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Frieze London manifests this year in a slightly altered form with a pandemic-friendly digital initiative bringing together over 250 leading galleries on one platform from 9-16 October. The mobile and web-based Frieze Viewing Room showcases curated gallery sections and benefits from new developments including a live chat feature and the option of six virtual spaces designed by Annabelle Selldorf. While there is no big white tent this year, alongside a busy programme of virtual presentations, online talks and screenings, the fair is bolstered by a series of offsite shows, taking place at galleries across London. Highlighting seven presentations and events not to miss this year, Something Curated takes a closer look at the artists, curators and galleries behind the must-see projects.

Edgar Calel / Presented by Proyectos Ultravioleta

Guatemala-based gallery Proyectos Ultravioleta present the work of Edgar Calel during this year’s edition of Frieze London. The artists explains about the work on show, “Jun kai oxi qi munib´al Qatit qa Mama (Some Two or Three Offerings for Our Ancestors) acknowledges the way in which the Mayan people and communities perform rituals and ceremonies in which a variety of offerings are presented to thank our ancestors and the land for life and for their knowledge. We are also grateful for being able to walk together with them, and for the weight of our body on the hills and valleys. We are grateful because we are allowed to cross towns and cities, we are grateful for the light, for the night and the fog that wake us up every morning. The intention of these offerings in the art spaces is to make visible our existence as a people and living millenary culture. It is also important for me to rewrite our practices and ancestral memory about the architecture and colonial thought that roams in our territories.”

Theaster Gates / Presented by White Cube

Specially conceived for Frieze London 2020, Theaster Gates’s ‘Sweet Square of Dark Abyss’ brings together a new body of work that has evolved out of the many collections in his care. The project forms a critical part of Gates’ larger artistic intention, namely, to exhume and make visible the power of Black consciousness using visual tropes of the Western art canon wherever possible. Gates’ practice includes sculpture, installation, performance and urban interventions that aim to bridge the gap between art and life. Gates works as an artist, curator, urbanist and facilitator and his projects attempt to instigate the creation of cultural communities by acting as catalysts for social engagement that leads to political and spatial change. He has described his working method as “critique through collaboration” – often with architects, researchers and performers – to create works that stretch the idea of what we usually understand visual-based practices to be.

Frieze Talks: Michael Armitage and Ralph Rugoff

Artist Michael Armitage works between Nairobi and London where from 2003 until 2010 he studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and the Royal Academy Schools. Within the last year, Armitage has participated in the 58th Venice Biennale and had solo exhibitions at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, Museum of Modern Art, New York in collaboration with the Studio Museum Harlem and the Norval Foundation, Cape Town. The artist will be in conversation with Ralph Rugoff, who has been the Director of the Hayward Gallery of London since 2006. (Saturday 10 October 2020 – 5-6pm on Zoom)

Daiga Grantina / Presented by Emalin

Daiga Grantina’s sculptures investigate the encounters between materials and their consequent relationships of dissonance and consonance, inducing an exercise in expanded vision. Her material gestures resonate with the structural shifts of organisms and environments, navigating relations of volume and form at the point where microscopic and macroscopic overlap and intersect. London gallery Emalin present a new body of sculptures by the artist for Frieze Viewing Room, anticipating her first solo exhibition at the gallery later this year.

Anthea Hamilton / Presented by Thomas Dane Gallery

Anthea Hamilton graduated from the Royal College of Art and was one of four artists shortlisted for the 2016 Turner Prize, responsible for the show’s most popular exhibit, Project For Door. She is known for creating outlandish and surreal artworks and large-scale installations. Presented by Thomas Dane Gallery during Frieze London, Hamilton creates an immersive installation at 9 Cork Street consisting of a digitally printed wallpaper and commercially made black mannequins, which act as placeholders. They physically engage with the other live works through figurative language. In addition, a fragrance floats, albeit briefly, in the space. These were formulated with two performers the artist has worked with in the past.

Richard Long / Presented by Lisson Gallery

Frieze Sculpture opened this week in London’s Regent’s Park. Selected and placed by Director of Programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Clare Lilley, this year’s presentation within the Park’s English Gardens features 12 ambitious works by leading international artists, including Richard Long’s large-scale marble and granite work Circle for Sally (2016). The works touch on a range of timely themes, including civil rights, ecology, and the role of the artist as disruptor. Long has been in the vanguard of conceptual art in Britain since he created A Line Made by Walking over half a century ago in 1967, while still a student. This photograph of the path left by his feet in the grass, a fixed line of movement, established a precedent that art could be a journey. Through this medium of walking, time, space and distance became new subjects for his art.

Joep van Lieshout / Presented by Galería OMR

Presented by Mexico City-based gallery OMR, Slave City is a body of work by artist Joep van Lieshout and his team Atelier van Lieshout, which addresses ecological concerns and imagines a future, zero-footprint urban plan for a utopian city. Van Lieshout combines an imaginative aesthetic and ethic with a spirit of entrepreneurship; his work has motivated movements in the fields of architecture and ecology, and has been internationally celebrated, exhibited, and published. This particular project, which took place between 2002-2012, has been shown at the De Pont Museum; The Moscow Biennial; Ludwig Forum, Aachen; and the Folkwang Museum, Essen.

Feature image: Édgar Calel and Fernando Pereira dos Santos, Sueño de Obsidiana, 2020. aprox. 13’, video still. © Sendero Filmes. Cortesia Édgar Calel and Fernando Pereira dos Santos. Photo: Chico Bahia.

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