Frieze Masters once again seems to be a more satisfying and rewarding experience than Frieze. Nothing was more captivating than seeing the Paula Rego paintings from the 1980s presented by Marlborough Fine Art at Frieze Masters, which more than stood their test of time.
Frieze 2016 had a special Nineties section, which seemed obviously downscaled and a reduced coverage of such an epic recent transitional period of art. It was interesting to see the range of galleries working in ‘collaboration’ and to see the progress of the artist’s careers since.
On a whole the fair had a very colourful vibrancy and was much glossier than before. There was more cohesion from one fair stand to the next, as it all seemed to gel very well together, which maybe seemed like a constant flow, rather than awkward statements jumping off the walls. With the exception of the crowd pleasing Hauser and Wirth’s Atelier d'artiste, which was so complex that I even found it impenetrable and just gazed my eyes over like staring into a fishbowl.
Painting dominated the fair, with an expected plethora of gestural and naive large-scale works. Where tiny paintings are the other end of the scale, Chantal Joffes’ at Victoria Miro, I’m sure are snapped up on the opening preview.
Of course, Frieze wouldn't be Frieze without Whitecube showing a formaldehyde animal in a tank?
Neomaterialism seems to be at least a buzz hashtag, and following in the history of art paralleled with development of plastics, materials and processes, It was Berta Fischer’s Folded Acrylic pieces which resonated with me most, and I think prove to be an exemplar of the fair as a whole.
It’s hard to give a solid review from one visit as most of the galleries change their stands daily, so each visit will be a unique one, and dependant on the success of sales the day before. Arriving on the day after the opening, when the hangovers were probably wearing off, like the smiles of the gallerists faces, it did feel like the party was still in full swing.
My personal highlights include: