Frieze London Highlights

After combing through numerous gallery previews for Frieze, I wanted to share the highlights for the fair before it opens! Looking forward to attending the fair next week.


Jim Shaw
Family Stories, 2019

Acrylic on canvas | 62 x 48 inches

Known for blending personal, political, and surreal narratives, Shaw explores the realm of behavioral psychology and themes surrounding the family unit–– which he describes as “the beloved core of the American dream.” The title of the exhibition refers to a psychological complex identified by Sigmund Freud in 1908, whereby a young child or adolescent fantasizes that they are really the children of parents of higher social standing than their actual parents.

Tala Midani
Untitled, 2019

Oil on linen over panel | 17 x 20 inches

Tala Madani is known for creating paintings that look incisively and often irreverently at Middle-Eastern culture and gender issues. Madani typically represents male subjects in a child-like and simplified style, addressing themes including terrorism, tattoos, body hair removal, and prayer. Her paintings are often gestural and expressionistic, perhaps ironically echoing the painterly bravado attributed to male abstract artists of the mid 20th century. Untitled, 2019 is a slight departure from her often graphically sexual imagery and emphasizes a more universal quality to her paintings.

Matt Johnson
8 Years (April 2011 - March 2018), 2019

Carved wood with paint and image transfers | 29 3/4 x 12 1/4 x 12 1/4 inches

Los-Angeles based artist Matt Johnson crafts visual jokes through the juxtaposition of material and subject matter. The artist has created faces in Wonder Bread, rendered the Pietà out of bronze pipes, and transformed a basketball into a Jack-O-Lantern. Recently focusing on wood carvings, Johnson’s painstaking and hyper realistic renderings of various objects are beautiful (and often humorous) tributes to everyday life.

Glenn Ligon
Notes for a Poem on The Third World (chapter two), 2018

Neon and paint | 83 x 55 1/2 inches

Ligon's piece borrows its title from Pasolini’s 1968 proposal for his unrealized Notes for a Poem on the Third World. It is part of a series of five neon sculptures depicting hands, of which only chapters one and two have been completed so far, and follows Pasolini’s lead into the language of the concrete reality of bodies. With this fully figurative neon, Ligon abandons for the first time the written script of his previous neon sculptures.

Mona Hatoum
Cappello per due, 2013

Straw, wood and steel, AP 1/1

Cappello per due (Hat for Two) appears to represent the memory of a moment of quiet happiness. Two straw hats, their rims woven together, sit on a bench. More complex than it seems, the work suggests a questioning of our relationship with others and how we live together, as individuals and as peoples.

Tim Rollins & K.O.S.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream «… so quick bright things …» (after Shakespeare and Mendelssohn), 2013-2014

Watercolor, ink, fruit juices, Thaï mulberry paper, collage, mustard seed, music score page | 36 x 48 inches

In the beginning of 1981, Tim Rollins collaborated with a group of young people he called "Kids of survival", originally formed by a middle school students from the South Bronx. Rollins developed a socio-political approach to the education and art, by confronting classical literature and music to the street culture.

An idea for A Midsummer Night’s Dream series inspired by Shakespeare play and especially by the Puck character, came to Tim Rollins in 1998, while he was preparing an exhibition at the University Art Museum in Albany (NY). Since then, the group started to explore the history of flower in art during their workshops, by looking at flowers on works by Manet, Monet, Nolde, Warhol and many other artists.

Cornelia Parker
Laugh, Cry, 2019

Hand embroidered on linen by prisoners in HM jails, in collaboration with Fine Cell Work | 34.17 x 34.17 x 2.76 inches

Laugh, Cry is an embroidery of two opposing dictionary definitions on either side of a single piece of linen. The words have been sewn as mirror writing on both sides, so the definitions are face to face within the fabric. Therefore, the viewer has to read the underside of one meaning as it appears simultaneously underneath the opposing meaning, which has to be read in reverse. The text itself has been stitched by prisoners under the supervision of Fine Cell Work, a social enterprise that trains prisoners in paid, skilled, creative needlework to foster hope, discipline and self-esteem.

Markus Amm
Untitled, 2019

Oil on gesso on canvas on board | 13.78 x 11.81 inches

Markus Amm has been methodically and sensitively exploring how the materials of painting, reduced to their essences, cohere into abstract images. His work can be luminous and illusionistic or bracingly sculptural and physical, and in many cases it is both of these things simultaneously. Amm is also interested in how the perception of time informs the processes of making art and looking at it, as the processes he uses to produce many of his works require long periods of waiting and looking. The paintings therefore pose questions about how we distinguish between action and reflection.

Reality is not always probable, 2019

69,108 white dice | 118.11 x 78.74 x 1.6 inches

Reality is not always probable is constructed from 69,108 white dice and is generated, line by line, by manually emulating the rules of a simple computer binary program. Its title references a quote by Jorge Luis Borges and men’s disquiet towards a lack of controllable or predictable events and the belief that complete knowledge is impossible.

Yoko Ono
Glass Hammer, 1967/2014

Glass | 9 x 4 x .75 inches

Since the 1950s Yoko Ono has produced work which liberates the viewer’s imagination, which inspires action and which cuts incisively into the contradictions of politics and society. In particular, as a pioneer of conceptual art through her unique poetic expressions, she has conveyed to the world her contemplative and yet also humorous responses to issues which trouble contemporary society. Ono’s works convey both hope and strength towards the prospect of the future, and of a time when society will begin to change.

