A magic mushroom and a giant off-measure dice lead off the dance of the twelfth edition of Frieze London 2014.
This is the stand of Gagosian Gallery, used as a backdrop for one of the experiments of Carsten Höller: the intent declared by the artist in the title of the installation is to offer a playground for children, instead, the real purpose is to create a sort of behavioral lab for visitors.
The itinerary between the galleries confirms the increasingly clear direction that the exhibition is taking towards the consecration of already established artists in the cultural industry; essentially a result announced by the disappearance of the Frame section, who until last year presented solo exhibitions of young artists, by emerging galleries. The choice has been only partly offset by the confirmation of the Focus section dedicated to galleries opened for less than 10 years and the addition of the sector Live, where six galleries have proposed performances that, unfortunately, are forgettable.
Frieze has offered a comprehensive view of all the current trends, from figurative painting to minimal art, from the poetics of irony and divertissement, to a renewed interest in political issues (in clear minority).
There have been proposals of spectacular booths: recalling virtually the entire menagerie of the artists of the gallery, the artist and curator Mark Wallinger has interpreted the stand of Hauser & Wirth as a boudoir for a Freudian obsessive collector, while Rosa Barba has created for the Gio Marconi Gallery a film strip sculpture and choreographic machine punctuated by not synchronized mechanical movements and modular sequences.
Cultural fashion aside, Frieze confirms its role as a formidable commercial operation. Among the most important sales the White Cube Because I Can not Have You I Want You (otherwise known as “fish in formaldehyde”) by Damien Hirst sold for 4 million pounds, a result that was also achieved by the installation of microphones by David Hammon; also Sprüth Magers Gallery sold-out with Andreas Gursky and George Condo, whose works are listed for half a million pounds. Among sales in just four zeros, there were sculptures by Darren Baren, £ 10,000, and works by Cory Arcangel, £ 60,000 (data from Artnet and New York Times).
The fair does not publish official sales data; the pulse of the situation , however, is given by the sales of contemporary art auction houses in London for 4.9 billion euro, which records a significant increase from 593 million euro in 2003 (data from European Fine Art Foundation).
We will see if FIAC art fair in Paris which opens next Wednesday October 22, 2014 will have the upper hand.
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