Frieze week 2014 Ben Austin’s Diary Two Great Satellite Events

Ok, so it’s a wet and miserable Monday night, but that will not deter the art crowd, especially when it is the start of Frieze week.

So braving the elements, I head out to ‘We could not agree’ a pop up show occupying the whole level of an underground car park on Cavendish Sq. So, down the sodden steps into a humid subterranean world.

The show attended by mostly hipsters, artists and art world groupie, was in a word completely bonkers. Over a 100 artists and 10 curators with each artwork/installation taking up parking spaces.

Here and there was some interesting work and in the main it was pretty raw and ready. Sculptural installations of empty drum sets and smashed up cars, gave the impression of a wild party that had just finished and all that was left was the carnage.  Everything messed up or discarded, found objects and the plainly bizarre. There was a life size representational male nude that looked as if it has been transplanted straight from a horror movie.

In a daze, I didn’t register the artist’s names, but I liked a set of three wooden sculptures, grotesque and odd. Throughout the car park was intersecting lines of masking tape, which ended up in a web with a stepladder as the focal point. Where a group of Chinese art fans had gathered there, caught no doubt in the intriguing mesh.

Two of the exhibiting artists I know personally so I must give them a special mention – Michal Cole and Toni Gallagher, the former presenting wrapped bricks as sweets, which made for an impressive and oddly enticing installation. Toni was showing a deflated vinyl Boxing ring, likewise playing upon the contrasts between the soft and hard. Both artists happen to be quite fabulous and dedicated to their practice, so it was a pleasure seeing them there.

Up and away, over to Bloomsbury for the opening of Saatchi New Sensation and The Future Can Wait, which is actually a platform for Charlie Smith Gallery.

I always enjoy this show, the New Sensation side was packed it was difficult to see the work, there was good gestural paining by a Chinese artist and some bold abstractions again engaged in conversations and distracted by the well stocked bar (coffee Martinis with added sprinkles, yum) made registering artist names difficult. In the cleaner and more refined The Future Can Wait section, were some familiar artists, in particular Dolly Thompsett whose work I adore, Steve Allen and John Stark (an incredible painter). On one wall was a collection of smaller work and I was taken by Sam Jackson and Jonny Green’s work.

All in all, a well curated and engaging show, one felt that this was the real deal and authentic art experience and though work was on sale, it felt far removed from the art fair booth experience.

Talking of which, I going to Frieze tomorrow as I missed the opportunity for press accreditation today, which is a bit of a pity. Tonight I’m going to see the Gerhard Richter show at the new London outpost of the New York powerhouse gallery – Marian Goodman. The Richter show at the Fondation Beyeler during Basel was fantastic, so I’m a fan of the big hitting priced German artist.

More to follow…

Related Posts

Rainsongs, the new book by Sue Hubbard, out now
Claudio Crismani in concert - 25 January 2018, 6:30pm / St Stephen Walbrook
Open Source Salon with Hauser and Wirth - A new monthly discussion group
Advertise your next show on Artlyst from £200 per week