Julio Etchart, scouting out London Art Fair at the Islington Business Centre, gives us his highlights from this year’s show. With a rumorous cloud hanging over the London art market hopes are high that LAF kicks off a buoyant 2023, filled with new ideas, new collections and exciting times ahead.
London Art Fair 2023 Preview Info
The London Art Fair is back in Islington’s Business Design Centre with a vibrant talks and events programme, including the unveiling of a limited edition print as part of Barts Heritage’s 900 by cartographer extraordinaire, Adam Dant, who has been commissioned to produce a commemorative map celebrating the 900th anniversary of St Bartholomew’s Hospital and the launch of Dant’s exclusive limited-edition print sold in support of Barts Heritage.
The schedule includes discussions with artists, curators, art market experts, and key partners on current trends and topics emerging this year. There are panels exploring the latest developments in digitisation, social change, and the virtual-art market.
Catherine McCormack, art historian, author and independent curator, will chair What is the Role of Museums Today? Considering the social and political aspects and responsibilities of museums in relation to the art world ecosystem. Additionally, the Fair’s 2023 Museum partner, Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, Executive Chair of Trustees David Glasser, will run an in conversation with Sam Phillips, Editor of RA Magazine, as they explore Ben Uri’s radical reinvention as a ‘virtual museum’ and what opportunities digitisation offers for small museums in challenging times.
In the technology field, Women Artists Shaping the Metaverse, chaired by Brooke Theis from Harper’s Bazaar, will consider the opportunity the virtual-art market presents women; the ways in which female artists are building communities in the metaverse; and the women traders who are making their mark. The Future of NFT Investment – has the dust really settled? Continues the technology focus, asking why invest in NFTs? After the explosion and subsequent slump in the past 18 months, the sector is now reporting a comeback. The panel, chaired by Gareth Fletcher, Director of Programmes at Sotheby’s Institute, will discuss understanding NFTs in terms of aesthetic value, as well as tips on how best to invest in them from a legal perspective.
Ruth Millington, art historian and curator of London Art Fair 2023’s Platform exhibition Reframing the Muse, will chair a panel discussion asking Does the Artist’s Muse Have a Place in the Modern World? The panel will discuss the role, representation, and history of the muse, across time and cultures, from the Bloomsbury Group to today. To celebrate Reframing the Muse, the drag king Orlando, persona of Holly James Johnston, will present a lip-sync and dance performance which melds masculinities and femininities.
The 2023 talks programme will also see talks chaired by Pryle Berhman, curator of London Art Fair’s new Encounters section, and Jo Baring, Director of The Ingram Collection, who will chair a dissection of what we mean by ‘modern British art’ in Revisiting Modern British Art. Apollo’s panel Drawn from Life: Biography in British Art History will see Peter Parker and Florence Evans investigate the impact of a rise in return to the biographical method on entrenching particular ways of looking at the work of artists and how far can it enable the possibility of broadening out the story of modern British art to encompass neglected voices.
London Art Fair also sees the return of Photography Focus Day on Friday 20 January, which will include three critical talks based around the themes emerging from this year’s Photo50 exhibition Beautiful Experiments whose featured artists’ works explore domestic life and the idea of “home”. Pelumi Odubanjo, one of Photo50’s co-curators, will initiate by leading the panel Where do Artists Gather? A discussion on where today’s artists and photographers can find places to gather and form communities, and how these spaces develop. Additional talks will explore Home, Memory and Diaspora, Searching for Homeplace and How do women curate photography? Photography Focus Day will also contain a performance by Ebun Sodipo, a trans, black-british performance artist, who will explore what it means to create a home ‘away’ from home with a performance.
Marking 30 years since their first stand at London Art Fair, Narborough is returning this year with a one-person show featuring the work of Rachel Nicholson and Glasgow Print Studio will be celebrating their 50-year anniversary with a special exhibition celebrating 50 years of printmaking.
Jealous Gallery will be launching a new limited edition by David Shrigley alongside some other exclusive artworks created for the event including prints by Kate Gibb and Jess Wilson. While new to the Fair for 2023 Cactus Moon Studio will release work by Hilary Doyle alongside presenting Minyoung Kim’s original works on paper.
Tanya Baxter Contemporary will be presenting a highly sought after Andy Warhol screen print entitled Reigning Queens – Queen Elizabeth II of The United Kingdom alongside oil paintings by Bridget Riley and William Scott. Elizabeth Xi Bauer will exhibit large new format etchings by Theodore Ereira-Guyer stitched to fabric with new paintings by Abraham Kritzman and Cătălin Marius Petrișor Hereșanu, in dialogue with ceramics by Marta Jakobovits.
For the first time, London Art Fair has commissioned an artwork to wrap the iconic front of the Business Design Centre from artist Charley Peters. Charley Peters is a London-based painter whose work is concerned with the spatial potential of the painted surface, on which she applies subtle variations in colour, tone and scale to construct illusionary light and structural depth. Her work is set to illuminate the front of the building on those dark January nights and will be echoed within the Fair in the entrance to Encounters.
London Art Fair’s popular Thursday Late, sponsored by Visit Malta, will run from 5-9pm on Thursday 19 January. At the late opening, art lovers can enjoy the Fair after dark alongside the sounds of a Live DJ Set for an alternative art world experience.
From 5–8pm visitors are invited to join Jealous Gallery and Print Studio for a Live Print Demonstration in the Encounters section of the Fair where they will be able to take home a print from artist Bench Allan in return for making a donation to Tottenham Food Bank.
Full information is available at https://www.londonartfair.co.uk/talks-and-tours-2023/ where spaces for all talks and tours can be pre-booked to secure spaces.
LONDON ART FAIR – 18 – 22 January 2023
Business Design Centre, 52 Upper St, London N1 0QH
All photos by Julio Etchart (www.julioetchart.com)
Julio Etchart is a documentary photographer, poet and artist.