Six of the best experimental works by emerging artists at Frieze London
Focus is the section of Frieze London dedicated to younger and more marginal galleries. With a more open structure than the main fair, it tends to favor media less present in the most prestigious presentations, such as cinema and video. There is a lot of experimental work among the 35 exhibitors, but the abundance of painting elsewhere in the fair continues here as well. Frieze London Artistic Director Eva Langret’s commitment to bringing new voices to the fair has paid off in this section: 13 of the galleries are new to Frieze, including three in this selection of highlights: Addis Fine Art , Copperfield and Edel Assanti.
Edgar Calel, Proyectos Ultravioleta
Calel’s work, The echo of an ancient form of knowledge (2021), was acquired by Tate Galleries through the annual Frieze Tate Fund – or rather, Tate has become the keeper of the room, as Calel sees these stones, and the fruits that rest in them, as altars and a âSacred site for ritualsâ. Calel, who is Guatemalan, explores the indigenous experience through the beliefs and practices of his Mayan Kaqchikel heritage. What is likely to be viewed by most visitors to Frieze as an installation is in fact an offering to its ancestors. Both in acquiring the Tate and in the very act of exhibiting the piece at the fair, Calel challenges us to consider the complexities of Indigenous cultures and the continuing effects of their destruction.
AndrÃ©a Fourchy, Lomex
In her More girlfriends paintings (all in 2021), Fourchy takes images of notable artists, including Charlotte Gainsbourg, Isabelle Huppert, Divine and Anjelica Huston, and places them in bold, patterned spaces. Fourchy, who is based in New York, was taught by American artist Wayne Thiebaud and his paintings surf the suburbs of Pop while nodding to Sigmar Polke, Henri Matisse and others. The collage feel of the paintings is enhanced by Fourchy’s use of oil paint and enamel, imparting a distinctive texture and shine to areas of the composition, where Fourchy’s protagonists loom or are abstracted almost to the point. ‘to illegibility.
NoÃ©mie Goudal, Edel Assanti
Goudal is interested in paleoclimatology, and his film Under the Great South (2021) and the associated photographs here explore the notion of âdeep timeâ in relation to the climate emergency. They are part of a new multi-faceted project called Atlantica substation. The video, installed on a huge LED screen, takes place over 11 and a half minutes and presents a series of landscape images, shot by Goudal in various places around the world, consumed by fire, layer by layer. Goudal plays with perception, with truth and fiction in the photographic image – as is dramatically revealed in the final moments of the film (no spoilers).
Merikokeb Berhanu, Addis Fine Art
Berhanu’s paintings are difficult to pin down. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia but now based in Maryland, she evokes the breakdown of her emigration to the United States in compositions that evoke figurative presences, still lifes and landscapes but never resolve into a clear and singular. There is a feeling of meeting between the micro and the macro, with cellular forms adjoining those which resemble geological maps. Occasional clear references to bodies and animals – feet, cows and horses – are placed amidst abstract shapes. It is this rich ambiguity, this enigmatic reverie, which makes Berhanu’s work so compelling.
Alberta Whittle, Copperfield
Whittle was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, and now lives between that city and Glasgow. His works explore this personal context through a complex web of references to Caribbean and African history and rituals, with rich allusions to literature and performance. Here, a constellation of bronze casts of Whittle’s tongue maps the stars in reference to the use of the sky by indigenous Caribbean communities in maritime mapping and agricultural practices. A new film takes a signature approach to collage of Atlantic stories, with elements of choreography and Whittle’s soothing voiceover – “Don’t forget to sweeten it,” she advises. Meanwhile, a deceptively colored sculpture hints at the origins of the dance of limbo in slave ships.
Sammy Baloji, Ali Cherri, Imane FarÃ¨s
This stand brings together two artists investigating the history of colonialism and museum collections who are about to show their work in august European institutions: Baloji at the Uffizi in Florence and Cherri as artist in residence at the National Gallery from London. Baloji’s works in bronze and acrylic paint on paper explore the global textile trade in the historic Kongo region, now part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Gabon. They inevitably refer to another historic trade: slavery. The vast totem poles and small figures of Cherri bring together found and manufactured objects to explore the distinctions in the classification between nature and culture, and the underlying social, historical and museological implications.