Small sculptural conundrums

Marcus Coates, Crucifixes for Various Amphibians, 2000

It was flicking though a book at the Grizedale Arts installation at Frieze Art Fair that alerted me to the existence of Marcus Coates’s Crucifixes for Various Amphibians, a simple but intriguing work made of lolly sticks, elastic bands and paper clips. At a time of year when I often get students to make work from a limited range of basic materials – with lolly sticks a popular choice – this was a real find. I’m always happy to come across work that backs up my assertion that art can be made of anything but what makes this work especially pleasing is quite how much Coates has managed to say with a couple of dozen lolly sticks and a few elastic bands and paper clips.

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Fairground attractions

Joanna Rajkowska, Forcing a Miracle, 2012

One of the things I usually enjoy about Frieze is strength of the commissioned projects; indeed Pierre Huyghe’s Recollection remains my strongest – um, sorry – recollection of last year’s fair. So what of Frieze 2012?

Well, sadly the first of this year’s Frieze Projects was somewhat lost on me. Though I like the idea of Joanna Rajkowska’s Forcing a Miracle – transforming an area of the park into a gently smoking field of incense – my engagement with the piece was reduced to, well, pretty much zero really by having a cold and not being able to smell anything. Incense in the open air is never going to have the intensity it achieves in a confined space, but even so under other circumstances this might have made rather more of an impact on me.

Maybe things would pick up once I got inside…

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