Going from strength-to-strength, since its inception in 1988, the London Art Fair now attracts over 30,000 visitors across its six days on Upper Street. Although primarily aimed at collectors, both individuals and those from institutions, the fair also attracts a wide-range of visitors who go simply for the experience.
It was obvious as soon as we entered the vast hanger-style space, that the fair struck a good balance between credibility, commercial opportunity and an enjoyable evening for all. Large tour groups loitered, more focused individuals negotiated their latest purchase and a whole host of staff offered complimentary beer, magazines, guide-books and the obligatory tote-bag.
The fair struck a good balance between credibility, commercial opportunity and an enjoyable evening.
2014 saw the first museum partnership, for the show, with The Hepworth Wakefield curating a unique exhibition of works from their collection and displaying it right in front of the main entrance. We strode past this and headed up to the second floor so we could walk against, rather than with, the crowds.
It meant that after taking in only a couple of stands, we stumbled across the ‘Art Projects Gallery’ – billed as presenting ‘the freshest contemporary art’ it featured large scale installations, solo shows as well as curated group displays, and offered a more gallery-esque experience in contrast to the 100-or-so gallery stands in the main arena.
We worked our way back towards the main entrance and I was pleasantly surprised by the range of work that I saw. Galleries from all over the country exhibited a range of styles and artists. The slick graphic work presented by galleries like ‘Jealous’ jumped out as being particularly easy to appreciate – there were even a few pieces that seemed relatively affordable.
As expected, it very much felt like a expo rather than the kind of exhibition I’d usually attend, but it certainly had plenty of interesting things to keep me entertained for an evening of window-shopping.