Art: Bigger Is Better at Frieze Art Fair 2013

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Feeling a distinct buzz in the air? It can only be one thing: Frieze Art Fair has taken London by storm this year. After months of anticipation, our premier art event returned with more space yet less exhibitors, a stroke of genius by the organisers that produced an expansive creative environment better than ever for showcasing the artistic talent making waves right now.

With the international art world’s finest arriving in a feast of haute couture, Regent’s Park played the perfect host. Armed with a glass of Pommery, I attended the exclusive Private Viewing on Wednesday evening to report for The Sloaney.

Here is a lowdown of my top three hot emerging contemporary art trends on view at the fair…

A selection of my favourite pieces at this year's Frieze Art Fair

A selection of my favourite pieces at this year’s Frieze Art Fair


After last year’s reflective, introspective fair largely consisting of small works, exhibitors hit back with a bang. At Frieze 2013, bigger is better, from larger-than-life sculptures to the brightest of bold colours and canvases as tall as the walls they hang on. Amongst these monumental pieces, I took an instant liking to a tower of drums so high it touched the ceiling of the marquee. Thankfully, ‘Muffled Drums’ by Terry Adkins at Salon 94, which looks like it would take a small army to set up, has been acquired by the Tate Collection for our future enjoyment.

Elsewhere, the masterful Andreas Gursky proved why photography earns a place in this larger-than-life world. The magnitude of his print at Spruth-Magers’ booth distorts the eye’s understanding of the quasi-abstract shot depicting light reflecting on dark waters; as if by magic, it looks almost painted.


Appropriating the old to make something completely new is a theme that fits well with a bigger, brighter, bolder Frieze. Repurposed materials featured frequently in this year’s fair, with a particularly strong showing in this category for female artists. I loved two monochrome pieces, one in blue exploring the boundaries of painting and sculpture through texture by French artist Isabelle Cornaro at Francesca Pia Gallery, and another in mauve entitled ‘Stiletto’ by Nevin Aladag at Rampa Istanbul, using our favourite heel to indent the canvas as if it were embossed.


As you might expect for an in-your-face event, a touch of bling goes a long way with sparkles and shine never far around the corner. In this field of work however, the smaller and more thoughtful pieces were those that struck me most. You would be forgiven for missing Alicja Kwade’s impossibly bent mirror curving down the wall onto the floor – a delightful discovery that in an otherwise fixed, boxy environment of square booths, succeeds in playing with visual perception in a subtly fun, clever way. Similarly, Egyptian-born artist Ghada Amer, currently based in New York, had a beautiful gold egg sculpture of intricate interwoven metallic strands on view at Kukje Gallery.

Big and bold without falling into the cliche of flashiness? Well done Frieze on a superb event for creative expression in the capital.