Snapshots from Frieze New York, held in Randall’s Island Park.
Pictures courtesy of Frieze New York and Construct London.
Snapshots from Frieze New York, held in Randall’s Island Park.
Pictures courtesy of Frieze New York and Construct London.
Editor in Chief of design and culture website Trendland, Ani Tzenkova, reports back on Trendland’s top pieces from the Frieze Art Fair in New York.
“Lisa Williamson’s new works presented by Shane Campbell Gallery take Trendland’s top Frieze honours for perfectly cleansing our palette after a day of boisterous visual impact.
I’m not sure if it was the poised combination of powdery blues, pinks and yellows, or if I was reacting to the cleansing and meditative effect it held over me, but either way, the pieces were open and clear, non intrusive, and could be interpreted in a way that one could naturally follow the inner logic of Williamson’s head. Williamson’s work is familiar, yet at the same time feels forward, a notion that is highly relevant in pop-culture when achieved this seamlessly. While Frieze had plenty to say about the trends running amok in the art world, Williamson’s work reminded us of the value of simple and concise aesthetics.
Monochromatic, structured, yet drapey and sculptural at the same time, Williamson’s works are meant to be materially ambiguous, focusing primarily on the form. Her use of colour gives hard structures fluidity. High Tilt, featured above, sums up her work perfectly — just the right amount of tension and balance.”
Creative Director Emma Hill and Frieze founders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover hosted an intimate dinner in honour of the artists of Frieze Projects at the debut Frieze New York.
The Mulberry-sponsored Frieze Projects is a not-for-profit initiative featuring commissioned artworks around the outdoor space of Randall’s Island, which are accessible to all visitors to the area.
The artists involved with Frieze Projects attended the dinner, held at The Crown restaurant on New York’s Upper East Side, and joined guests including Lana Del Rey (who sang an exclusive set for our guests), Alexa Chung, Lauren Remington-Platt and the Courtin-Clarins sisters Claire, Jenna, Virginie and Prisca as well as Frieze Projects curator Cecilia Alemani.
We interview artists from Frieze New York’s not-for-profit initiative Frieze Projects alongside its curator Cecilia Alemani. This short film gives an insight into how the participants worked with the site on Randall’s Island and the work involved with this debut Frieze New York.
This interview between Frieze New York Frieze Projects artist Latifa Echakhch and curator Cecilia Alemani was originally published in the Frieze New York bespoke newspaper created by Mulberry and Construct London.
The displacement of objects contradicts perception in the installations of Latifa Echakhch – for Frieze Projects she brings home the iconography of the American West.
Latifa Echakhch is a Moroccan artist based in Martigny, Switzerland. Her installations and sculptural interventions frequently populate galleries and public spaces in Europe and the Unites States. Recently the solo exhibitions “From threshold to threshold” at Museum Haus Esters, Kunstmuseen, Krefeld (2011) and “Le rappel des oiseaux” (The Call of the Birds) at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo (2010) celebrated her work.
Cecilia Alemani: For Frieze New York, you will install hundreds of tumbleweeds on the lush green grass at Randall’s Island. How did you come up with the idea?
Latifa Echakhch: The idea of using tumbleweeds comes from the Western movies I’ve watched. I have always been fascinated by these poor pieces of dry vegetation, which enter scenes only to accentuate moments of suspense, or underline the eeriness of deserted ghost towns and dry cities. I only learnt recently that it is completely natural for the plant to be carried away by the wind—leaving the ground to sow seeds as it tumbles along. They are an iconic part of the American landscape, and they are what I thought of when I was invited to do an outdoor project for Frieze New York.
Alemani: Every time I think of this project I imagine it as a mirage, an uncanny vision in the middle of nowhere. How do you think people will react to the installation?
Echakhch: I do not know how people will react, but when anybody sees tumbleweed, they know exactly what the plant implies; its meaning is logged in our collective memory.
Alemani: There is something slightly romantic about appropriating one of the most iconic symbols of Americana and translating it in such incongruous context. Do you often play on similar contrasts?
Echakhch: The island, with its gigantic psychiatric hospital — almost entirely abandoned — is such a specific context. The majority of the land is used for sport events or farming; it has a quiet promenade, but it’s not far from the crowded city. I imagine the island once all of the visitors have gone, when it is empty. I am interested in the fact that visitors will come from the city to discover something semi-rural, a place that looks like somewhere much further away than it actually is, and find something that accentuates that feeling.
Alemani: In other works, you have invited the viewer to re-examine a familiar object that is unexpectedly presented to us in an idiosyncratic context. Can you talk about this strategy of displacement?
Echakhch: This idea of strangeness is a central point in my interest in art, and I often accentuate it by using objects that you can recognize easily, placing them in situations or environments where you wouldn’t normally expect to find them. There is no mystery, no idea of genius, or extraordinary ability in the objects’ making. Doing this leaves only a few gaps for aesthetic fascination, so one can go directly to questioning the object itself and the context in which it is found.
Alemani: This is not your first public work. For “ILLUMInations” at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, you presented an installation of several flagpoles in the Giardini in front of the Italian Pavilion. How does your work change when presented outdoors, in a public space?
