Frieze is at best a totally overwhelming experience. Sadly this makes it near impossible to do justice to the art. In light of this I have chosen three great Frieze exhibits that reminded me why the fair is worth its insane ticket price.
Work by the Brazilian feminist video artist Leticia Parente was this year presented by the Galeria Jaqueline Martins from São Paulo. In a series of videos Parente explores the human body as a colonised territory. In one video Parente lies face down whilst an anonymous maid irons her, in a separate video she hangs herself on a coat hanger within a wardrobe, in another she meticulously sews dark threads through the skin of her feet. Parente considers the exploitation of the female body and uses her own physicality to protest the torture employed by the military regime in the 1970s.
Praneet Soi’s Srinagar II (2015)
Soi was being represented this year by Experimenter, a gallery from Kolkata where the artist lives and works. His work uses a traditional technique whereby minute holes are stamped through tracing paper to form designs which are then transferred onto blocks and given colour. Through this process Soi builds up intricate weaving patterns which mimic tiles and architecture. The artist has lived and worked in a number of different cities and his extraordinary, fluid works reflect the ebb and flow of both his own movements and those of migrants across the ages. Zig zagged waves lead to a path made from beautifully rendered hexagons. Soi takes the language of Sufi architecture, which saw perfect geometry as a metaphor for the divine, and forms his own narrative. Soi’s elegant patterns weave together like strands of cultural history.
An enormous work by the LA based artist was a very welcome sight at Sadie Coles HQ. The piece consists of a page of blown up newspaper daubed with blotches of paint in characteristically soft colours. ‘Church Installs New Paintings’ reads one headline highlighted in red over which Owens layers warm yellows and violets, relentlessly debunking the myth of sombre, ‘serious’ art as the only authentic creative impulse. Through her layers Owens creates depth and a sense of process, the marks glide over the surface of the text forming shadows beneath them. I am wary of art that is described as ‘playful’, but this is no balloon dog, Owens’s clever playfulness and refusal to make austere art bring me true joy.