Watch: Frieze London opens 'most international edition yet' in face of Brexit

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By Euronews  with AP
Watch: Frieze London opens 'most international edition yet' in face of Brexit
Copyright  AP

The Frieze London art fair has opened to the public, hosting 160 galleries from 35 countries. Big names on display include Jeff Koons, Sterling Ruby and British artist Ryan Gander.

This year the event is also marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus school in Weimar, Germany, which was closed down by the Nazis in 1933 but continues to have global impact today.

Shanghai-based artist Tang Dixin is presenting the latest iteration of his ongoing performance project "Rest is the Best Way of Revolution." Dressed in doctors' gowns, the artist and gallery workers are offering fair visitors a plaster bodycast. The idea is to encourage visitors to "rest up" and take a break from the fair's frenzied atmosphere.

"So, it's like an immediate rest. So, after we finished the bandage and the plaster, he will have a fake injured hand and then walk around and then he can't do anything," explains Maio Maio from Aike Gallery. "So the main thing, the main focus, the main purpose is to force the people to have a rest."

This year's Frieze is the fair's most international edition to date, which director Victoria Siddall feels is a positive sign in the face of Brexit. She said: "We have galleries from 35 countries participating here this week which, in the cultural and political climate we're in in the UK at the moment, feels really appropriate. It shows how global and open and welcoming a city London is."

Hong Kong artist Angela Su, one of the exhibitors, uses hair embroidery in her work, created over the previous few months of turbulent protest in her city. Su's works reframe sewing – traditionally seen as feminine activity – into an extreme form of protest.

One piece shows an eye sewn shut with real human hair, a reference to a lack of freedom of expression. Su said: "I started working on these in June, which is the beginning of the protests. I was feeling really depressed at that time and I felt like sewing as a form of extreme protest actually goes with what I was feeling at that time.

"And that's why you see these sets of drawings, it's about sewing up of the human body, especially of the lips and of the eyes as an extreme form of protest."

Meanwhile, Gander is presenting a new iteration of his project Time Well Spent – a vending machine which, for £500 (€560), dispenses either a diamond or a rock at random. Gander says it explores the value we place on objects and on time, given that both rocks and diamonds take hundreds of years to form.

Frieze London is open to the public October 3-6 in London's Regents Park.

Video editor • Ivan Sougy