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  • Oct 07, 2016

Highlights from Frieze London 2016

This year Frieze London fell for monochrome and portraiture—whether on canvas or a sly selfie on an iPhone. Stepping over the Regent’s Park threshold, British artist Edmund de Waal’s first solo presentation with Gagosian London set the tone for the fair. The ceramist’s installation of delicate porcelain vessels, contrasted by new, dark works using graphite, silver and alabaster, found echoes in the works displayed across over the fair's 160 participating galleries. Hans op de Beeck’s white installation, created in collaboration with New York's Marianne Boesky Gallery, was consistently thronging with groups posing in its blank booth, in front of a whitened bookcase replete with skulls, burnt candle sticks and an incongruous spray can. Close by, both Tacita Dean’s Et Nubes (2016) at London’s Frith Street Gallery, an astounding chalky cloud formation on two vast blackboard panels (not dissimilar from her slate pieces in her current solo show at the gallery), and William Kentridge’s assortment of black, stainless steel silhouettes at Milan's Galleria Lia Rumma, were lessons in simplicity.

In the Focus section, dedicated to younger galleries, things were kept polished yet not without a splash of experimental fun. Frutta, a young gallery from Rome, brought together six of its artists to create a sociable, mock-up trattoria. Near the black-tie waiter were Lauren Keeley’s tables—set for two, with generous plates of black-and-white pasta and the isolated limbs of lovers nestled underneath—which complimented Santo Tolone’s amusing spinning nudes. Rather more gimmicky was Jon Rafman’s virtual-reality installation at London's Seventeen gallery, a cavort through a fantasy white landscape, which merits more attention for the amusing positions it put visitors in. There was certainly no need for the Live Art stage opposite the stand.

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