Entry 4: The Return of Frieze

So, what happened last month? Well, the return of Frieze!

2020 was a dreadful year for the art world – COVID brought everything to a massive standstill. Galleries were shut, auction houses were closed, and no studio visits were allowed. If I travelled back in time and told undergraduate me about the year that was 2020, I would be floored. No private viewings?! No studio visits?! I mean, did the world enter the end times? I would be in a state of disbelief, especially if you told me in October 2019.

October 2019 holds a special place in my heart, it was my birthday during that month, and it was the first time I went to Frieze. It was an exciting experience, but I’ll be honest, it was overwhelming too; I arrived late and had a limited time to digest the art. So I felt like a kid in a candy shop – a massive candy shop. So with my lesson learnt, I saw 2020 as my year at Frieze, but that was not meant to be. The Frieze was no exception to COVID’s devastation, and it too was postponed during 2020. But that’s 2020, and it’s 2021, and Frieze is back in Regent’s Park.

Frieze is always a jam-packed week, galleries assemble from all across the world to showcase the hottest names – it’s Christmas for London’s art world.

For someone who is constantly looking for fresh talent across the globe, Frieze London is that perfect place. Now don’t get me wrong, Instagram is a phenomenal app for discovering artists; I’ve encountered an array of gifted individuals. But there’s a difference in seeing the work from a 2D perspective versus a 3D perspective. In person, I can see the fine details; I can appreciate the effort that has gone into the work. You can even call me strange, but I can also appreciate the work’s smell since that can evoke an emotion in me. An image that appears on my phone, or a monitor, or a laptop screen just isn’t enough for me – it doesn’t cut it. On Instagram, I can quite literally and figuratively like a piece of work. However, in person, and this might be cliché, I can fall in love with it because it is right there in front of me. That’s the beauty of going to galleries and events such as the Frieze, you can see the work in person, and also engage with the people who work at the gallery.

In terms of new galleries I encountered, I discovered Night Gallery which is a gallery based in Los Angeles, California. I saw the work of Jesse Mockrin and Danielle Mckinney; I’ve seen Danielle Mckinney’s work before on Instagram, and I love her use of dark colours. Another gallery is Pippy Houldsworth Gallery which is London based, and within their roster, they have Jadé Fadojutimi and Wangari Mathenge. Jadé Fadojutimi is a big name on the scene, and she’s doing incredible things, so to see her work in person was an amazing experience. Kavi Gupta Gallery, based in Chicago, Illinois, was my favourite gallery this year – the talent I saw was insane. Within their roster, they had names such as Esmaa Mohamoud, Tomokazu Matsuyama, Manuel Mathieu and Mary Sibande.

2021 was my second year attending Frieze, and I must say my artistic thirst has been quenched. As we enter this new world where things are changing, and new things such as NFTs are coming through, it begs the question, how will Frieze evolve? I’ll be frank, I don’t have the answer, but what I will say is I will have my face mask with me, and I will be there again in 2022 to see how things unfold.

Photo credit: Featured Image by Linda Nylind (taken 14th October 2021)

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