Reflections: London Art Fair 2023

A week has passed since the London Art Fair was in full force at the Business Design Centre in Islington, North London. Emerging and established galleries alike come together each year to showcase some of the best talent on their roster. One of my favorite sections is Encounters, where younger galleries show emerging artists and I always seem to discover something new there. 

Thinking about all of the art I saw, four pieces have stayed in my mind since first I first engaged with them. Read on to find out which ones they were.

 

 Andras Nagy Sandor at Artistellar Gallery

The first work that made an impression on me was a painting by Hungarian artist Andras Nagy Sandor. The soft blending of colors with the painterly brush strokes on the larger canvas were breathtaking. The main focus of Nagy Sandor's practice revolves around the aspirations, but also the ambivalences, within his masculinity. Standing in front of the work, I kept discovering new elements like a hand or an eye, but Nagy Sandor evades figuration just enough for the work to feel fluid and impassioned. Artistellar was founded by Adele Smejkal in 2020, originally as a nomadic and online gallery that now has a stunning space in Fitzrovia. The gallery focuses on showing emerging talents for the next generation of art collectors, which is what they beautifully presented at LAF. 

 

Affen Segun at Janet Rady Fine Art

The second work I want to mention is the painting by Nigerian artist Affen Segun titled 'I Stand Before You As Myself', a very recent work from 2022 which is acrylic and Ankara fabric on canvas at Janet Rady Fine Art. The colors, with the eye-catching teal and bright orange, drew me in from afar. The Ankara fabric, an African wax-print fabric made of cotton, created another visual and symbolic layer within the composition. I had also become quite captivated by the gaze of the subject, locking eyes with me as my own gaze wandered over his face, taking in the small details like his jewellery or the light shining on his cheek.

 

Andy Harper at James Freeman Gallery 

The third work was seen at James Freeman Gallery who presented a large variety of works in different mediums ranging from drawing to painting to sculpture. The painting, titled ‘Threefold’ by British artist Andy Harper, had such vibrant colors through its medium of oil on board. I found it interesting that the forms created seemed like they were both computer-generated and organic, creating an oxymoron through its visual language. Established in 2003, James Freeman Gallery shows artists that take a contemporary approach to historicism who combine current issues with art historical references and research. Currently on view until February 4th in their Islington location, not far from the Business Design Centre, is a fabulous exhibition with works by Mark Connolly that I also wholeheartedly recommend.

 

Bongsu Park with Artscapy

The final work which made me stop in my tracks was by Bongsu Park in Observing the Human, an exhibition by the artist collective Noonssup. The exhibition showed works by five South Korean artists who have taken on the challenge of presenting their interpretation of what the term observation, or the act of observing, could entail. Most of the works also contained elements of technology, either referencing it in the subject matter or presented via a digital medium. ‘Dream View’, the single channel video by Park, absolutely mesmerized me. Playing in a kaleidoscopic loop is a video of multimedia performances that took place in a theater in London that encompassed dance, live electronic music and visual projections. Much of her practice revolves around dreams, and in this particular work, the enchanting way in which performance is rendered is akin to the scenarios that are presented in our minds in dream-like states, with figures moving in and out, backwards and forwards, psychedelic and organic. 

This year, the London Art Fair delivered a great presentation that included some amazing galleries and artists. The next one is taking place in January 2024, and you can bet I will be there to discover some amazing pieces.

 

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