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This year’s Frieze Projects aims to break up the fair with moments of magic, humor, and surprise. Curated by High Line Art’s Cecilia Alemani, the program will include work by Alex Da Corte, Anthea Hamilton, David Horvitz, Eduardo Navarro, and Heather Phillipson. We asked Alemani about what we can expect to encounter.
WHITEWALL: Why did you want to create an enchanted atmosphere?
CECILIA ALEMANI: Frieze Projects presents an opportunity to interrupt the regular rhythm and pace of the fair. I see Frieze Projects as presenting an opportunity for our visitors to have a different type of artistic encounter— one that you wouldn’t expect to have in the context of a fair and that will take you by surprise.
WW: How did that dictate the six artists you chose to create special projects this year?
CA: It’s a group of international artists, many of whom are not very well known in the U.S. Anthea Hamilton and Heather Phillipson are both from London, but they haven’t shown that much here in New York. While David Horvitz has done few projects here, this one is truly specific to Frieze and its audience. Alex Da Corte will present his first public artwork in New York outside the fair, while Eduardo Navarro, an artist from Argentina, will organize a performance throughout the park on Randall’s Island.
WW: Can you tell us about Alex Da Corte and Eduardo Navarro’s projects, which interact with the outdoor space of the fair?
CA: Alex Da Corte’s project comprises a huge inflatable balloon that will float above the tent, and will be visible also from the highway across the river, creating a new, unexpected landmark above Frieze New York. Eduardo Navarro will animate Randall’s Island Park with a performance: five dancers wearing circular mirror disks on their waists will follow the movement on the clouds above the park, reflecting the sky and surrounding landscape in their costumes in a mesmerizing procession that will take the viewer outside the fair.
WW: Anthea Hamilton will reinterpret Italian architect Mario Bellini’s Kar-A-Sutra futuristic inhabitable car created in 1972. How did that work become a point of inspiration for Hamilton?
CA: Anthea has always been fascinated with Italian radical design, and has created works in collaboration with renowned Italian industrial designer Gaetano Pesce. Stemming from this interest, her project at Frieze New York, will bring to life a fantastic series images that document Kar-A-Sutra—a hybrid car the Italian architect Mario Bellini created in 1972. For her project at Frieze New York, the artist presents a reconstruction of the car, and has invited 7 mimes to occupy the vehicle for the duration of the fair, demonstrating for visitors a variety of ways to inhabit the space when using the car.
WW: Heather Phillipson will look at the shape of the tent as a spinal cord. How exactly will that manifest?
CA: Heather’s project consists of four discrete installations, combining sculptural elements with video and sound in a site-specific work that viewers will encounter scattered throughout the fair. Since the work will be created in the environment, I can’t reveal too many details in advance, but I can tell you there will be lots of plastic dogs, a trampoline, and artificial topiary!
WW: How did you and David Horvitz come up with the idea to hire a professional pickpocketer, who will drop miniature sculptures into visitor’s pockets and bags?
CA: In his practice, David Horvitz looks at the rules and logics that structure our everyday life, and seeks to subvert them with small gestures. His Frieze New York project fits very well in his artistic practice, as it’s the first time that unsuspecting visitors will walk out of the fair with an artwork they didn’t consciously acquire!
Frieze New York takes place May 5-8 on Randall’s Island.