The Other Art Fair 2016: Everything you need to know
The Other Art Fair offers an art world event with a difference: unlike many others, the Other Art Fair is centred around artists rather than galleries and dealers. With over 130 artists presenting their own work, the fair provides an opportunity to discover creative talent, both established and emerging. Artists use the setting to sell their work directly to their customers, and for newer artists looking for representation it’s a good platform on which to be spotted by international galleries. With everything on show from prints and photography to paintings and ceramics, and the chance to meet the artists behind them, the Other Art Fair fills an important gap in the calendar.
The Fair is set up as an immersive experience, with various installations and imaginative bars at every corner. Some of these seem a bit gratuitous, but nevertheless add to the creative and lively atmosphere. In one corner, spiralling books hang from the ceiling and adorn the walls, creating a slightly surreal Alice in Wonderland effect.
A key feature of this year’s event is a collaboration with photographer Martin Parr. Parr seems to be the man of the moment, having already curated Strange and Familiar, currently at the Barbican, and with a solo show at London’s Guildhall Gallery. For the Other Art Fair, Parr and his team have created a pop-up bar and café, where his photographs of food and drink have been carefully recreated and are available to consume inside a deliberately kitsch dining space. The photographer has also released two signed prints, produced in an edition of 99 and on sale for £99 each. It’s a rare chance to own a work by a celebrated photographer without the usual hefty price tag (other pieces on show by Parr are going for £2,500 each).
Elsewhere, there are some fantastic works that are well-worth seeking out. If you’re interested in ceramics, Megan Rowden’s table-top pieces are striking sculptural objects; they work either alone or as a small group and are intriguingly well priced. Michael Swallow is a photographer whose atmospheric works use long exposures and low light levels to create engaging dusky images. His series of photographs taken looking out to sea at night are particularly successful, a pinpoint of light from a distant lighthouse punctuating the almost indistinguishable sea and sky.
If it’s painting visitors are looking for, Norwegian artist Marit Geraldine Bostad offers abstract canvases full of colour and volume, and is showing her work in the UK for the first time. Emma Lee Cracknell also paints excellent abstract pieces, with thickly textured paint spread in therapeutic-looking daubs.
Being able to meet and chat to artists is a fantastic way of engaging with art and offers a different perspective to the usual channels through which we look at it. Although some of the works on show are of questionable quality, there are enough talented and interesting individuals involved to make the Other Art Fair worth a visit, and maybe even to pick up something new to liven up your walls.
Photos: Oksana Dotsenko
The Other Art Fair 2016 is on from 7th until 10th April 2016, for further information visit here.