It’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer scale and density of an art fair. Outside of this manic model, how often do we immerse ourselves in the work of as many artists in a single afternoon? An art fair can end up feeling less like a smorgasbord of delicacies and more akin to competitive hot dog eating. Oof… you’d better loosen that belt. The London Art Fair offers an antidote to the over-indulgence with Art Projects, a platform within the fair dedicated to emerging galleries still making a name for themselves. Here, younger and more experimental artists are to be found, many of whom have never before exhibited in London.
Xiao-Yang Li is a young Chinese artist presenting work at Narrative Projects, ahead of her first solo museum exhibition at Mexico’s Museo Leonora Carrington in January 2019. Her paintings are ceramics explore mythical ideals and the unknown, looking to human and animal figurines from early Greek periods to inform works that playfully straddles the ancient and the contemporary. Meanwhile, young Dutch artist Simone Albers presents some seriously psychedelic work with O-68, where large-scale wall-hangings interact with paintings that use glass to play with layers and transparency. The illusion of depth on a flat surface is reminiscent of our daily experience of digital immersion, whether on laptops or smartphones, and speaks to one of the most pressing human conditions of today.
Also to be found are a curated set of twelve international galleries who have been paired together for the fair, enacting a dialogue between the two in their shared presentations. London-based Cob Gallery present work by Katja Angela and Alba Hodsoll, both of whom explore the body to reach towards a new type of physicality, whether in digital college or more traditional paint and ink. The gallery has been paired with Kubik Gallery from Porto, who are showing the work of two Brazilian artists, Felipe Cohen and Ana Prata. Taken as a whole, Art Projects helps towards easing the overload (don’t forget about the rest of the fair), as well as shining a light on artists who it is that much rarer to see exhibited in the capital.