(An)Other Art Fair or How much does a lightbulb cost?
09 may 2014 by Charlotte Meddings
art:i:curate's contributor Charlotte Meddings, an independent curator based in London, visited the Other Art Fair and gives out her highlights of the fair's latest edition.
The descent into Ambika3 ticks all the right boxes, a girl in quirky glasses and uniform enquires if we are curious people as she ushers us down the stairs.
More uniform girls hand out goodie bags, and wish us an enjoyable evening, turning the corner we hear muffled beats fight to burst out of a black entrance. We feel quite excited, like we are about to enter a secret art club!
On the other side of the door however… The scent of painfully cool bearded boys wofts in the hot air, the beats are monotonous,and the bar is not free… £6.50 for a jam jar of gin, really? But despite that we are here for the art, if only we could see it, if it wasn’t for the appalling lighting.
But something catches my eye, in fact (only) ten beautiful works catch my eye and here they are in alphabetical order.
1. Bob Aldous
His works vary in medium but the sentiment is always the same, life, love and loss. Blurring boundaries between image and narrative, Bob creates delicate canvases, tiny abstract works on metal painted with acid and poetry panels. He describes his small works like painting with light which is a wonderful image.
2. Dolores de Sade
Dolores de Sade presents etchings. In her own words ‘my work is primarily focused on the landscape, but concerned with memory, nostalgia, myth and narrative.’ The one piece 'Mr.L and I are both drawn to' is a work that on first inspection depicts a canyon, with a figure at the bottom… look closer and you will see this figure is in the act of photographing another figure who is plummeting to his death. Its the kind of piece you could stare at for hours while different narratives play and replay in your mind.
3. Fleur Deakin
Where to start with Fleur. I want to jump into her paintings and swim amongst the colours and textures. vibrant paint, paper, glitter and more are built up in layers and coated in resin, giving the works a delicious wetlook finish. For Mr. L the work reminded him of his home land, Paris and the gelatin topped opera desserts served in the romantic little cafes. What I loved most was Fleurs description of how she works on three paintings at anytime, pulling parts off one to add to another, and the left over mixing pads are then made into tiny versions of the large scale work, meaning all the work feeds into each other and the small pieces are like their offspring!
4. Joanna Ham
Joanna Ham creates slick monochrome photogram screen prints of retro fashion conscious women. One looks like my sister, and stirs happy memories of playing dress up.
5. Karen Thomas
Karen Thomas is a british painter now residing in France taking inspirations from her surroundings. Her recent body of works are lucid, expressive portraits of well known characters like Wonderwoman or Dorothy Malone, where the colours drip into each other and figures appear to melt in front of you.
6. Lene Bladbjerg
Lene Bladbjerg pulls us in with witty slogan screen prints that read ‘It time to face the music’ printed over sheet music, and life size butterflies in individual frames, lined up like soldiers ready for inspection, but these are not ordinary butterflies, their wings are not soft and fragile, these are razor sharp trapezoid blades, carefully hand painted to resemble our favorite flutterbys.
7. Lorena Garcia Mateu
Lorena Garcia Mateu explores identity, hidden secrets of the cosmos and the human. Her painterly portraits show sitters melding with organic semi abstract forms, hiding their identity or exposing their true colours.
8. Olivier Leger
What this artist can produce with a pencil is nothing short of mesmerising. His fantasy worlds and the animals that inhabit them speak of bizarre ecosystems, Rhino Beetles whose backs bubble into a spring meadow. This really is the work of worlds only to be found in your dreams.
9. Ricki Nerreter
Ricki Nerreter is bright, bold, playful and funny… and her work is a mirror image of her. Taking her old childhood toys she breathes new life into them by casting them as the leading actors in her installations. Each piece visually documents moments in her life, so personal are these tales she almost relives the moments as she discusses her work. Think acidic colours, bell jars full of characters, Susie Kreitzman. Wonderful.
10. Thomas Dowdeswell
Thomas Dowdeswell’s meticulously executed paintings play tricks on the eye, colours flicker and perspective gets sucked in and pushed out. A classically trained painter living in the digital age he creates fictional cityscapes as a platform to discuss current, social, economical and political issues.
And so there you have it, my top ten of The Other Art Fair, the OAF… and I didn’t even mention Emin or the Taxidermy… Lets hope they invest more in lighting and aircon than novelty bars next year.
Dolores De Sade, Not without undue prolixity
All images courtesy of Charlotte Meddings. Photo credits Nicolas Laborie