Keltie Ferris
Weave/Cleave, 2019

Oil and acrylic on canvas in two panels in the artist‘s frame | 75 x 63 x 4.6 inches

Keltie Ferris' paintings embody aspects of Performance Art, Abstract Modernism and the “storm of pictures” of digital image worlds. Ferris grasps painting as a personal index characterized by performative gender and body identities. The artist’s most recent works create a “physical contrast” between sprayed, brushed, and turpentine obscured painting, on the one side, and relief-like elements consisting of marble dust mixed with paint, on the other. Canvases are assembled in a collage like way to form objects and the painting “expands” from the canvas beyond the frame.

Claire Tabouret
The Dancer (blue and pink), 2019

Acrylic on wood | 24 × 18 inches

Motivated by a sensitivity to the passing of time and the floodgates of vulnerability opened by human relationships, Tabouret’s painting practice is paced between periods of productive urgency and quiet reflection. She depicts bodies in confrontation, portraits, paintings of assemblies of people from young debutants to migrants at sea, and landscapes that are often washed in color fields, alternately evoking the possibility of anywhere and site specificity

Lee Bae
Issu du Feu, 2000

Charcoal on canvas | 82.7 × 47 inches

Lee Bae’s monochromatic practice is a formal and immersive journey into the abysses of blackness. Subtly blurring the lines between drawing, painting, sculpture, and installation, he has developed his abstract aesthetics across categories to imbue the noncolor with tangible depth and intensity. Until the mid-2000s, he worked exclusively with raw charcoal to create minimal, refined, mosaic-like assemblages of charred wooden shards or chunks on canvas, as well as larger sculptural arrangements of carbonized trunks.

Migrants, Mayra, Eye in the Lower East Side, New York City, USA, 2018

Color photograph, matte plexiglass, aluminium, wood (framed behind glass) | 59 x 39 inches

JR began his career as a teenage graffiti artist. After finding a camera in the Paris Metro in 2001, he traveled Europe to meet individuals who express themselves on walls and facades, and pasted their portraits in the streets, undergrounds, and rooftops of Paris. In June 2018, a giant eye, that of Mayra, a "Dreamer" was wheat-pasted on the roof of Perrotin's gallery in Lower Manhattan. Visible only from the sky of New York, city of dreams and possibilities, her gaze is cast upwards.

Bharti Kher
White Noise, 2015

Bindis on painted board, frame | 99 x 74.4 inches

Bharti Kher’s oeuvre spans more than two decades and includes paintings, sculptures, and readymade objects and installations. Throughout her practice she has displayed an unwavering relationship with surrealism, narrative, and the nature of things. Her mythical monsters and allegorical tales combine references that are at once topical and traditional, political and postcolonial.

Laurent Grasso
Studies into the Past

Oil on wood | 79 x 76 inches

Laurent Grasso creates mysterious atmospheres that challenge the boundaries of what we perceive and know. Anachronism and hybridity play an active role in his strategy, which entails diffracting reality in order to recompose it according to his own rules. Fascinated by the way in which various powers can affect human conscience, Grasso seeks to grasp, reveal, and materialize the invisible, from collective fears to politics to electromagnetic or paranormal phenomena. His work reveals what lies behind common perception and offers us a new perspective on history and reality.

Ugo Rondinone
the sun at 11 am, 2019

Bronze doré / Gilded bronze | 86.61 inches

Ugo Rondinone's most recent work features large-scale circular rings that are made from vine branches  cast in aluminum and then gilded. The artist chose to depict the vine as a symbol of renewal because of its life cycle from growth to dormancy and rebirth to a fruitful state every year—reminiscent of the solar cycle. Ugo Rondinone's most recent work features large-scale circular rings that are made from vine branches  cast in aluminum and then gilded. The artist chose to depict the vine as a symbol of renewal because of its life cycle from growth to dormancy and rebirth to a fruitful state every year—reminiscent of the solar cycle. Rondinone has also staged a similar monumental sculpture behind Apollo’s Char at Versailles.


Sayre Gomez
Palm Tower, 2019

Acrylic on canvas | 120 × 84 inches

Employing a multitude of trompe l’oeil painting techniques drawn from Hollywood set painting, commercial sign painting, automotive airbrushing, and other traditions, Gomez composes pastiched visions of Los Angeles. Despite their immediate familiarity, these cityscapes are often invented, fragmented or collaged together from stock photography, cell phone photos, and found imagery.

Richard Mosse

Digital C-Print Mounted to Dibond | 64 x 48 inches


Digital C-Print Mounted to Dibond | 40 x 35 inches

Richard Mosse's latest series, Ultra, explores the fragile ecosystem and the fraught political landscape of the Amazon rainforest. In this new body of work, Mosse photographed plants and insects in the rainforest at night under UV light, capturing the delicate fluorescence of the leaves and creatures that is revealed to the camera when exposed to this invisible spectrum of light.

The series continues Mosse’s use of hyper spectral effects to investigate a conflicted landscape. The iridescent and otherworldly colors that appear under the UV light, shift the landscape into an aesthetic realm, yet the constant cycle of violent predation in nature is right on the surface, brought into focus by the carnivorous plants and poisonous insects. While beautiful, they are quite confrontational. The level of detail he has been able to capture is incredible.