“Seeing the life around, clearly and vividly, as something that is exciting in its own right, is an innate gift, varying in intensity with the individual’s temperament and environment.” Bill Brandt, photographer.
This October, we visited Frieze Masters – the historically-focused counterpart of Frieze London. Giving us an inimitable insight into the relationship between old and contemporary art, the Regent’s Park-based art fair combined pre and postmillenial works by artists from all over the world.
And this diversity is exactly what made the fair undeniably special. From Monet, Bacon and Rembrandt to Schiele, Picasso and Warhol, most of the art world’s ‘greats’ were exhibited. But, it was the mix of renowned and lesser known artists, and the jumbled yet curated eras and styles shown side-by-side that kept things sinteresting. Directed by Victoria Siddall, there were 127 galleries participating this year.
Many were there to buy; some (like me) were there just to cast an eye. And, with so much to see, it’s hard to know where to start. I made my way around the venue methodically, making note of each display with abundant enthusiasm. But it was the impressive collection of photography that overwhelmed me right from the start.
From Bill Brandt’s distorted nudes and Stephen Shore’s (then-innovative) use of colour film to capture America’s everyday, to Sherrie Levine’s playful use of negatives and Jo Spence’s photographic evidence of her suffering body, photography played a key and favourite part in this year’s Frieze Masters.
There were tour guides available for those craving more coordinated journeys, but there were also brilliant experts in each ‘salon’ to answer burning questions. Gail’s coffee provided the ultimate pick-me-up and the publications area flaunted a vast collection of specialist magazines for anyone with an interest.
If you didn’t experience them this time, 2015’s Frieze Masters and Frieze London will be waiting. Until next year.
Images from Frieze Masters & Frieze London: