Artists we aren’t familiar with in galleries we’ve never heard of. It can mean only one thing: London’s newest art fair, Art14 London, is in town until Sunday March 2. Martin Coomer and Freire Barnes hit the Olympia stands.
Art14 doesn’t call itself ‘London’s international art fair’ for nothing, as an opening cluster of galleries from the Far East proves. One of the biggest, Hong Kong’s Pearl Lam Galleries (stand A2) is showing the likes of high-profile South Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa (whose illuminated totems of bowls and other plastic bits and bobs, pictured above, look lovely in the sunlit hall) along with work by big-name Western artists including Jenny Holzer (‘Pearl’s Truisms & Survival ‘ and ‘More Survival’ pictured below).
More signage is on show at Tang Contemporary, Beijing (stand C3) courtesy of He An. Apparently, he pinches these neon letters from storefronts, which is a resourceful update of the readymade tradition.
Oh my God, they immortalised ‘South Park’! (Stained glass installation by Recycle at Triumph Gallery, Moscow, stand G13).
Oh my God, they maimed Kermit! (‘Beyond the Heritage: Kermit the Frog’ by Hossein Edalatkhah at Galerie Frank Pages, Geneva, stand M25).
Away from the gallery stands, there are plenty of Art14 Projects to ponder, like Benin artist Romuald Hazoumè’s ‘Rat Singer’ oil can installation.
Greek artist Valérie Kolakis’s concrete-soaked carpets offer some (ahem) stiff competition for best project.
The Emerge section is for galleries under seven years old, like Clerkenwell’s Fold, which is showing works by Dominic Beattie (who’s collected by Charles Saatchi, dontchaknow).
There’s also the London First section for London art fair newbies, like 43 Inverness Street, who are showing HaYoung Kim’s ‘Modern Soup’.
Our verdict: it’s a real mixed bag. One minute you’re admiring the genius of Italian conceptualist Alighiero e Boetti (above, at Jerome Zodo Contemporary, Milan, stand H2). The next, you’re wondering if they spiked your complimentary cake pop (sculpture below by Pascal Haudressy at Louise Alexander Gallery, Porto Cervo, Sardinia, stand F4).
But, with the sun setting over Olympia, this sure is one fair with a feel-good factor. Roll on Art15!