
Then, getting inside we were kindly warned by one of these young adorable stuff members, that unfortunately it is not so very warm inside – of course not, anyway we´re not here to get comfortable.
To Gilbert&George i was introduce in my early student years and my insurgent nerve clicked right away with the couple´s vigorous verb. I loved their essence of being, i loved and still love their statement. The pictures were nothing new, but covering maybe 58,000 sq ft in vertical space with 5000 lines, slogans and mottos, all incorporating legion of uses of the shameful F-word requires a significant amount of social dedication and love. Straightforward.
We could not be there for the screening of the retropera, unfortunately. Back home i went through the ancient notes in my time capsules and some of the recent interviews with Gilbert and George. I found this among others:
“I believe in the art, the beauty and the life of the artist who is an eccentric person with something to say for himself. I uphold traditional values with my love of victory, kindness and honesty. I am fascinated by the richness of the fabric of our world and I honour the high-mindedness of man as the ultimate form and meaning of art. Beauty is my art.” (From The World of Gilbert & George, 1981, via AnOther Magazine).
©Luiza Mogosanu 2018