Report on London Art Fair Art Projects Photo50 2010

London Art fair Review

The London Art Fair opened last night with the sort of celebrity studded private view that defies all reports of an economic downturn. It once and for all proves that there is still plenty of money in London collector circles. This year’s London Art Fair may not have been the sort of feeding frenzy that was around before the recession but by offering a price range from £250 – £500,000 there really was something for everyone. Providing they were sill in a post Christmas spending mood. The fair has been well managed for over 20 years and director Jonathan Burton has melded a successful mix of Modern British, embellished with cutting edge contemporary works, curated exhibitions in the Art Projects section and the newish addition of a designated photography section titled Photo50. The downside of the fair has always been the quality of some of the smaller galleries. Decorative ‘furnishing’ paintings that from a critical standpoint could hardly be classified as fine art, are still available to purchase by some of the 25 000 expected visitors. I was very impressed with this year’s Art Projects section and believe that this is the way forward for the fair. It will also encourage international galleries to show in London in the winter. I recommend Hannes Broecker’s installation on Galerie Baer (Dresden) reminiscent of a train station complete with coke can encrusted gates and graffiti. Golden Thread Gallery (Belfast) presenting works related to the conflicts in Northern Ireland, Antena Estudio (Mexico) showing a selection of works with a unique Latin perception sometimes dealing in the highly conceptual, sometimes with a pure visual indulgence. The Steps Gallery highlights oversized photographs in sharp focus by Vincent Fournier who explores the subject of international space programs from the USA, Russia and China and in a similar approach Ordinary Light uncovers the aftermath of years of atomic testing on the Nevada desert in crystal clear photo works. Photo50 also had a number of interesting pieces represented including ArtLyst favourite, Tereza Buskova. However, so much of the work leaves me cold and seems restricted to oversized images taken with very good cameras. All technology with very little content. I like it in the same way that photorealism attracted me in the 1970’s but there is a little too much Photoshop going on these days and perhaps some of the artists need to get back to basics with less emphasis on gimmickry. On the commercial front, sure all of the big names in Modern British were there and if you were looking for a Keith Vaughan, Patrick Caulfield or a William Scott it was there in abundance. Alan Cristea, Beaux Arts, Austin Desmond, and Richard Green all had work of the highest standards. Also of note were Art First which had some interesting work by artists as diverse as Eileen Cooper and Simon Lewty whose visual texts are stunning, Broadbent who currently is running an exhibition of Scottish painter John Mclean and Tag Fine Arts who had an accessible and patron friendly stand exhibiting the likes of Rob Ryan, Martin Spiller and Ed Pearman. The London Art Fair is still the only game in town in the cold winter months and hopefully the weather didn’t hinder buyers from attending on Wednesday when an unexpected blizzard hit salt free London, a city that still does not know how to grit its pavements. See More on: Photo: Tag Fine Art ArtBitch 2010