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Frieze Art Fair 2014


QM's Director of Public Art, Jean Paul Engelen tells us about his highlights of Frieze Art Fair 2014:

The London Frieze week has become a real art-world destination. The fair was established in 2003 by Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover in what was an off-season moment in the artworld calendar. Today during the fair period all the major auctions houses have their sales, the galleries additional exhibitions and the fair has been established as one of the main fairs for contemporary art. Since two years a second fair has been opened called Frieze Masters which focuses on Modern and Post war art but also on other collecting fields like antiquities and old master paintings.

From our part of the world Sfeir Semmler Gallery participated at the Frieze Art fair. The gallery exhibits artists like Wael Shawky and Etel Adnan. Etel Adnan, who had a solo exhibition at Mathaf earlier this year, was also taking part in the Serpentine Gallery marathon from Hans Ulrich Obrist. This is a conversation series over two days and this year’s topic was extinction and not in a lesser extent climate change.

At Frieze masters, Meem gallery from Dubai had a beautiful solo presentation of Dia Azzawi. Again an artist that is well represented at Mathaf. In total over a 1000 artists are exhibited at both fairs.


Mickey for Micky by Joyce Pensato(Reuters)

2014 also turned out to be a German Autumn in London. The Royal Academy had a large exhibition by Anselm Kiefer and the Tate Modern a retrospective of Sigmar Polke. Kiefe started making art focusing on the German history and the national conscious. Obviously this raised many questions in the 70s when he started to work when the country was still dealing with the aftermath of the Second World War.

Polke, who is a few years younger than Kiefer (and who pasted away in 2010) first got artworld recognition when he organized an exhibition together with Gerhard Richter and Konrad Fischer that started the movement “Capitalist Realism” (Kapitalistischer Realismus) in 1963. It can be seen as a German version of the American pop art where much of the source material came from newspapers and magazines. Mass consumerism rose to a higher form of art. The title of their movement was also a direct word play towards Socialist Realism; the style of painting promoted by the Sovjet Union. Both Richter and Polke came from the former East German state.  

Richter himself was also presented in London as the new Marian Goodman Gallery opened a solo exhibition of his latest work the stripe paintings in her new gallery. Although she is 86 years old she decided to open a new big gallery in the heart of Soho, London.


A visitor looks at NGC 5892, 2013 by Argentine artist Tomas Saraceno(AFP)

My last meeting in London was with Gunnar Kvaran the Icelandic curator and director of the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo. The museum just moved into a new building by Renzo Piano and is definitely worth a visit. Gunnar has done some incredible contemporary shows and he is working with the Public Art team on the Brazilian part our Here There exhibition that will open in December. Gunnar has travelled extensively in Brazil and studied the Brazilian contemporary art scene.

It is promising to become a great exhibition specifically due to the combination with our own young Qatari artists. 6 weeks left!


RE Vuillard (LAX) by Friedrich Kunath(Getty)

*Front image: A man looks at an artwork by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson entitled Schools of Movement Sphere at the Frieze Art Fair in London(AFP)

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