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This year, Frieze London re-camped at its Regent’s Park location on from October 12-16, bringing together over 160 of the world’s leading contemporary galleries, from major names to emerging spaces.
As Whitewall explored the tents of buzzing booths and its kaleidoscope of featured artworks, five stands stood above the rest, from blue chip galleries like Gagosian to emerging artists such as Marina Xenofontos, offering a brief insight into the fairgoer’s experience.
Thomas Dane Gallery
Curated by artist Anthea Hamilton, Thomas Dane Gallery was awarded the 2022 Frieze Stand Prize, and we could see why. Two giant orange pumpkins slouched over a foreground of tartan black, blue, and white flooring. Featuring recent works by Hamilton, woven in an eclectic and energetic composition of major works by gallery and non-gallery artists alike, perfectly exemplary of Hamilton’s wildly inclusive approach to a presentation that uses walls, floors, and even furniture as a canvas for her unorthodox installations. With featured works from over 19 different artists, including Hurvin Anderson, Lynda Benglis, Philip King, and Ella Kruglyanskaya, and special mentions for James Cohan and Pilar Corrias, Hamilton’s curation also included works by non-gallery artists such as Mumtaz Karimjee, Rita Keegan, and Nancy Wallis, whom—while widely active in the UK for decades—have been mostly overlooked, marginalized by their revolving themes of queer identity, feminism, and the visibility of Black and South Asian women artists.
In a similar tone, Gagosian stood first in line as you walk through the doors—overwhelming with its suite of seven sheer monumental paintings by 29-year-old British painter Jadé Fadojutimi. The artist manifests feelings of displacement through evocative and gestural brushstrokes, losing the audience between figuration and abstraction. Heptatonic in its display, it immerses visitors in an all-consuming envelope of electric saturated pools of color, thick lines, and light swipes of brushstroke, that, in its figuration edging on abstraction, leans on concepts of fluid emotion and continual transformation.
Lehmann Maupin’s elegant trio presentation of works by Cecilia Vicuña, Teresita Fernández, and Calida Rawles considered connections of all sorts—exploring the complex, sensory relationship between spirituality, humanity, and the environment with a display of installation, painting, film, sculpture, and more. The central piece of Vicuna’s installation of multiple mediums, Caracol Azul (Blue Snail) (2017), lay cascading across the floor, large, blue-dyed, gracefully unfurling wool on a low plinth of over 16 feet in length. A vital component to the artist’s decade-long practice, the raw, unaltered material is representative of the cosmos from which all life stems, with Blue Snail, and the rest of her paintings, films, and “Precarios” sculptures each paying tribute to the sacredness of land and the perilousness of being.
Ryan Lee’s solo booth was dedicated to renowned female artist Emma Amos (1937-2020) and her landmark paintings, and their debut in Europe. A pioneer and activist, she was revered for her experimentation of subject matter and material which ranged from graphic, to expressionist, and figurative. Taking the centre stage, sat Work Suit (1997), made the same year as the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Lucian Freud retrospective, Amos marked her politically charged canvas with an insert of her own face over a version of Freud’s nude body, interrogating the openness of art history to Black woman while marking her anxieties on their tenuous position in society.
Hot Wheels Athens
In the Focus section, supporting younger galleries and artists at the earlier stages of their careers, one particular work caught our attention at Hot Wheels Athens. The recipient of the 2022 Camden Art Centre Emerging Artist Prize at Frieze, the Athens-based artist Marina Xenofontos presented Twice upon a while (2020), where an oversized wooden-carved figure of a young girl sits leaning over a large desk made of a mirrored surface. Frozen as she stares down at her reflection in the reflective glass, it evokes Caravaggio’s pose in Narcissus (ca.1597-99), creating a modern retelling of the myth, trapping a girl by her own beauty, representation, and how she appears reflected to others.