Good artwork is about “integrity,” “dedication” and a “strong self-belief about what you’re trying to produce,” so photographer, curator and founder of contemporary photographic art magazine Next Level, Sheyi Bankal told us last year. We spoke about the Photo50 section of London Art Fair 2015, which he curated, and now that the fair’s back, his words seem pertinent.
Once again the fair is split into various sections: alongside the main body of the selling fair are the Photo50 section and Art Projects, which show work from younger galleries. As with any art fair, there’s an overwhelming amount to get through, with works from big-guns like Damien Hirst and Grayson Perry next to some rather peculiar renditions of Amy Winehouse. Here’s our mixed bag of of things that caught our eye.
London Art Fair runs from 20 – 24 January at the Business Design Centre in Islington, north London
Jonny Green, The Contemporary London
All gimp outfits and oversized facial features, Jonny Green’s work is sited in the Art Projects section and first drew us in with its glorious ugliness. Our attention was guaranteed once we noticed the captions for the works, which seem to allude in places to songs or albums by everyone’s favourite amphetamine-fuelled art rock band from Manchester, The Fall.
Eileen Cooper, Glasgow Print Studio
Painter and printmaker Eileen Cooper’s work is bright and bold, with expressive nuances in facial features and gestures. It recalls another era with its romantic nods and melodrama, each seeming to suggest that there’s something a little more sinister at play that we might not spot on first glance.
Russell West, Woolff Gallery
The gorgeous drips and bright tones of Russell West’s work challenge you to look away, forming beguiling patterns and accidental clashes of colour. Taking architecture as its skeleton, his works draw on “the chaotic nature of human living conditions that he has witnessed” according to the gallery.
Claire Loder, My Life in Art
Claire’s sweet little ceramic heads are apparently " full of ideas, a union of 21st century anxieties, wordplay, the influence of outsider art and the communication of the interior world." They remind us of Charlotte Mei’s work, and we can’t get enough.
Isabelle Wenzel, Galerie Bart
On show in the Art Projects section of the fair, Isabelle Wenzel’s intriguing work merges photography and performance with focuses on femininity and the body. Subverting both, her carefully staged compositions manage to be hilarious, thought-provoking and beautiful all in one go.
Christo & Jean Claude, Wilson Stephens & Jones
Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude were a married couple who spent their lives together making huge-scale art projects, one of which saw them putting 6.5 million square feet of floating pink woven polypropylene fabric around 11 islands in Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami. The work was created in 1983, and while these islands and their casings sadly haven’t been transported to Islington, they’ve been brought to life through drawings and photographs at the Wilson Stephens & Jones stand at the fair.
About the Author
Emily joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in the summer of 2014 after four years at Design Week. She is particularly interested in graphic design, branding and music. After working It's Nice That as both Online Editor and Deputy Editor, Emily left the company in 2016.