London Art Fair: First UP For The 2020 Art Season

London Art Fair 2020

London Art Fair is the UK’s oldest established Contemporary art fair. It returns from 22-26 January 2020, bringing museum-quality modern and contemporary art to the capital. The Fair unites the best galleries from around the world with seasoned and aspiring collectors looking to acquire exceptional works, from both internationally renowned artists and emerging artists breaking new ground.

This is London’s best fair for British Modern and Contemporary Art full stop – PCR

The London Art Fair also provides expert insight into the contemporary art market through its talks, tours, screening programme and critically-acclaimed curated sections, including Art Projects, Photo50 and Dialogues . London Art Fair continues to champion regional collections through its annual museum partnership, which this year invites Southampton City Art Gallery to showcase their outstanding modern British and contemporary art.

Last year London Art Fair launched Platform , a new section focusing on a single theme or discipline. For 2020 it will capture the breadth of different artists working in textiles and the growing appreciation of the medium as a beautiful and collectible art form.

London Art Fair 2020
London Art Fair 22-26 January 2020

Over 100 galleries from around the world are participating in London Art Fair 2020, with new international exhibitors including Art Blue Studio (Singapore), Art Mûr (Canada) , Cork Printmakers (Ireland), DAM Gallery (Germany), Kevin Kavanagh (Ireland), Gallery KITAI (Japan) and Tamar Dresdner Art Projects (Israel).
London Art Fair’s specialism in Modern British art continues to be strongly represented and received through the participation of some of the UK’s leading galleries in the field.

Castlegate House Gallery are exhibiting a recent oil painting of David Landau by Frank Auerbach, as well as an important unrecorded 1967 portrait by John Bellany. Meanwhile, both Frederick Charles Art and Alan Wheatley Art are exhibiting work by Alan Davie, who had shows in 2019 at the Newport Street Gallery and The Hepworth Wakefield. The Scottish Gallery is presenting a solo exhibition by Pat Douthwaite, a Modernist artist who worked in a variety of mediums including pastel and charcoal drawings and large oil paintings. Her collages were recently included in the major exhibition Cut & Paste at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

New contemporary work on show at the Fair includes previously unseen etchings by Ishbel Myerscough courtesy of Flowers Gallery which look at the human body as an intimate site of natural beauty. Meanwhile, TAG Fine Art will be exhibiting Yanko Tihov’s new Branded World print, representing the different countries of the world using Playmobil characters wearing different passport covers. Sim Smith will be displaying works by artists including David Surman, who will have a solo presentation at the upcoming edition of Arco in Madrid, and Kate Groobey, the first female winner of the Daiwa Foundation Art Prize 2018, whose work explores her feminist observations on the canon of art history. Shtager Gallery will also be exhibiting new contemporary work by Marina Alexeeva, in the form of multimedia ‘liveboxes’ alongside works by Alexander Shishkin-Hokusai who represented Russia in 2019 Venice Biennale.

For those interested in photography, Arthill Gallery will display the Neorealist works of Italian artist Elio Ciol and German artist Hans-Christian Schink, Black Box Projects will be showcasing new and archival work by contemporary British Pictorialist photographer Steve Macleod in a solo survey exhibition and Huxley Parlour will present a dynamic programme of contemporary and modern photography and painting from the 21st Century .

There is also a strong presence of female photographers, complementing the Photo50 exhibition Occupy the Void, including Ellie Davies and Karine Laval presented by Crane Kalman Brighton, Celine Bodin and Sandra Kantanen displayed by Purdy Hicks Gallery and Flowers Gallery will show work from Julie Cockburn whose imaginative interventions stage a reexamination of photography.

There is a strong representation of sculpture at the Fair including Standpoint Gallery ’s works by Frances Richardson and Olivia Bax (both winners of the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award, with Richardson winning the 2017-2018 edition and Bax the 2019-2020 edition) and five ceramic works by Grayson Perry shown by Castlegate House Gallery. Horton London will be showing bronzes by Josep Clara, Michael Ayrton, Nicola Hicks and Antoniucci Volti and White Conduit Projects will also be exhibiting a group show of small-scale sculpture and ceramics.

Links between nature and mental health emerge as a thematic element in this year’s edition of the Fair as artists look at how our external environment can affect our internal wellbeing. CIRCLE Contemporary presents work from artists living and working in rural areas who look at the restorative effects nature can have on us. Judith Berry showing with Art Mûr presents a darker and more contemplative view of nature with her constructed landscapes that are familiar yet unnerving, challenging our sense of place. Societal pressures harming our self-perception is also portrayed in Hellen van Meene’s photographic series A Journey into the Wilderness shown by James Freeman Gallery. Her work reveals the psychological tension and ambiguity of the transitional stage of life between childhood and adulthood, particularly the moment between girlhood and womanhood.

Arusha Gallery displays custom-made new work by Julie Airey
Arusha Gallery displays custom-made new work by Julie Airey

Threading Forms, curated by Candida Stevens, brings to the fore a selection of galleries and artists who are both embracing the potential and challenging the limitations, of thread in contemporary art. Candida Stevens said: “Over the last few years textile art has risen from being a largely unknown and neglected arena to a trending art form. This exhibition aims to demonstrate various ways that artists can use textiles – different methodologies, different aesthetics – with thread as the common link.”

