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October brought the 14th edition of Frieze London. 160 galleries from 30 countries contributed to the exhibition, attracting a record number of collectors to whom significant sales were made. Several major acquisitions by international institutions were also completed in what proved to be the most exciting year to date for Regent’s Park most anticipated art gathering.

The ushering-in of a brand new section – The Nineties – carried special interest into 2016’s art fair, as Geneva-based curator Nicolas Trembley selected 14 galleries to restage some of the most ground-breaking shows of that seminal decade.
Highlighting key collaborations between artists and dealers that have proven to provide a lasting influence on contemporary art, The Nineties recreated some of those critical moments that first took place in galleries across London, New York, Paris and Cologne in the ambitious and exciting nineties era.
Presentations included: Wolfgang Tillman’s first ever exhibition at Daniel Buchholz’s gallery in 1993; Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s iconic room installation R.W.F. (Rainer Werner Fassbinder) from 1992 (recreated by Esther Schipper); and Christian Nagel’s 1992 group exhibition ‘Wohnzimmer / Büro’ (Living room / office), including the original wallpaper designed by Jörg Schlick (Galerie Nagel Draxler, Berlin).
The section was an immediate success, with further highlights including Berlin’s Daniel Pflumm’s work in collapsing the boundaries between electronic music production, nightlife and art.
Marie-Christine Molitor, Director of Galerie Neu, Berlin commented: “The general response to the nineties section has been really good. It gave us the opportunity to show Daniel Pflumm’s work in a new setting. Frieze is strong with its curated sections – with the Live section as well, and with helping young galleries – giving them a chance to be seen. We’re very happy about the positive experience this year.”
Frieze London once again engaged the crowds with its pioneering section for participatory and performance art. Historical and new projects abound, the 14th edition of the fair welcomed a first-of-kind installation from the ground-breaking work of Berlin-based artist Christine Sun Kim.
Deaf since birth, Kim’s project explored the “materiality of sound through performance” to break open new fields of perception to both non-hearing and hearing audiences. Including instances of performance, video and drawing, Kim’s work centres around what she calls “hearing etiquette” – the behaviours that she indeed finds herself adopting to remain within the socially accepted boundaries of a hearing-defined world.
Kim’s new performance Nap Disturbance featured herself amidst a group of other performers (some deaf, some hearing) as they explored the sonic range of everyday objects – everything from food packaging to crockery. Starting quietly and then crescendoing, the at once humorous and sincere performance challenges the standards set by a predominantly hearing world, as she takes us through from a “polite to not-so-polite” sonic experience.
Advised by museum curators Jacob Proctor (Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, University of Chicago) and Fabian Schöneich (Portikus, Frankfurt), Focus formed the definitive section of the fair, featuring 36 galleries from emerging new talents.
A slew of new-generation London galleries joined Focus this year – Arcadia Missa (presenting works by Jesse Darling, Dean Blunt and Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings), Seventeen (presenting Jon Rafman) and Southard Reid (presenting Celia Hempton) – with Guatemala and Taiwan also being represented for the first time by Proyectos Ultravioleta (presenting Elisabeth Wild and Vivian Suter) and Chi-Wen Gallery (presenting Yin-Ju Chen).
Esperanza Rosales, founder and director of VI, VII comments: “This was our first time participating in the Focus section, and we’ve enjoyed it. There are lot of discoveries to be had here. It’s not at every fair that you feel the need to slow the pace of getting to your own booth down to stop and see others. It’s been a great audience and a great crowd; a lot of institutional contacts to build upon, a lot of press attention and in terms of sales we’ve done well so I’m happy. The visibility of the platform is tremendous. To bring lesser known artists to Frieze where the audience is so large is incomparable.”
The coveted Frieze Art Fair Stand Prize was this year awarded to Kurimanzutto, Mexico City (D7), for their outstanding presentation of works by Leonor Antunes, Roman Ondak, and Gabriel Orozco.
Kurimanzutto said: “We are delighted and honoured to have received the prize for the best stand – Monica and Jose have decided to donate the prize money to a charity in Mexico, dealing with refugees. A lot of people who’ve come to the booth have spoken positively about the fair this year – it feels super vibrant with The Nineties and Focus sections. And the Frieze team have been great at introducing us to new collectors that we didn’t know, people from Latin America but also Europeans who are discovering galleries from elsewhere. We’re very pleased with sales this year – we’ve sold Leonor Antunes to a private foundation.”
The inaugural Focus Stand Prize went to Proyectos Ultravioleta, Guatemala City. Stefan Benchoam, co-founder said: “The fair this year has been really incredible for us – the perfect first experience – and we couldn’t have expected more. We were pleasantly surprised to receive the stand prize – the jury who give prizes here are such recognised curators so it’s great to have the validation from them. We’ve had great sales and are really happy.”
Frieze was founded in 1991 by Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp, and now forms the world’s leading platform for modern and contemporary art. It attracts scholars, collectors, connoisseurs and the general public alike through its international fairs – Frieze London, Frieze New York and Frieze Masters – and four magazine publications: frieze, frieze d/e, Frieze Masters Magazine and Frieze Week.