It is hard to believe that the London Art Fair is now in its 28th year. The Modern and Contemporary British art fair continues to feel fresh and exciting – as well as impeccably curated – and its 2016 incarnation is no exception. Here are a few of the must-see stands and events this year:
Since 2014 the London Art Fair has formed a museum partnership to showcase a selection of the best of Modern British Art. This year Jerwood Gallery, based in Hastings, presents ‘Coast’, a concise exhibition of C20th painters inspired by the British coastline. At the heart of the display a statuesque bather by the tragically short-lived St Ives artist Christopher Wood fills the canvas, alongside a Barbara Hepworth painting, John Piper, John Tunnard and second generation St Ives artist Alexander Mackenzie’s abstract compositions. Together with neighbouring stands such as Piano Nobile (also showing a small Kit Wood) and Rowntree Clark with mid-century British abstract works this is an excellent introduction to the world of Modern British collecting.
Kenneth Armitage Centenary
A centenary is always a welcome opportunity to highlight an artists work, and Jonathan Clark does just that with a large and unusual work by Kenneth Armitage. A contemporary of Lynn Chadwick, Reg Butler and Eduardo Paolozzi, Armitage was one of the young British sculptors to emerge in the 1950s and exhibit at the Venice Biennale, with striking semi-abstract figures. ‘The Forest’, a later work of 1965, shows hands and feet as if pushing through the solid metal they are trapped behind.
An equally good reason to display an artist’s work afresh might be a book. A monograph on the paintings of William Gear has recently been published to coincide with the centenary of his birth in 1915. Author Andrew Lambirth will be giving a book signing at the fair on Thursday, while the Redfern Gallery are showing some of his large abstract works composed of shards of colour.
For ‘Dialogues’, the Art Projects section of LAF hosts a series of collaborations between UK and international galleries from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, curated by Natasha Hoare. Art Projects is a great space for discovering both emerging artists and new galleries with creative approaches to the presentation of work in a wide range of media.
Caroline Wiseman’s Aldeburgh Beach Project
Caroline Wiseman’s stand offers visitors the chance to have their photograph taken in an installation specially created by artist Bill Jackson for London Art Fair. With deck chairs placed in front of a backdrop depicting Aldeburgh Beach and the lookout tower that now hosts artist residencies, the concept parodies traditional British seaside holiday photographers. The experience is free, with unique prints available, guaranteeing a very personalised work of art!
Talks and Tours
And finally, there is a packed programme of talks, tours and performances taking place all week until Sunday – for full details please visit www.londonartfair.co.uk.
London Art Fair runs from the 20th – 24th January 2016 at the Business Design Centre in Islington.
By Kitty Hudson.