From 5-8 October, the 15th edition of Frieze London, under the direction of Victoria Siddall, platforms more than 160 leading galleries from 31 countries, showcasing ambitious presentations by international emerging and established artists, supplemented by a curated programme of artist commissions, films and talks. Something Curated highlights twelve must-see exhibits.
Zanele Muholi || Stevenson, G05
Zanele Muholi’s self-proclaimed mission is “to re-write a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond.” She continues to train and co-facilitates photography workshops for young women in the townships. With her newest set of self-portraits, Muholi meddles with the viewer’s expectations and assumptions. Self-aware and interrogative, the portraits are serious reflections on the genre and her place in it. As Muholi dons different clothing and accessories, she slips into different facets of the characters she creates.
Eric N. Mack || Simon Lee, E6
New York-based artist Eric N. Mack’s work touches on the relationship between fashion and painting, utilising found fabrics, shipping blankets and articles of clothing imbued with personal touches and popular references. Tracing a line through the aesthetic of painterly abstraction from the 1960s to the present day, Simon Lee Gallery’s presentation juxtaposes work by Hans Hartung, Christopher Wool, Jeff Elrod and Mack. Although he refers to himself as a painter, Mack’s work strives to expand the definition of the medium, providing a compelling correlation with the work of the other artists.
Mary Reid Kelley || Pilar Corrias, B1
Mary Reid Kelley combines painting, performance, and a distinctive wordplay-rich poetry in her polemical, graphically stylised works. Performing as a First World War soldier, a grisette in revolutionary Paris, or the Minotaur, she resurrects characters that embody particular facets of ideas in time. Her historically specific tableaux enclose dilemmas of mortality, sex, and estrangement, navigated by the characters in punning dialogue that traps them between tragic and comic meanings.
Anna Uddenberg || Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, H18
Uddenberg’s work investigates how body culture, spirituality, and self-staging are intertwined with the mediation and production of subjectivity by new technologies and forms of circulation through the feedback loop of consumerist culture. Her practice is a space for reflecting on taste, appropriation, and sexuality, which integrates earlier approaches to gender theory while pushing these questions into new and intensively material territories. For her Frieze presentation, Uddenberg combines her sculptural work with performative aspects that played a crucial role in the beginning of her career, blurring the borders between viewer and object, producer and product, desire and the desirable.
Pia Camil || Galerie Sultana, H8
Covering two walls of Galerie Sultana’s booth, Pia Camil’s installation is comprised of t-shirts that were manufactured in Latin America, sold to the United States, discarded, and sold back illicitly to Mexico. The artist’s work is usually associated to the Mexican urban landscape, the aesthetic language of Modernism and its relationship to retail and advertising. In her recent work, she has engaged in public participation as a way to activate the work and engage with the politics of consumerism.
Nathaniel Mellors & Erkka Nissinen || The Box, D2
Individually known for their irreverent and often comedic story-driven work, in which a humorous approach deceivingly belies a profound inquiry into contemporary issues of morality and power, Mellors and Nissinen focus on various clichés surrounding Finnish history and national identity. Aalto Office Display brings together Nissinen’s intuitive, do-it-yourself attitude to digital animation with Mellors’ writing-based approach to filmmaking, and integration of sculpture.
Kiluanji Kia Henda || Goodman Gallery, B12
Kiluanji Kia Henda is the first African artist to have received the Frieze Artist Award, for which he realised a new installation as part of Frieze Projects, the fair’s celebrated non-profit programme curated by Raphael Gygax. With work also presented by Goodman Gallery, Kia Henda employs a surprising sense of humour in his output, which often hones in on themes of identity, politics, and perceptions of postcolonialism and modernism in Africa. Practicing in the fields of photography, video, and performance, the artists has tied his multidisciplinary approach to a sharp sense of criticality.
Do Ho Suh || Victoria Miro, C3
Influenced by his peripatetic existence – leaving his native South Korea to study and live in the United States, he has more recently moved between New York, Seoul and London – an enduring theme of Do Ho Suh’s practice is the connection between the individual and the group across global cultures. The multiplicity of individuality is tested through meditative processes of repetition: whether interlinked along a lattice of fishing nets, amassed into monumental tornado-like forms, absent from ranks of empty uniforms, or present in every yearbook photo taken at the artist’s high school over 60 years.
Paulo Nazareth || Mendes Wood DM, C14
Paulo Nazareth’s performance and installation-based work often draw on his joint African and indigenous heritage. His on-going work Cadernos de Africa [Africa Notebooks] is presented as part of Journal: a five-year walk he began in 2013 from his home in a favela near Belo Horizonte, throughout Brazil and eventually northwards across the entirety of the African continent from Cape Town. His installations consist of an arrangement of collected ephemera and video works that document his journey.
Renate Bertlmann || Richard Saltoun, S7
Renate Bertlmann is an Austrian feminist artist whose practice is dominated by issues surrounding sexuality and gender, with her body often serving as the medium. Bertlmann actively confronts social stereotypes assigned to the ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’, using fetishistic objects as her props to subvert our expectations. She has been working at the edges of transgressive feminist practice in Austria since the late 1960s. Showcasing Bertlmann’s diverse practice, spanning painting, drawing, collage, photography, performance and sculpture, Richard Saltoun’s Sex Work presentation is the first time many of the works have been seen in London and made commercially available.
Slavs and Tatars || Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, E7
Slavs and Tatars created a functioning swing made of enormous resin beads, which viewers were originally invited to climb onto. Completed with a fringe sweeping the floor, this is a replica of the Middle Eastern accessory commonly used by men to signal religious devotion. Founded in 2006, Slavs and Tatars mine the complexities and unexpected affinities across cultures through publications, lecture performances, and installations. Originally set up as an informal book-club, the collective explores a literary and political geography known as Eurasia, defined by themselves as “east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China.”
Charlie Billingham || Travesía Cuatro, G25
Travesía Cuatro’s striking booth featured works by Charlie Billingham, Mateo López, Gonzalo Lebrija, Elena del Rivero, and Jose Dávila. The combination of British, Spanish, Mexican, and Colombian artists were set against Billingham’s stencilled wallpaper. The London-based artist is also showing a number of satirical paintings that draw inspiration from politicised illustrations in the style of William Hogarth. Billingham’s composition complements the geometrical canvases and sculptures of his Latin-American counterparts.
Words & Photography by Keshav Anand