London’s Frieze art fair is open – and so is the race to buy some of the world’s leading works of contemporary art.
They include large eye-catching works by American artist Jeff Koons estimated to fetch between 25 million and 40 million euros.
One innovation this year is the emergence of African artists, with two galleries displaying contemporary African works. Among them is Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai, one of the continent’s rising talents, who has won international acclaim for his scathing, theatrical compositions about African power and corruption.
Other rising stars include famed print and drawing artist William Kentridge.“The market and the media is developing an interest, I think the artists were there already. But people are looking around the world, people now know about Latin America, they know about the Middle East, they know about Asia. Africa, you know, is the last continent that’s, sort of still reasonably undiscovered,” said Frieze director Matthew Slotover.
Another installation featuring a fountain spouting black ink in the middle of a bed is by Lili Reynaud-Dewar, a French artist whose work focusses on the history of the race struggle and the civil rights movement.
American artist Ken Okiishi created a project around the Fair’s theme of play and governance with programmed paint-ball guns shooting pellets at the installation’s walls.
“It was a way of making a kind of compression chamber, of the way that the fair is viewed and kind of the different things that happen all colliding in here. And then, also, in the way that the entire thing is live-streamed so it’s also entering the devices that we see things through and send things around with,” said the artist.
Another up-and-coming artist featured at this year’s Frieze is Colombia’s Oscar Murillo.
Two years ago, his paintings retailed for less than 2.000 euros. Now, the artist – who is being hailed as the new Jean-Michel Basquiat – can expect pieces to sell for as much as 100,000 euros.
“Well, he is one of these kind of rising stars of the art world, from relative obscurity. But having been with a very good young gallery, (he’s gone) up to a bigger gallery. And that involves a jump in price and a jump in interest and he has a show on at the South London Gallery, so there’s a kind of perfect storm of interest in him,” said Ossian Ward, head of content at the Lisson Gallery.
A piece of advice for visitors: take your time. There are more 150 galleries showcasing artworks by artists from around 30 different countries.
The London Frieze Art Fair ends on October 20th.