Myths, miracles and the scent of outer-space: our highlights from Frieze London

Francis Upritchard at Kate MacGarry

Francis Upritchard at Kate Macgarry, 2016

Marguerite Humeau at C L E A R I N G, Visions, 2016

Yuri Pattison, Frieze Artist Award, 2016

Celia Hempton at Southard Reid

Katie Paterson at Ingleby Gallery, Candle (from Earth into a Black Hole), 2015

Sibylle Berg and Claus Richter, Wonderland Ave, Frieze Project

Berta Fischer at Karin Guenther, Derminox, 2016

Jon Rafman at Seventeen, Transdimensional Serpent, 2016

Lloyd Corporation at Carlos/Ishikawa

Kohei Nawa at Pace Gallery, Pixcell Deer, 2011

Limoncello and TARO NASU

Julie Verhoeven, Frieze Project

Philippe Parreno at Pilar Corrias, Speech Bubbles, 2016 and Shahzia Sikander's projection

Marguerite Humeau, Yuri Pattison, Philippe Parreno, Jon Rafman and more make our list of must-see booths this year, with a particularly strong showing from Frieze Projects

From a candle scented with the elemental notes of the universe to an experimental robotic puppet show, this year’s Frieze London offers an ambitious programme of new projects and interactive work. Read on for our pick of the must-sees at the fair. 


Francis Upritchard at Kate MacGarry

Strange figurines crouch and recline on colourful shelves, crafted by Francis Upritchard for her solo showing at the Kate Macgarry booth. The artist is best known for her small-scale figurative sculptures which often embody a constellation of historical and contemporary references. Within the block-coloured booth and displayed on modernist furniture, they become like artefacts of a non-existent time. Like a surreal museum, her forms exist in a world where the ancient and contemporary collide, with inca hats and Egyptian-esque urns presented alongside human-like figures clothed in culturally ambiguous costumes. At first glance one of the sculptures could even be another Frieze visitor, clad in a garish purple ensemble and tie-dye cap, making their presence all the more disconcerting.


Marguerite Humeau at


On her quest to give voice to the lost stories of the prehistoric, Marguerite Humeau brings audiences face to face with history and myth. She speculates about what is, was and could have been. In the case of Visions, a selection of elephant-like sculptures from her recent FOXP2 series are on display with C L E A R I N G (New York). Made from various synthetic materials the works are abstract and yet thoroughly distinctive, and breathe new life into the Frieze tent. Referred to as ‘prototypes of beings’, each exist at different stages of sentience. Wailing with digitally synthesised voices, courtesy of Humeau and her team, these modern histories offer an imaginative response to the origins of language, love and consciousness. Humeau has also created a new digital project for POSTmatter: explore it here.


Yuri Pattison, Frieze Project

It has been a busy year for Yuri Pattison, from his summer solo show ‘user, space’ at Chisenhale Gallery to his selection for this year’s Frieze Artist Award. A series of monitors and surveillance cameras are installed within the fair, compiling an open-ended stream of fragmented phrases and transient information from the Internet of Things. Text is superimposed over live footage of the nearby BT Tower, itself a beacon of communications technology, although it was evident from the array of smartphones on show at the fair that the modern dynamics of telecommunications have radically shifted. The data on display is at turns banal, conversational and bewildering, and extends Pattison’s interest in the power structures and human relationships that exist behind the networked tools that we have become so accustomed to.


Celia Hempton at Southard Reid

Celia Hempton paints portraits, but not as you might expect them. Full-frontal close-ups of anonymous men are rendered in rich pastel shades and deep dark hues. Flaccid penises flop lazily against reclining thighs, sketched in the same broad brushstrokes that extend across the booth itself. The walls become a newly intimate terrain, suggestive of a macro view of its subjects’ skin, sensual and enveloping. Many of her subjects are found on the social networking website Chatroulette, through which Hempton interweaves the ephemeral connections of the digital realm with the physicality of portraiture and painting. Her nudes proved rather too confrontational for some: one man was overheard cracking cock-and-balls-based puns, before Hempton’s gallerist pointedly enquired whether he would be continuing with his game. “This booth… this booth is just nuts!” he burst out, before scurrying on his way.


Katie Paterson at Ingleby Gallery

Tucked away beside The Nineties project, Frieze’s new section dedicated to memorialising the fair’s cultural heritage, is a Scottish gallery looking back even further into our collective history with Glasgow-born artist Katie Paterson. The smell of space is in the air, borne out of a candle scented with elemental notes of the universe. As if on a journey between planets, we’re transported from earth to ozone, sun, asteroid belt, old stars then finally a black hole over the course of the candle’s 12 hour burn. Both astronomy and perfumery, spirituality and science, Paterson’s interdisciplinary practice is mystically life-affirming. On the ground below find Campo del Cielo, Field of the Sky, a meteorite, cast, melted and recast back into a new version of itself, an experiment into the possibilities of warping and renewing time and space.


Sam Falls at Galleria Franco Noero

Also exploring the human relationship with time is American interdisciplinary artist and former student of physics, linguistics and aesthetics, Sam Falls. Presenting his brand new pieces Monument to Time (Mountains) and Monument to Time (Land) with Turin gallery Galleria Franco Noero, he continues his aesthetic exploration of the slippery role of art in the representation of time. In this case, Falls reworks geological matter, moulding it as the physical manifestation of deep time. Sharp geometric structures made from carefully sculpted slabs of marble, aluminium, copper and cor-ten steel are erected as modern testaments and memorials to the origins of the earth.


