The inaugural Art13 London, held in the Olympia Grand Hall, which opened last night and runs from 1–3 March 2013, fills a gap that London has lacked for a number of years. It is a well organised operation bringing together over 130 exhibitors of merit, with very little to drag it down. This is a fair which champions the emerging and accomplishes much of what the Frieze Art fair has lacked, in past few years. In fact it has achieved a careful balance of innovation along with the familiar, an amalgam which has not been realised in the past.
Frieze has been a dominant force on the London fair scene for the past 10 years and perhaps it has lost sight of what it set out to originally achieve. Many new galleries have opened in the last few years and Frieze has not expanded to accommodate these new emerging establishments. Art13 is now firmly placed to take on this role in the global art calendar, by exhibiting new and emerging galleries from around the world, in a well laid out and pleasant atmosphere. In many ways Frieze is a victim of its own success and many new, emerging galleries have been excluded – denied a venue for their promotion. Now Art13 is here to fill that void.
One of the highlights of the fair is a major installation by the Chinese abstract artist: Zhu Jinshi, who participated in the first ever show of contemporary art in China in 1979. He worked in Germany in the late 80s alongside artists such as Joseph Beuys, and debated Abstract Expressionism with Robert Rauschenberg; His monumental 12-metre installation composed of bamboo, cotton and 8,000 sheets of xuan (rice) paper is a centrepiece attraction at the fair. The work of this renowned artist attempts to reconcile traditions and illustrate that Chinese abstraction has been a major, undiscovered force in contemporary art.
Other interesting work was found at the October Gallery with Ed Anatsui’s spectacular Klimt like “In The World But Don’t Know the World,” a large scaled relief consisting of aluminium and copper wire. Riflemaker with work by Penelope Slinger and Leah Gordon and Lazerides deconstructed living room was also a high point.
Main Photo: Zhu Jinshi 2013 © PC Robinson ArtLyst 2013
Photo2: Ed Anatsui “In The World But Don’t Know the World” 2012 © PC Robinson ArtLyst 2013
The fair continues through the weekend.