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10 Things to See at Frieze London

By Anne-Celine Jaeger

appears Frieze London and Frieze Masters are at the pinnacle of popularity as far as art fairs go. Today even the VIPs were happy to queue round the vast Universal Design Studio-designed building in order to get into the preview, although one lady was overheard saying, “But the princess doesn’t know how to stand in line,” as the lesser-known royalty traipsed her way through the autumnal grass to the end of the long row of eager art buyers.

Photography lovers will not be disappointed, as various galleries have made it a focus of their booth. Attempting to see it all in one day is a gargantuan task. It’s doable, but only if you give yourself at least 45-minutes of down time in Rachel Rose’s phenomenal installation in the Focus section of the fair. The 2015 winner of the Frieze Artist Award has built a scale model of the fair, which visitors must crawl into on their hands and knees – a beautifully democratizing effect – in order to sit on a thick-piled carpet and listen to eight speakers play an enchanting loop of tracks. These and the cosy hutch effect immediately transported me to my teenage years, brought back memories of falling asleep on speakers in clubs, having a crush on other people’s older brothers, going through record collections at sleepovers and secret kisses in attic rooms.

Catherine Opie at the Lehmann Maupin

At the Lehmann Maupin stand, Catherine Opie’s abstract landscapes, diluted and intangible but for the bursts of color and shade, drew me into the booth. I was particularly transfixed by the hypnotic pigment print Untitled #5 (2012) – an “Alpenglühen” of sorts, perhaps a setting sun or the reflection thereof, above a darkening mountain-scape. The artist, whose non-figurative landscapes were exhibited at the Wexner Center For the Arts in 2015, says of these works, “Nature is a dream state at this point… I’m asking people to go back to the sublime and to a place of beauty.” It came down like an apparition, a much-needed inspirational interval during the busy hubbub of the fair.