This year’s Frieze London has a de facto girl power theme. Start at Social Work, a section dedicated to feminists who bucked the late 20th-Century patriarchy. On display will be everything from Sonia Boyce’s Afro-Caribbean-inspired canvases to the late Helen Chadwick’s provocative, anatomical sculptures. Meanwhile, Pilar Corrias will celebrate its 10th birthday with a display of pieces by noteworthy female artists, including the brilliant up-and-comer Tschabalala Self; the Hollybush Gardens stall will house paintings by 2017 Turner Prize-winner Lubaina Himid; and The Modern Institute will present works by the brilliant Glaswegian artist Cathy Wilkes, who has been chosen to represent the UK at the 2019 Venice Biennale.
In the Kitchen by Helen Chadwick, 1977 | Courtesy of the artist and Richard Saltoun Gallery.
Instagramable.’ 2018. Embroidery by Marisa Raygoza.
If your main goal in visiting Frieze is a 10/10 Instagram post, make a beeline for Focus – the fair’s dedicated section for emerging talent. The 2018 line-up includes Hong Kong-based Wong Ping’s immersive neon works – which call to mind retro video games – as well as Penny Goring’s Amelia Paintingsseries, whose motifs include “severed heads, sainted selves, plague flowers, shit-storms, broken horses, curse plants, melting trees, and a set of emergency sticks” – naturally. Another key highlight? Uriel Orlow’s Theatrum Botanicum, a giant conceptual herbarium designed to spotlight the plant world’s role in our existence.
This year’s film section hones in on various different manifestations of control. The most interesting contributions? Paul Pfeiffer’s study of the most intense forms of devotion around the world – from rabid teenage fans of Justin Bieber to infamous TV preachers in their American megachurches – and Lucy Raven’s powerful cinematic renderings of volcanic debris, inspired by the fallout from the 1991 eruption of Mountain Pinatubo in the Philippines.
Bounds (#2) by Uriel Orlow Bounds, 2015 | Courtesy of the artist and Laveronica Arte Contemporan.
Over the last few years, the discussion panels at Frieze have become a highlight of the fair’s schedule. Plan your Friday visit around legendary artist Laurie Anderson’s presentation of her multimedia creations and reflections on American society – or go on Saturday to hear the brilliant photographer Nan Goldin touch on the inspiration behind her famous series, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency and Thanksgiving.
The 2018 Frieze Live programme, “Control ~”, takes its name from the command to reveal all formulas in a spreadsheet, so it’s no surprise that the majority of the performances here will engage with the digital sphere in some way. Take Turner Prize-winner Laure Prouvost’s contribution, which involves an opera singer listening to deeply private conversations around the fair then repeating them at top volume – an eye-opening meditation on the deceptive nature of privacy in the 21st-Century. Also of note? The five public telephones that will be installed as part of a work by French artist Camille Henrot, described as self-help hotlines for those seeking answers to life’s most ridiculous (and pervasive) problems.
Jannis Varelas Untitled, 2017 mixed media on canvas 250×250 cm
Fables 1 by Wong Ping, 2018 | Courtesy of the artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery.
Frieze Masters only includes pieces created before the turn of the millennium, and the objects on display at this year’s event date back over five millennia, from archaic Arctic sculptures to 18th-Century Indian tapestries – all of which are available to purchase. The painterly offerings are particularly strong, with museum-quality canvases by everyone from Edgar Degas to Wassily Kandinsky. More interested in photography? Prints by Man Ray and Dorothea Lange, currently the subject of a major retrospective at the Barbican, will also be on display. If you only visit a single area, however, make it The Dickinson Gallery’s stall, home to a minutely detailed recreation of Barbara Hepworth’s beautiful St Ives garden.
Frieze London 2018 runs from October 4-7.