What To See And Buy At Art 15 London Art Fair

Art15 kicked off in London last night and here are our top picks from the fair.

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Gerald Mas, Lady of Bubblegum, 2015Photo: Courtesy of 3 Punts
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Gerald Mas, Lady of Bubblegum, 2015Photo: Courtesy of 3 Punts
Gerald Mas, Lady of Bubblegum (2015)
Photo: Courtesy of 3 Punts
El Anatsui Timespace (2014)Photo: courtesy The October Gallery
El Anatsui Timespace (2014)
Photo: courtesy The October Gallery.
Sama Alshaibi at Ayyam Gallery Photo: courtesy Ayyam
Sama Alshaibi at Ayyam Gallery
Photo: courtesy Ayyam
Su Dong Ping at Pearl LamPhoto: artnet News
Su Dong Ping at Pearl Lam Galleries
Photo: artnet News
Kate MccGwire at Coats & ScarryPhoto: artnet News
Kate MccGwire at Coats & Scarry
Photo: artnet News
James KudoUnitledPhoto: courtesy of Zipper Gallery
James KudoUnitled
Photo: courtesy of Zipper Gallery
AgustinoBonalumi at Cortesi GalleryPhoto: artnet News
Agustino Bonalumi at Cortesi Gallery
Photo: artnet News
Dillon Gallery at Art15Photo: artnet News
Dillon Gallery at Art15
Photo: artnet News
Tomohiro Kato at Tezukayama Gallery Photo: artnet News
Tomohiro Kato at Tezukayama Gallery
Photo: artnet News
BRENNA MURPHY Embedded Scape (2014)Photo: Upfor Gallery
Brenna Murphy Embedded Scape (2014)
Photo: Upfor Gallery

It is busy art week in London and Art15 kicked off with a packed VIP preview last night. Collectors were in attendance including Patrizia Sandretto of Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin; Bianca Jagger was turning heads; and rubber clad art-and-fashion party regular Pandemonia was checking out what the fair had to offer.

Art15, now in it’s third year (see Spotlight on Art13 London and Art14, London’s Latest Fair, Sheds Light on Another Art Market) brings together galleries from 40 countries and the feel of the fair is very international.

There was a lot of digital and interactive art including a wall of butterflies that flew away when you touched them, and a plant that grew into a flower when viewers stood in front of it, but disappeared when they got bored and walked away.

Here are ten of the most interesting things at Art15 that dealers are showing at the fair:

1. Sulger-Buel-Lovell Gallery

This gallery hails from Cape Town and dedicated the entire booth to one immense work, Homing by Jenna Burchell. The structure is a “memory harp” that consists of many copper wires. Run your hands up and down the surface and it will play sounds from daily life.

The work seeks to explore how intimacy can be evoked by sound, and will expand as the piece travels with the artist while she adds sections with sounds from each city they visit. As it stands, the work includes 168 strings in sets of 7, making 24 string sets with heights varying from 250-900 cm.

2. Cortesi Gallery

Fresh to London–they literally opened last week–this Lugano based gallery was showing a mix of contemporary work including Joesf Albers, Agostino Bonalumi, Marc Quinn, and Alighiero Boetti.

There was definitely a buzz in the Cortesi Booth, and as the fair’s preview closed last night they reported interest surrounding a Boetti embroidery piece, Douglas Gordon‘s Selfpotrait of you + me (Double Elvis), and a green Lucio Fontana Concetto Spaziale.

3. Pearl Lam Galleries

Pearl Lam had a hotspot right at the entrance to the fair and you couldn’t miss the stand, partly for the line of large Su Xiaobai works which flanked the exterior wall and partly due to the fact that it was pretty much full for the entire fair.

The intricate beehives by Ren Ri drew a lot of attention. Made entirely from beeswax they represent human interactions with nature, displayed both as though on canvas and also as sculpture.

4. October Gallery

The October Gallery has had a presence in London for over 35 years and have always focused on the international and the contemporary. This was reflected in their choices for the booth with work from Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga, Romuald Hazoume, and Wang Huangsheng.

West African artist El Anatsui covered an entire wall of their booth with an enormous metal work. The other section was watched over by an intricate figure, part religious icon, part bird, by Adejoke Tugbiyele.

5. Upfor Gallery

This solo booth was a first time for the US-based Upfor Gallery. As part of the fair, “London First” is a section purely for galleries that have never exhibited at a London fair before.

The gallery’s focus is on contemporary and new-media art, and they presented works by Portland-based artist Brenna Murphy, who works with the latest technologies such as editing software and 3-D printing. With media ranging from prints to large textiles and 3-D printed artworks with pigment, Murphy combines the man-made and the organic creating a kind of visual amalgam.

6. Zipper Galeria

The Brazilian gallery was showing work by James Kudo whose calm abstract paintings stood out in the main entrance hall of the fair. The story goes that the artist was part of a town in Brazil, which was inhabited only by Japanese people; the town was disbanded by the powers that be in Brazil and submerged in water, a fate which inspires his work.

Kudo’s work, with its compositions of bright, clear colors and juxtaposing patterns and surfaces, subsequently draws both from nature and the industrial.

7. 3 Punts Galerie

Spanish gallery 3 Punts’ booth, situated on the top floor of the fair, was a lively sight with a mix of hyper-real and ceramic sculpture.

Founded in 1999, the gallery, with spaces in Barcelona and Berlin, caught visitors’ attention with a series of huge faces grimacing at people as they went past, with Lady of Bubblegum by Gerald Mas standing out the most.

8. Coates & Scarry

I first saw Kate MccGwire’s work at Cob Gallery in North London,  a huge site-specific sculpture made of feathers, which was almost freakish in its size. Both animal and inanimate at the same time, I didn’t know whether to run and hide or jump right into it.

It was great to see her work again here at the Bristol-based Coates & Carry booth.

9. Dillon Gallery

The New York gallery packed a lot into their booth including work from UBS Art Award winner, Masatake Kozaki, and the Swedish design duo-turned fine artists, Humans Since 1982.

With work from Japan, London, and Sweden the Dillon Gallery booth was diverse with a lot to offer

10. Tezukayama Gallery

Tomohiro Kato created a Japanese tearoom entirely from metal for the fair. The concept was born out of a desire to be rooted in the traditional, following the huge earthquake in Japan in 2011.

The work was interactive and willing participants crawled through the small entrance into the tearoom to be prepared a cup of traditional Japanese matcha. Inside the tearoom were traditional Japanese paintings and ornaments, all reproduced in metal, to great detail.

Inflatable celebrity Pandemonia was spotted contemplating a bowl of matcha but abandoned the idea fearing her head-to-toe rubber outfit may have been pierced causing relative scandal.

Art15 is open from May 21-23 at Olympia Exhibition Halls, London


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