Echakhch: There aren’t that many differences, but conservation, sun damage, and risk of wind all come into play. On the island, the fragility of the installation is the opposite of the Fantasia (2011) installation in the Giardini in Venice. Maybe the fact that the work is outdoors accentuates the idea of landscape. In an indoor exhibition, it’s about the building of a landscape, as a viewer you can almost forget the objects and become completely absorbed as you walk through the installation itself, and then be surprised again when you step back and see the installation as a whole.
Alemani: Your work often seems to exist between physical sculptural presence and its dissolution: I am thinking of a work like Erratum (2004–9), in which you smashed several Moroccan tea glasses against the gallery wall. Can you talk about this polarity?
Echakhch: The difference is between the gesture and its meaning. First, the sculptural installation is aesthetic, contemplative, and it’s mostly about colour, materiality, and space. One can also recompose the temporality of the gesture: the how, the why, and what is behind its intention.
Alemani: Your work seems to hover between a very poetic approach and a deep political involvement. How do you reconcile these two elements in your work?
Echakhch: Poetry is a system of feelings, but also an end in itself. It can be so easy to construct but also so difficult to find, because there is nothing more fragile than the poetry around us. In the same way, I consider the political in an art work as a layer of understanding that could easily be ignored, like it often is in society. But because there is so much around us, in history and in other objects or images, it has to carry a kind of necessity. I just organize, in different ways, how one edits, perceives, and considers these two layers in the installations I make; from there the viewer is free to take it as far as they want.
Kristin Knox, aka The Clothes Whisperer is a long-time Mulberry friend and, up until now, London-based writer. She is now off to pastures new in France, and ended her London dwelling with a lovely photo shoot featuring our aptly named Travel Day Bag.
Photos by Terence Webb.
Frieze Projects is the not-for-profit initiative from Frieze New York. For 2012 eight artists were commissioned to create artworks or installations around the unique setting of Randall’s Island Park in New York, allowing visitors to explore and interact with the commissions.
From spoken word to castings, all eight commissions are individual and full of the artists’ personalities and individual traits. The eight artists are:
In 1979 John Ahearn presented his ‘South Bronx Hall of Fame’ sculptural casts exhibition. A reconstruction of this series of sculptures (realised in collaboration with Rigberto Torres) will be presented inside the fair at Frieze New York, as well as a casting station where Ahearn and Torres will make a new series of commissioned portraits, live for the duration of the fair. During the casting, models are coated in molding gel and must breathe through plastic straws that extend from their nostrils whilst being wrapped in soaked plaster bandages that quickly harden.
Using one of Randall’s Island’s landmarks – an abandoned ticket shack by the boat pier – Uri Aran has turned a derelict structure into a fictional examination room in which actors play the roles of doctors and patients. The examinations are filmed and screened live inside the fair. The project articulates Aran’s ongoing interest
in the depiction of authority figures and power relationships in the media and culture.
In her project, Echakhch turns a patch of lush, green grass on Randall’s Island into an enchanting mirage by mysteriously installing hundreds of tumbleweeds in an incongruous location. Typically seen rolling in the desert or on empty highways in the American Southwest, tumbleweeds have long become icons of classic Western movies and popular imagination. As a threedimensional still life, this constructed illusion invites us to re-examine a familiar object that is unexpectedly made present to us in an idiosyncratic context.
ULLA VON BRANDENBURG
For her project at Frieze New York, Ulla von Brandenburg constructs an outdoor shadow theatre hidden in a brightly striped tent reminiscent of a circus structure. Viewers of all ages are invited to go inside and watch a shadow play that alternates figures, tableaux vivants and music. Borrowing from traditions of commedia dell’arte, burlesque performance and 19th-century Parisian shadow plays, von Brandenburg continues her exploration of the language of theatre and the fascinating power of fiction.
Inspired by the fair’s unique location on Randall’s Island, Rick Moody composed a short story: a literary prototype for an undependable global positioning system. Conceiving Randall’s Island not only as a physical place, but also as an ideal site for imaginary travels, Moody’s anti-destination device emphasizes the pleasure of getting lost.
Los Angeles-based artist Joel Kyack has created a country fair game trailer shaped as a giant body which unfolds simultaneously as an installation, a performance space and a large scale mobile sculpture. The trailer houses two games – one taking place inside the trailer’s ‘mouth’ and the other in its splayed ‘ribcage’. Visitors can play free of charge and win prizes of original artworks that are also part of the overall installation.
Known for her recurrent use of industrial raw materials such as sheetrock, wood beams and cement, Virginia Overton’s sculptural practice defies notions of scale and site specificity. For Frieze New York, Overton reacts to the idyllic landscape of Randall’s Island by installing flexible mirrors among trees, transforming a minimal, seemingly cold material into a sensual, weightless combination of nature and artificiality.
TIM ROLLINS AND K.O.S.
Working on a 40-foot table under a canopy of large leafy oak trees on Randall’s Island, the collaborative team of Tim Rollins and Kids Of Survival (K.O.S.) conduct their first open workshop for children and young people. Participants join forces to create a choral painting inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, painted on score pages from Felix Mendelssohn’s 1828–1842 composition of the same name. The instrumental music Mendelssohn wrote under the spell of the play is relayed on loudspeakers at the site to accompany the work of the participants.
Mulberry sponsored Frieze Projects 2012