What to see at Frieze London

Monumental sculptures look likely to be among the highlights of this year’s art fair

 Work No. 1649 ($75,000), by Martin Creed
Work No. 1649 ($75,000), by Martin Creed | Image: Martin Creed and Hauser & Wirth/DACS, London 2017

Sculptures made of stone, bronze and clay and are thousands of years old – or at least pretend to be – look set to be the stars of this year’s Frieze London (from £45 per day; October 5-8). Hauser & Wirth’s stand, entitled Bronze Age c3500BC- AD 2017, will recreate a fictional presentation from a forgotten museum by combining artefacts on loan from various UK museums and private collections, sculptures by Martin Creed (Work No. 1649, $75,000), Jenny Holzer ($50,000) Bharti Kher (Warrior Bracelet, $60,000) and Fausto Melotti (Scultura n. 11, €400,000), and “ancient” objects bought on eBay. The tongue-in-cheek presentation, organised in collaboration with Mary Beard, professor of classics at the University of Cambridge, highlights the power of display where the everyday item is elevated to an artefact – a key feature of much contemporary art.

Warrior Bracelet ($60,000), by Bharti Kher
Warrior Bracelet ($60,000), by Bharti Kher | Image: Bharti Kher and Hauser & Wirth
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Meanwhile, Kallos Gallery is showing the real McCoy. An exquisitely carved Roman marble theatre mask (£220,000) dating from the 3rd century AD and an enormous marble torso of Artemis from Ephesus (£280,000) from the 1st century AD are the highlights of its stand in the Frieze Masters pavilion. Rupert Wace, Phoenix Ancient Art and the Ariadne Gallery will all be showcasing marvels in marble, too, but it is not all fun and Athenian games. A new part of the fair, Sex Work: Feminist Art & Radical Politics, is dedicated to work by a collection of extreme feminist artists.

An original marble torso of Artemis from Ephesus (£280,000) dating from the 1st century AD
An original marble torso of Artemis from Ephesus (£280,000) dating from the 1st century AD | Image: Kallos Gallery
Scultura n. 11 (€400,000), by Fausto Melotti
Scultura n. 11 (€400,000), by Fausto Melotti | Image: Fondazione Fausto Melotti, Milano and Hauser & Wirth

Whether the pieces in this section prove more alluring to collectors than the antique pieces made in clay and bronze remains to be seen, but it will certainly stop people in their tracks. Graphic paintings (price on request) taken by Betty Tompkins, and surreally sexual sculptures and photos (from £7,000) by Renate Bertlmann will be contrasted with more painterly renditions of similar rendezvous by Marilyn Minter (price on request). And along related lines, an installation by Anna Uddenberg – whose Quilt Queens, which resemble dismembered cyborg corpses and were the sensation of last year’s Berlin Biennal – looks set to be the talking point of the Frieze section focusing on emerging artists.

  Peter Blake’s Locker, £390,000
Peter Blake’s Locker, £390,000
Verwandlungen [Transformations], price on request, by Renate Bertlmann
Verwandlungen [Transformations], price on request, by Renate Bertlmann

In a more tranquil vein, Waddington Custot has collaborated with designer Robin Brown and producer Anna Pank to create an artistic tribute to 1960s pop art icon Peter Blake, featuring the artist’s iconic Locker (£390,000), while at Frieze Masters, Gagosian’s booth unites half a dozen works (price on request) by Georg Baselitz and Roy Lichtenstein from the 1980s, a period of bold experimentation for both artists. Drawings of nudes and still lifes ($80,000-$3.8m) by Tom Wesselmann at the Almine Rech Gallery and works by Sam Francis ($650,000-$850,000) at Mnuchin complete the impression that America reigned supreme when it came to painting in the 1970s and 1980s.

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As far as the talks programme goes, curated for the first time this year by Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery, it will focus on fake news and art’s relationship with reality (see Damien Hirst’s exhibition at the Venice Biennale this year) and should be fascinating. 

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