A review of Frieze London, an art festival like no other

Last week I participated in Frieze, an advanced art exhibition that shows the most coveted works that the art world has to offer. From expansive tent arm vases to giant multicolored canvases, there was a huge selection of works of art, so there was something for everyone.

The first pieces I came across were the aforementioned vases, with their ceramic tentacles spread out. At first glance, it seems as if there are no more to those vases – they are beautifully designed, but nothing outrageous. If you look closer, however, you can see phalluses sticking out of the vases – a vulgar addition to the piece. To me, these vases represented the very essence of Frieze – a combination of beauty and rawness.

There was art that stretched as far as the eye could see, from vibrant watercolor paintings to some shoes arranged in a circle that reminded us that art always has the ability to surprise. I saw huge screens with algorithms, measuring tapes hanging from the ceiling and mirrors with TIME magazine covers on. Unfortunately, I also saw the stranglehold that commercialism still has on the art world. There was a random show of BMW where they were desperately trying to whip up some cars and LG was admirably diligent in their commitment to selling 4K TVs. The company’s input seemed absurd and sincere to me. However, I can not criticize. We all have to somehow make our money.

As always, art is inextricably linked to politics, and so was Frieze. There were pieces dedicated to the black experience that highlighted the marginalization of the black society and the struggles they still face today – a theme that is particularly relevant in 2021. Part of the exhibition was focused on the concept of ‘unworlding ‘- back to how things were before human intervention. The beautiful pieces showed a serious message about our devastating impact on the environment, yet had a calming effect that reflected the relaxed nature of this year’s event.

Overall, my time at Frieze showed me a glimmer of hope. It seemed to offer an easy transition back to “normality” after the past two years of hectic disruption. The whole event had a comforting normality, with people mingling back and forth just like in the old days. Most of the artwork was exquisite, albeit a little unusual and abstract. An air of positivity was discovered, in the hope that the worst was over. If life imitates art, then we can soon expect our daily lives to be filled with calm and serenity. One can dream.

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