All the fun of the fair

Frieze Art Fair, London – October 2012, Regent's Park

Frieze Art Fair, London

Art fairs are exhausting. There’s no avoiding the fact that gathering that much art in one place is never going to lead to an especially relaxed viewing experience. But then that’s also what makes art fairs a great chance to see a lot of art in a short space of time. So, in an optimistic frame of mind and my most sensible shoes I headed to Frieze Art Fair in Regent’s Park. As if one art fair wasn’t enough, this year Frieze has grown a second space and a new entity, Frieze Masters, for art made before the year 2,000. In the interests of keeping art overload to reasonable levels I find I need to take things a day, and a fair, at a time, so Frieze Masters will have to wait. As it happens, so will the sculpture garden. Somehow, despite good intentions, once I get in the tent that houses Frieze, I seem unable to leave until required to do so at the end of the day. Having seen more art in a day than I normally would in a month – and by any standards, I see a lot of art – still I leave with the feeling that I have barely scratched the surface.

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Body parts

John Coplans, Frieze, No.8, 2002

Thinking about the fragmented body in Gary Hill‘s Inasmuch As It Is Always Already Taking Place made me think about the self portraiture of John Coplans who repeatedly photographed his own – aging – body for (almost) the last two decades of his life. Several things interest me about Coplans’s work. Firstly, there’s the way they don’t conform to expectations of the nude in art. As the Guerrilla Girls have established, the nude is generally female and in an increasingly youth-centred culture the ageing body isn’t often the subject of attention. Here the focus is on the ordinary.

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