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London Art Fair 2010

The London Art Fair 2010 was held from the 13 to the 17th of January 2010 in Islington. Zanny Mellor enjoyed losing herself amongst this annual hustle and bustle of bountiful creativity!

Written by Zanny Mellor


Thomas Allen, view Unreachable, viagra 100mg 2009, adiposity Chromogenic Print, 20 x 24 inches, Courtesy of Foley Gallery

I always get rather excited about large art fairs or exhibitions as you have hours of perusing and inspiration ahead of you and the hum of conversation in the air adds to the buzz.  The annual London Art Fair features over 100 galleries promoting 20th Century British art and focuses predominantly on painting while also featuring photography, drawing, installations, video art and print editions.


Photograph courtesy of Lil Wizz

Formally the Royal Agricultural Hall, The Business Design Centre was saved from demolition in 1981 and re-invented as an exhibition, trade and conference centre and is certainly a spectacular cavernous venue for a large gathering of galleries and art dealers.


Isabel Rock, Lord Foster, 2009, Pen ink and collage on print, Courtesy of Bearspace

One theme did catch my eye as being on-trend – paper-cut illustration.  It has taken the art world by storm.  You are probably familiar with Rob Ryans illustrations, currently being featured in every commercial format from magazines to packaging.  Well, it appears that the fine art world have a penchant for paper-cut art as well.

IMG_3330Photograph courtesy of Zanny Mellor


Wild Waters 2009, courtesy of Georgia Russell, Cut 19th-century engraving in acrylic case, 28 x 30.75 x 2.5 inches

England & Co were showcasing the artists’ books of Georgia Russell, who has taken her scalpel for a walk in the library!  She transforms books, music scores, maps, newspapers and photographs, giving each a new lease of life.  Her three-dimensional book works are created by hand-shredding every page in a book and distilling them in bell jars or perspex boxes, allowing the viewer to take a different meaning from the original title. Evolution and Natural Selection reacts well to this method of presentation, dithering somewhere between museum artefact and artwork. Choosing such an eminent title obviously ensures collect-ability but Russell’s deconstruction of Charles Darwin’s famous publication is quite a find, seeming to have animal fur spilling it out of it.

IMG_3289Photograph courtesy of Zanny Mellor

The Sims Reed Gallery was exhibiting some exquisite screenprints by Eduardo Paolozzi, which had me dissecting and digesting their infinite layers, geometric patterns and cacophony of colours for some time.  His surrealist mish-mash of subject matter creates very interesting compositions that sometimes resemble plan views of cities or a diagram of the inner workings of machines.  So layered and complex are his prints that you could not get bored of having one of those on your wall.


John Piper, Sea Buildings, 1938, Oil, pencil & ripolin on canvas laid on panel, 12 x 16 inches, Courtesy of Richard Green

Diagrams and maps are perhaps the perfect marriage of fact and interpretation, science and art.  As artists, we visually document the world around us and map-making appears to be one of those visual forms which encompasses our desire to find the truth but also to create with our hands.  Jason Wallis-Johnson, also represented by England & Co tirelessly produces mesmerisingly detailed maps based on a number of cities around the world.


Jason Wallis-Johnson, Imaginary Cities 2002, Pencil and ink on paper

His drawings are not direct but transferred from carbon paper, giving them a soft elegance untouched by hand.  The 3-dimensional pieces are even more captivating.  They are created by pin-pricking black carbon paper and setting them on lightboxes, giving the drawings a glow that more than realistically depicts night-time aerial photographs of the cities which he obsesses over.  Such detailed work has led to him being collected by The British Musueum and the V&A to name a few.  It seems that his work, like Georgia Russell’s can’t make it’s mind up as to whether it is art or artefact, 2 or 3 dimensional.


Photograph courtesy of Lil Wizz


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