Richard Phillips, Sasha II / 2012 / oil on canvas / 2013.4×382 cm
Last week Frieze, London’s famed art fair rose in two colossal white tents emerging out of the pristine landscape of Regents Park at either end of the central London park. Frieze Art Fair was placed at the south end of the regal park and Frieze Masters was situated at the top closer to the exclusive Primrose Hill where it returned to London for its 11th year. The world’s leading galleries all congregated together to exhibit their most important and relevant work from over thirty country’s. The pure size of each fair alone and the constant stream of visitors attempting to take photos on their iPhones of the contrasting art all crammed into the commercial setting of a monumentally big marquee created an unusual set up to view art. Completely different to visiting a gallery where the objective is purely to observe and appreciate artwork; Freize presents the visitor with the artwork as consumable goods. This instantly puts the visitor into a position where the value of the artwork and its current cultural value becomes overtly prominent. However, as the fair can be attended by the public understanding the reasons for each visitor becomes more complex as a trip to the fair is as recreational as it is to do with the business and economy of the art world.
However discouraging the structure that exists in the fair is, the very breadth and diversity of work to view is wonderfully eclectic, especially when visiting both fairs where the ultra contemporary can be viewed next to the medieval in the same setting. Besides from purely looking at each individual piece of art it was interesting to understand each galleries identity and how all of these galleries existed beside one another in what is essential the setting of a trade show. Perhaps in addition to the monetary value of the art and the galleries all becoming estranged neighbours the very layout and construction of the event was really quite overwhelming. The very fact that all of these paintings, photographs and sculptures had been shipped from quite literally all over the world is a fascinating concept. Each piece had made their own individual journey to arrive in London to be on show one short week for the hope of being sold.
Below we have chosen a selection of our favourite pieces shown at both Frieze Art Fair and Frieze Masters in correspondence to Sang Bleu’s tastes and ideals.
Marina Abramovic, The communicator / 2012 / wax, crystal quartz stones, glass pedestal, 25x10x3 cm
Guo Gendyi, avalokiteshvara (right) / 2002 / colored ink on rice paper / 68.2x189cm
Wolfgang Tillmanns, torso / 2013 / unframed ink jet print / 200×135 cm
Antonello Da Saliba, 1466-1535, Madonna and Child / Panel / 55.6×44.2 cm
Alex Katz, two building / 2002 / Oil on linen / 304.8×234.8 cm
Terry Adkins, apple pickers / 2002 / wood, glass / 205.7×30.5×30.5cm
TOMASSO BROTHERS FINE ART / London Leeds
Pierre Huyghe, untitled (mini floating & non floating rock) / 2013 / aquarium, salt water, volcanic rocks, dark grey sand, arrow crabs / 54x68x48 cm (aquarium) / 75x74x74 cm
Unknown tuscan painter active in Rome, 1615 – 1620 / The abduction of Ganymede / oil on canvas / 150.5×214 cm
all photos by Maxime
Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi, literally ‘golden joinery’ or ‘golden repair’, is the Japanese art of ceramic renovation using golden lacquer; applied to the edges of the broken pieces, binding them together, the aesthetic philosophy focuses on imperfections rather than attempting to disguise them, with the intention that the piece becomes both more valuable and more beautiful because of its history.
A recent piece for Dazed & Confused by artist and BYOB contributor Amalia Ulman alludes to the tradition with its use on a ‘replaceable’ ashtray, here repaired with golden glitter, placing on it a new worth by ‘[shifting] the value of a superfluous object by treating it as essential.’
The custom is said to have come about when Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, having sent a piece of ceramic away to be repaired, was unhappy with the way in which it has been done using the standard method of metallic staples. This launched Japanese craftsmen on a quest for a new form of repair that could make a broken piece look not just as good as new, but better.
The practice continues, though, with a symbolic note in mind: one of resilience, of damage as an opportunity for personal transformation and reinvention. For instance, on a small level, a parallel lies in the replacing of lost teeth, like those of Polymath Genesis P-Orridge after one too many clashes with the microphone, with gold crowns, trading them in for those that will endure. The concept of replacing that which is despoiled and degraded, either in physicality or perception, with something of value is a concept at the core of modification.
Amalia Ulman – Ashes & Pieces
Hans Feurer – Untitled
Adam Martinakis – Golden Boy
Black / Gold Kintsugi
A specter at the Geneva International Airport, or the COMPLICATED process of making our bodies and our desire our own.
Kokoro: The Art of Horiyoshi III
Courtyard Rooms, South Wing, Somerset House, London
Horiyoshi III, the internationally renowned tattoo artist currently has his first exhibition in London at the esteemed Somerset House.
Horiyoshi belongs to a royal line of horishi tattoo artists: those specialising in the traditional full-body tattoo called Irezumi. This exhibition studies his paintings on silk as well as displaying tattoo instruments and paint brushes.
Kokoro means ‘heart‘ and ‘feeling‘ in Japanese and through the paintings exhibited Horiyoshi III preserves traditional Japanese culture and mythology through incredibly beautiful silk paintings. Each painting shows typical Japanese images such as dragons, koi’s and white phoenix’s, but each one is depicted is varying sensitivity, intricacy and harshness depending on the story told. The diverse nature of each painting gives the exhibition an eclectic feel considering that most of the paintings are all the same size and repetitively placed beside one another. The varying brush strokes and colours used also add to this fantastic effect.
Having “vowed to never be lazy until the day I die”, he still tattoos six days a week after thirty years of practice. You can see a video of Horiyoshi III at work here which The Guardian recently made.
After meeting Ed Hardy (the exhibition opens with a quote from Hardy about Horiyoshi’s pioneering impact on tattoo culture and history) and becoming close friends, Horiyoshi started to use the electric needle alongside using traditional techniques and pioneered a new form of Japanese tattooing.
The exhibition is free and runs from now until until the 1st of June, it is open every day from 10.00-18.00. More information can be found here
In a conference given in 1966, Michel Foucault conceptualized the human body as the point zéro du monde, literally the starting point of the world. Quintessentially, from its lines or through its depth, a body lays out the universe and determines, even politically, one’s connection to his environment.
Although physical, as any frontier it is an agent of inclusion or banishment. Ultimately, a ravaged body sentences its owner to a form of social exile.
My friend Antoine Catala told me about a museum in Paris that somehow classified some of these exiles. It collects casts of skin diseases.
Located within the walls of the Hospital Saint-Louis, the Musée des maladies de peaux owns 4807 pieces predominantly manufactured by Jules Baretta between 1884 and 1913.
Michel Foucault, Le corps utopique, Radio feature: France Culture, 1966
French, no subtitles (sorry).