START art fair is in its second year, opening this week at London’s Saatchi Gallery and continuing throughout the weekend. The fair focuses on ‘emerging artists, new art scenes’ — for some galleries this is their first fair — around the world. However, we were especially impressed with the London galleries, four of our top five are showing in their home city.
Kristin Hjellegjerde’s artists are consistently boisterous and enjoyable, though many use this vitality to convey a deeper political message, such as Muhammad Zeeshan and Celina Teague who have both recently shown at the gallery. Dawit Abebe is a strong focus of this START booth, an Ethiopian painter who creates intense figurative work, and pairs up with organisations such as UNICEF to run workshops in his country with local homeless children. Also showing are Martine Poppe, Fredrik Raddum and Ephrem Solomon.
This relatively new East London gallery are also known for showing a mix of playful, tongue-in-cheek works and more serious political work, opening the brilliant Suckerz this Summer, and Joanna Rajkowska’s Painkillers next week. For START they have curated a solo booth from the artist David Ben White, who has created a mix of paintings and sculptures that playfully merge ideas of modernism, naivety and handmade craft.
Indieguerillas, Kim Eull and Park Kyung Ryul are all represented in this group booth from the Los Angeles gallery, BAIK Art. All three artists have a jam-packed approach to their work, often using 3D assemblages to display a number of interests, from consciousness to folklore and imagination. Respectively from Yogyakarta-Indonesia (Indieguerillas is made up of Santi Ariestyowanti and Dyatmiko“Miko”Bawono) and Korea (Kim Eull and Park Kyung Ryul).
East London gallery, Roman Road was founded in 2013 and features new to mid-career artists. At START they feature the work of Aida Silvestri, with Even This Will Pass — a group of photographs that focus on human trafficking and the Eritrea regime. The artist photographs refugees through a blurred lens, respecting their privacy but also creating a sense of lost identity. A coloured thread stitched onto each photograph maps the subject’s journey, an accompanying piece of writing discussing their experiences.
SE15 gallery, Arcadia Missa have a glorious booth that reflects this moment in art, with film stills from Hannah Quinlan Anderson & Rosie Hastings. Swathes of pastel tones fill these images, their scenes sitting halfway between the sharpness of a camera image and the smoothness of a digital creation. These works also have a painterly quality to them, the authentic and the synthetic merging as one luscious whole.
START art fair runs all weekend at Saatchi Gallery, London.