Sibylle Berg and Claus Richter, Wonderland Ave, Frieze Project

An experimental puppet show comes to Frieze Projects this year, situating two actors in tense conversation with four supremely creepy robots. Scripted by Sibylle Berg, the newly commissioned play finds humankind under the control of machines, medicated and sedated. The dystopian scenario is perfectly offset by Claus Richter’s powder pink set, complete with saccharine inspirational messages and miniature buddha figurine, which is grounded just close enough to our own reality to be decidedly unsettling.


Berta Fischer at Karin Guenther

At Frieze, most people are looking at the art through their iPhones. As one gallerist succinctly put it, while observing a crowd of visitors taking photos, “People used to come here to buy art, now they just Instagram it.” One intriguing instance of this is the Berlin based-artist Berta Fischer’s luminescent sculptures, shown at the stand of Hamburg gallery Karin Guentha, which take on another life when photographed. Fischer utilises glass, plastic and new materials to create original and striking formations, Often exploring the tensions between the natural and the artificial, her 2016 work Derminox, a shining pink glass sculpture, draws in many a magpie-eyed passer-by to the booth. As an image, it could just as convincingly be a digital animation captured and contorted in motion.


Jon Rafman at Seventeen

Virtual Reality has emerged as a key component of Jon Rafman’s work, and led to lengthy queues of visitors eager to immerse themselves at both his solo commission at the Zabludowicz Collection last year and at this summer’s Berlin Biennale. His latest Oculus exploration is the four-minute Transdimensional Serpent. Visitors sit atop an immense white snake, a sculptural installation at the booth that appears to be brought to life as the headset is slipped on, twisting and turning within Rafman’s fantastical world. Led through back-alleys and dense forests, it is easy to forget yourself even in the midst of the fair, although the return back to reality is made all the harder because of it.


Angelo Plessas, The Breeder

The Breeder booth is a firm favourite for post-digital architecture, this year erecting a space-age tent that acts as a modern Plato’s cave to prop up Athens-based artist Angelo Plessas’ video installation. In and around the foil construction are fake rocks, shells, dreams catchers, screens and a purple disco ball, creating a vision of a technologically dominated present, where we look to old mythologies to find meaning today. “Our screens and our cities have become our caves”, a screen beside the tent reads, where our lethargic interactions consist of a “a poke here, a favourite here”, asking the reader to step out of the shadows - and the tent - to begin to heal.


Lloyd Corporation at Carlos/Ishikawa

Enter through a door plastered with print-out flyers and sellotaped notices, familiar to anyone who has ever stepped foot in a British corner shop or late-night off-license, and discover Lloyd Corporation’s meticulously assembled internet cafe. The artist duo Sebastian Lloyd Rees and Ali Eisa have created an installation put together from items and signage taken from shuttered shops and scrapyards. Transplanted to the fair, the aesthetics of the everyday and the overlooked are reassessed. It is an uncomfortable experience to instantly recognise the environment and its materials in this context; more-often ignored and quickly forgotten, they hint at the larger underlying economic and political prejudices that lead to a larger societal divide.


TeamLAB at Pace gallery

The gallery presents a diverse and refreshing selection of works this year, including a futuristic light work from american artist Leo Villareal, a gouged marble bust by Kevin Francis and Kohei Nawa’s Pixcell Deer, life-sized and covered with luminescent baubles, which impressively melds digital aesthetics with physical craftsmanship. Catching a lot of attention is artist collective TeamLAB’s Flowers and People, an four-panel computer-generated piece depicting flowers in a cycle of growth and decay. Depending on where you are stood, the flowers shed their petals, wither and die, or come to life, so that the work continually adapts, with the viewer at the centre of this never-ending cycle.   


Ryan Gander curates at Limoncello x TARO NASU

In their shared booth, London’s Limoncello and Tokyo’s TARO NASU’s offering to Frieze fans is imbued with the casual connections brought about by chance. The pyramid display of works, serendipitously curated by artist Ryan Gander with only a pair of dice, has allowed for an equilibrium between established and more emerging artists to form. With a curatorial practice that Gander has employed before, notably in ‘The Way In Which It Landed’ for Tate Britain, where works were selected by the toss of a coin, a playful collaboration between one of UK’s freshest galleries and Japan’s finest from an early generation has blossomed. Find an array of works by Vanessa Billy, Mika Tajima, Bedwyr Williams, Liam Gillick and many more.


Julie Verhoeven, Frieze Project

Soft and sweet 60s pop is trickling from the speakers, while rolls of bright pink and blue loo roll are unravelling across the carpeted floor. For her project at this year’s Frieze, Julie Verhoeven has taken over the toilets, exaggerating their typical features and functions – and gloriously so. Attendants (one of whom is played by Verhoeven herself) busy themselves with knotting tampons together in a rhythmic motion akin to knitting, sprinkling talcum powder on cartoonish soft plush renderings of excrement, and scattering pot-pourri in sinks. As with many of her immersive projects, she confronts class and gender stereotypes, seeking out access points within society through which to level the playing field and dissolve preconceived assumptions.


Philippe Parreno at Pilar Corrias

In his new and impressive Tate commission Anywhen, Philippe Parreno has turned the Turbine Hall into an immersive multi-part theatre of shifting sounds, digital visuals – and some floating blow-up fish. In keeping with the balloon theme, that Parreno often returns to, London gallery Pilar Corrias present his 2016 work Speech Bubbles, a collection of cartoon-like and contradictingly speechless speech balloons. In the booth the bright orange bubbles hang suspended from the ceiling over a video animation by Pakistani-born Shahzia Sikander, in a visual spectacle that would be hard to miss, even amongst the flurry of the fair.


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