Candida Stevens Gallery shows Within each other, portraits of ourselves – a new series of 20 portraits for the Fair by Alice Kettle which builds on her collaboration with expert women stitchers from communities in Sindh province in Pakistan for the Karachi Biennale 2019. Kettle has invited Asmaa, a Syrian refugee, and Susan Kamara, a Ugandan refugee, to respond through stitch onto two respective large works, while a series of drawn portraits include stitching from the same groups of women in Pakistan. The works focus on memory and experience, whilst examining the notions of identity, authorship and of stitch as a medium of integration across borders and technologies.
Cavaliero Finn exhibits woven and cut tapestries by Jacy Wall alongside ceramics by Bjork Haraldsdottir. Wall’s work is an exploration of the qualities of textiles, through surfaces, pattern, structure, seams, thread and stitch. Black and white are often a backdrop to Wall’s palette with hints of red and yellow in wool and linen which she dyes herself.
These works will be complemented by new geometric sculptural vessels by Haraldsdottir, with bold surface pattern, reminiscent of old Icelandic and Celtic knitting and stitch patterns. The visual harmony of the two artists is striking. Bjork’s knowledge of architecture is evident in her geometric forms and marries in with the deconstructed pattern structure of Wall’s work.

Atelier Weftfaced is showing work by two of its represented artists: Katharine Swailes and Caron Penney. Both are among the few contemporary textile artists to use a centuries-old hand woven tapestry technique. Swailes showcases ‘Le Bric et de Broc’, an installation piece shortlisted for the Cordis Prize for Tapestry. Comprising nine individual tapestries of wool and mercerised cotton, her meditation on colour will occupy an entire wall at the Fair and joins Penney’s quiet monochrome and gold grid tapestries.

These two different presentations of tapestry by Atelier Weftfaced and Cavaliero Finn links with West Dean Tapestry Studio, who have previously worked with contemporary artists and designers such as Eva Rothschild, Tracey Emin and Martin Creed, to translate their images into woven tapestry since 1976. Throughout the Fair, the space will host a live performance of ‘textile art in the making’ in order to demystify the artistic process. Tapestry studio leader Philip Sanderson and weaver Ellie Rudd will demonstrate tapestry weaving while artist Alice Kettle will demonstrate machine and hand stitching.

Arusha Gallery displays custom-made new work by Julie Airey, who trained as a painter and now incorporates paint and thread in her work, which are a response to an emotional fragility fostered by contemporary perfectionist culture and our striving for the ideal. Thin sheets of muslin woven through with delicate thread, suggestive of silhouettes and figures, attest to the personal exploration that their marking denotes.
Oxford Ceramics Gallery provides a link to the Modern British works at the Fair with their presentation of calming, symmetrical works by the present the pre-eminent British artist weaver of the post-war period, Peter Collingwood, who has been described as a technical innovator, teacher and mentor. These works will be complemented by furniture pieces by Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley and finely-thrown porcelain vessels by Japanese artist Niisato Akio.

Outside In, a national charity that aims to provide a platform for artists who face significant barriers to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation, are presenting textiles by self-taught artist Anthony Stevens influenced by his practice of Nichiren Buddhism. The rhythm inherent in his process acts as a form of therapy and self-expression, allowing him to process trauma and it’s after-effects.

London Art Fair
London Art Fair 22-26 January 2020

London Art Fair reflects contemporary practice and collecting trends within the art world through its critically-acclaimed sections curated in collaboration with leading experts.

Art Projects
Now in its 16th edition, London Art Fair Art Projects is a showcase of the freshest contemporary art from across the globe. Dedicated to cultivating a community of emerging international galleries, the selection has established itself as an important international platform for new galleries to showcase the most stimulating contemporary practice and continues to garner widespread critical acclaim. Art Projects also hosts the Screening Room, an accompanying programme of collaborative film and new media initiatives, curated by Pryle Behrman.

Dialogues is a guest-curated themed presentation situated within Art Projects on Gallery level 1 of the Fair, inviting paired international contemporary galleries to create inventive collaborations and exhibit work in conversation. Alistair Hicks is the Dialogues curator for 2020.

London Art Fair
London Art Fair Photo50

Photo50 is the Fair’s annual guest-curated exhibition, providing a critical forum for examining some of the most distinctive elements of current photographic practice.
The latest edition of Photo50, Occupy the Void, curated by writer, collector and gallerist Laura Noble, explores the vast pool of talented living female photographers aged over 50 and the cultural ‘space’ that they inhabit. Through the work of ten contemporary female artists, the exhibition interrogates the physical, psychological and ephemeral nature of space and our experience of existing within it, both during our lives and after death.

Museum Partnership
Through its annual Museum Partnership, the London Art Fair continues to champion regional museums by showcasing their extraordinary collections in the UK capital. For the 2020 edition, Southampton City Art Gallery presents Gallery 80: From Generous Beginnings to Lasting Legacies following its 80th anniversary this year, highlighting the gallery’s modern British and contemporary art holdings.

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