Last Updated on October 27, 2021
Frieze 2021 reunited the art world after hiatus
Frieze London and Frieze Masters 2021 closed on Sunday 17 October in a triumphant mode, having successfully brought back the world’s major galleries together in two gigantic fairs for five straight days. It’s definitely not every day that you can find yourself next to a Basquiat.
Following a hiatus last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event saw strong international attendance, with sold out tickets across the week, bringing together galleries, institutions, artists, and arts organizations.
In line with this year’s reduced capacity, Frieze London and Frieze Masters housed 80,000 visitors (including myself) and displayed curations from over 290 galleries, showing across both fairs and simultaneously via Frieze’s online platform, Frieze Viewing Room. The fairs’ celebrated curated programme was led by Unworlding, a section of Frieze London curated by Cédric Fauq (Chief Curator, CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeau) and Stand Outat Frieze Masters,curated by Luke Syson (Director of Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge). This year’s fairs were also accompanied by the launch of Frieze’s new hub for galleries, No.9 Cork Street and the London roll-out of Frieze’s new membership scheme.
As an art enthusiast who appreciates rather than collects art, it was truly an exquisite and exuberant feast for the eyes. The fair was so vast and the works so varied that you can truly walk upon rows and rows of art and have an emotional reaction to at least one piece. It was a treat to see galleries from one part of the world right next to another gallery from the opposite side of the world.
Some of my favorites include Alberta Whittle’s Matrix Moves 2019, which is a mixed media installation view of how flexible we can make the mouth. It speaks to me because the whole of last year everyone had to make adjustments in their work and personal lives amidst the pandemic.
Another piece that caught my eye was Jesse Darling’s The Road Extinct 2020.
Outside the fairs, Frieze Sculpture, one of London’s largest exhibitions of outdoor sculpture, also returned to Regent’s Park. The acclaimed public art initiative, which is free to the public, displayed significant works by leading international artists including Ibrahim El-Salahi, Isamu Noguchi, Solange Pessoa and Rose Wylie. This year’s selection of works addresses themes including architecture, geopolitical power structures and environmental concerns.
Galleries in London also pulled together in a Frieze week exhibition including Opera Gallery which featured a new Hermann Nitsch solo exhibition which included recent paintings as well as historic works by the Austrian painter, performer, composer, photographer and scenographer who is one of the most influential artists of his generation. While appearing chaotic and violent, Nitsch’s works are in fact a celebration of life and mirror the human soul.
The Frieze festival is truly an amalgamation of creativity and world-class art as all the galleries converge and display their best works in one place. The amount of art on display is truly staggering that even if you’re not usually into art, I guarantee you’ll find something that speaks to you. Maybe have a go next year in 2022? If you want to find out more, you can register on the Frieze website for advanced notification of dates in 2022
13 – 17 October, 2021
The Regent’s Park