London Art Fair 2018
The London Art Fair, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, kicks off the art world calendar at the Business Design Centre in Angel. For this edition, the organisers have pulled out all the stops to have the biggest fair to date, with 131 galleries from five continents exhibiting everything from mid-century masters to up-to-date contemporary art.
In an interesting move, the fair has teamed up with Art UK, a charity with a highly laudable aim: to catalogue, photograph and display the many and diverse artworks held in public collections throughout the UK, from regional institutions to Oxbridge colleges. For the London Art Fair, Art UK has asked five contemporary artists – Mat Collishaw, Sonia Boyce, Rose Wylie, Haroon Mirza and Oscar Murillo – to curate a selection of artworks from the charity’s website. The pieces are brought together in real life, offering a platform for a dialogue between disparate artists that throws up some surprising insights.
Rose Wylie, for example, whose solo show is currently on at the Serpentine Sackler, has curated a selection of works that both speak to her own practice and are interrogative in their own right. A painting by recent Turner Prize-winner Lubaina Himid hangs alongside works by less well-known artists, picking out a compelling narrative about art in a naive style and the influence of popular culture.
Elsewhere, the fair takes on a tone that is – to say the least – varied. In the central booths, there are high quality works on offer by mid-century greats such as Ivon Hitchins, Graham Sutherland and Lynn Chadwick. There are also some notable pieces by contemporary artists, especially photographers. The booth by Purdy Hicks Gallery is a particularly elegant highlight.
Make time for the Dialogues section, where galleries are showing less conventional works, including a series of collaborations by women artists. In the peripheral sections, the quality of the pieces sometimes falters – there are the inevitable city skylines and fake pop art canvases. Nevertheless, there are some interesting gems to discover throughout.
Photos: Mark Cocksedge
London Art Fair is on from 17th until 21st January 2018. For further information or to book visit the fair’s website here.