This week, London is all about art fairs and gallery openings. And if you are in two minds about tackling Frieze, head over to the Sunday Art Fair next to Baker Street station for a small but chic collaboration of galleries.
Sunday Art Fair is open-plan and serene. Visitors can browse through the fair without feeling as if they are racing against the clock at a trade fair, clutching a tick-list of galleries. As far as art fairs go, it's cool, calm and collected. Here are some of the highlights:
Seventeen Gallery is a London gallery based on Kingsland Road. Featuring artist David Raymond Conroy, the gallery seems to make a departure from the often commercially motivated curation of art fairs. The space features free-standing installations, sculptures and sound-work. Many of the pieces have been made specifically with the art-fair in mind. "We haven't had to change our relationship to the objects", explained Seventeen's Dave Hoyland, as we discussed the difference between curating a space at a fair as opposed to a gallery, although they did "consciously bring things that look like walls". The gallery creates a sense of intimacy through the use of headphones for the sound-work. "You can step out of space into piece," Dave reflects. The gallery maintains a fidelity to the art, which gives it a strong presence in within the fair.
Lisa Cooley Gallery, based in New York, features London's very own Alice Channer, whose work you may have seen recently at the South London Gallery. Her floor installation is juxtaposed with Cynthia Daignault's series of paintings Any window, any morning, any day. Both artists reference notions of time and perceptual displacement. The grid-like structure of each piece complements the other, and whilst Channing focuses on altering states of the body, Daignault captures the shifting and sometimes elusive nature of memory. The curators explained that unlike art fairs in New York, Sunday is smaller and more curated. The parameters of the fair were set, allowing for a specific number of artists for each gallery, one wall space and one floor space. Keep an eye on the Lisa Cooley website, as Channing's next solo show will be at the Norfolk Street gallery in New York.
Galerie Gregor Staiger is a gallery based in Zurich. At Sunday, they feature three Glasgow-based artists, Rachal Bradley, Matthew Richardson and Lucy Stein. I spoke to Lucy Stein about her experience as an artist at the fair. "It's not like Frieze," stated Stein, "That's really frantic. There's a good feeling here, the quality of art is really good. And it's very fashionable. You get the idea of a kind of zeitgeist." Galerie Gregor Staiger reflects a post-modern, aesthetically-diverse collection of art, and it fits in well with the overall dynamic of the fair.
Whilst it is difficult for galleries to anticipate the overall ratio of painting, sculpture, sound and moving image prior to the event, the fair manages the range of work very smoothly. There are some artworks in which the sound is eclipsed by the noise of the fair, and there are still pieces that are perhaps made incongruous by other works in the space. I also would have liked to have seen more representation of artists and galleries from Asia. But overall there is a sense that the fair as a whole has been thoughtfully planned.
As someone who has mixed feelings about art fairs as a whole, I really felt that Sunday Art Fair encourages a feeling of openness towards new ideas. Some art fairs are too dense – and because of this it can be easy to quickly judge an artwork and move on to the next, without engaging with the work properly. Sunday Art Fair allows viewers to browse slowly and to appreciate the art more thoroughly. It captures the spirit of the 2012 art scene, and is a great place to chat with artists and curators in a relaxed and friendly environment.
SUNDAY, the gallery-led art fair, will return to London for its third edition from 11-14th October 2012 at Ambika P3, Marylebone Rd.
Showing a selection of 20 young international galleries, SUNDAY is recognised as an integral part of the London, UK and international cultural landscape. Housed in Ambika P3, a 14,000 square foot, triple height subterranean space, SUNDAY is free and open to all and last year welcomed over 6000 visitors.
Over ten new galleries will be making their SUNDAY debut this year. The four day event provides an easy-going and accessible temporary platform for each gallery to exhibit their artists’ work; it is a fair with no booths or divisions, allowing the exhibiting organisations to show solo or duo artist presentations that respond directly to the imposing space.
This edition will also feature an extended public programme, including large-scale publishing projects and performances that, each day, will transform the fair environment. Already a must-see event, SUNDAYmakes a valuable contribution to the most exciting cultural week in London and gives audiences the opportunity to discover new artists and galleries in an intimate and immediate way.
SUNDAY is organised by three of the participating galleries:
Croy Nielsen (Berlin), Limoncello (London) and Tulips & Roses (Brussels).
Ambika P3P3, University of Westminster, 35 Marlyebone Road
London Greater London United Kingdom NW1 5LS