Put simply, Frieze London is the British capital’s most illustrious art party. Each autumn, the incredible four-day event unites the world’s most prestigious galleries to showcase the works of more than 1,000 emerging and established artists. Collectors, curators, dealers, buyers and browsers all descend to peruse and purchase art by everyone from established heavyweights to the rising stars of the international scene. Alongside this ‘who’s who’ of the art world, there are immersive talks, live performances and an excellent range of menus from some of the capital’s à la mode eateries to get stuck into. Here, we shine a spotlight on what to look out for at Frieze London 2019, from 3rd to 6th October.
The southern lawns of London’s Regent’s Park are the scenic setting for Frieze London, which erects a vast pop-up gallery that commandeers the green space for the duration. Flanking it, Regent’s Park English Gardens transform into London’s largest free, open-air art exhibition, Frieze Sculpture. To the north, next to London Zoo, its sister festival, Frieze Masters, takes place concurrently.
Within the immense temporary exhibition space, leading galleries from all over the world showcase paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations from their most celebrated and talented artists. Among the endless booths, look out for big players such as Gagosian, Pace Gallery, Sprüth Magers and Hauser & Wirth, who represent the hottest names in the art industry – Damien Hirst, Yoshitomo Nara, Cindy Sherman and Martin Creed, respectively.
This year, Frieze expands its global portfolio by welcoming galleries from South East Asia and Latin America. These include Seoul’s trailblazing Gallery Baton, which counts Korean favourite Bae Yoon Hwan among its represented artists, and Galeria Nara Roesler introducing São Paulo’s edgy art scene.
Every year, the show sets up a dedicated themed section; at Frieze London 2019, it’s entitled Woven. Discover the work of eight artists from across the world whose medium of choice is textiles. The result is a phantasmagory of avant-garde fabric sculptures and reams of bright, traditional weaves influenced by indigenous cultures around the world.
For those seeking to invest in the Tracey Emin of the future, or discover the next Yayoi Kusama, a visit to Frieze Focus is a must. Here is a white-hot showcase of fresh, of-the-moment works from emerging young galleries. On show this year are controversial figurative sculptures by Los Angeles-based artist Karon Davis and Californian painter Gary Lang’s psychedelic bull’s eyes. There’s also a highly anticipated solo installation from Qatari-American artist, filmmaker and writer Sophia Al-Maria.
This year celebrates the centenary of the Bauhaus movement, and the pioneering art school’s stark aesthetic informs this year’s round of Frieze Talks. Co-programmed by Lydia Yee, the Whitechapel Gallery’s Chief Curator, and Matthew McLean, Senior Editor at Frieze Studios, the discussions focus a sharp lens on art’s relationship with the wider social world.
Experimental ballet, urban dance, innovative choreography: LIVE at Frieze London’s radical series of performances put art in spectacular motion. This year, the dances and performances, curated by Southeast Asia-based Diana Campbell Betancourt, take on a political mantle, exploring of-the-moment themes of social unrest. “Artists from Argentina to Cambodia will reveal narratives of control present in architecture, language, colonialism, and protest illuminated through movement,” explains Campbell Betancourt.
Among the performers are Argentinian dancer Cecilia Bengolea, German ballet dancer and choreographer William Forsythe, and Bangladeshi performance artist Yasmin Jahan Nupur, whose hypnotic rope and string choreography effectively evokes the struggles of migrants.
Open throughout summer until Frieze London 2019 closes on 6th October, Frieze Sculpture transforms Regent’s Park English Gardens into a sprawling open-air gallery. Wind your way through the Royal Park’s leafy boughs and you’ll happen upon some 20 works by the world’s most respected artists. Set amid the greenery is Zak Ové’s colourful giant head, Autonomous Morris, which is made from car doors, bonnets and chassis, while a sinuous bronze figure by Tracy Emin reclines on the grass. Keep an eye out Tom Sachs’ immense take on cute Sanrio rabbit My Melody adding a touch of the surreal.
The classic Yin to Frieze London’s contemporary Yang, Frieze Masters is a dazzling showcase of art from the ancient world right up to the end of the 20th century. For those seeking art of a more traditional persuasion, Frieze Masters certainly impresses with its world-class collections from over 130 historical galleries. Explore, discover and acquire anything from ceremonial Thracian masks to an original Rembrandt or Dalí. Some of these pieces are, quite literally, priceless. Nevertheless, Frieze Masters is an incredible consolidation of iconic works that has all the makings of a pop-up museum.
All that art gazing is thirsty work. Duck into Frieze London 2019’s many pop-ups for a refreshment while you take stock. Take your pick from representatives of London’s coolest cafés, bars and restaurants. Stylish brasserie Frenchie serves a taste of Paris, with a menu stacked with terrines and tarte tatins. Dine on sumptuous Italian flavours at Petersham Nurseries, or fill up on delicious Spanish tapas at Moro. Lighter bites and a glass of good red can be found at Bodega Rita’s, while Ahi Poké serves ingenious healthy Hawaiian. If it’s just a drink you’re after, Gimlet Bar mixes a spectacular gin cocktail.
Frieze London and Frieze Masters are the most coveted tickets in town so it’s best to book yours well in advance. You can purchase individual day tickets for each event or combined tickets for both Frieze London 2019 and Frieze Masters. The exhibitions are open: Thursday 3rd October, 5pm-8pm; Friday 4th – Saturday 5th October, 12pm-7pm; and Sunday 6th October, 12pm-6pm.