With a new location, a range of new artists and even a new font, The Other Art Fair opened its revamped doors to the public on Thursday evening last week for a buzzing private view. Now in its eight edition, the fair has become known for hosting a true variety of talented and playful artists from all over the world, and this April is no exception. From immersive installation projects and tasty craft beers to beard-baring YBA’s and in-house sorting offices, The Other Art Fair has combined the quirky and fun with the skilful and creative, making for a terrific weekend of goings-on.
After being welcomed by friendly faces and the fair’s iconic green neon lighting at the entrance, visitors descended into the depths of the fair being handed trusty fair guides and a curious invitation to the Fever Tree Bar. This intriguing offer summoned guests to artist James Thurgood’s interactive artwork A Million Love Songs (The Fever Tree) (2015) which sat just beside the energetic G&T bar. Here Thurgood’s work comes to life, asking visitors to exchange they’re 6”x4” colour photograph (the invitation) with one already on display, allowing for an ever-changing art installation which is continuously being transformed as a result of audience participation. A Million Love Songs kicked off the fair and encouraged a domino effect to follow with entertaining and engaging activities happening throughout the rest of the weekend.
As always with the fair, there are strong representatives for a wide range of mediums in the arts, including painting, photography, sculpture, drawing, collage and guilding – just to name a few! The painting was particularly bold this edition, focusing primarily on the abstract. Amanda Wigglesworth’s paintings brought intense, intimate canvases to the fair, displaying heavy texture and layering through the practice of oil paint – an artist stand hard to walk past without a glance. Lucienne O’Mara’s watercolours were equally hypnotising in effect, with delicate pastel colours dancing and blurring across paper, reminiscent of a fragile Cy Twombly work.
Throughout the fair we began to see the muddling of mediums; painting melds with collage and print to create a fusion of fascinating work, as seen in Christianna Economou’s range of mixed media paintings. Her blending of paint and collage on silk screen and cardboard depict beautiful perspectives of memory and nostalgia in the contemporary. Alexander Korzer-Robinson also uses collage as a way of representing memory by creating sculptural narratives within layered and hollowed out books. These bewitching artworks were mirrored throughout the fair, particularly at The House of Fairy Tales where eccentric displays of Salon des Refusés and Clothing the Body Politic stood loudly alongside YBA Gavin Turk’s fantastic Project Beard. For this Turk appropriated the beards of Rodin, Morris, Cézanne, Matisse, Man Ray and Dali in photographic editions to benefit his children’s educational charity The House of Fairy Tales.
Leading on from Turk’s photographic creation of iconic artists, the fair displayed a wealth of photographic artists including long time exhibiting artist Gina Soden, a photographer who brings life to the derelict and abandoned through powerful and haunting imagery. Liron Kroll also works with photography, montaging it to create uncanny displays of surreal realities – there’s a hint of desperate housewife suburbia resonant throughout Kroll’s series of work.
Finally the reverse glass gilding work of Archie Proudfoot cannot go unmentioned. As a newcomer to The Other Art Fair, Proudfoot’s polished mirror works stood out in the fair, with their bold signage and minimal appearance yet painstakingly long making process. Sure to have been a popular stand throughout the rest of the fair, Proudfoot’s stand remained busy throughout the evening of the private view.
With so much to see and only a weekend to do it in, The Other Art Fair is a weekend you’ll want to keep free in the diary for future fairs. The new location of Victoria House not only extends the size of the fair but also encourages a more laid back approach to art fairs, allowing enough space and time to meander from stand to stand with a Fever Tree gin and tonic in hand. As a booming success since its opening fair in November 2011, The Other Art Fair is growing in popularity and demand every year, leading to its opening editions at the Arnolfini in Bristol between the 5 and 7 June, and in Sydney, Australia between the 10 and 13 September. If you missed this fair then be sure to visit its touring locations when it’s back this summer, not just for its affordable quality art but also for its lively and vibrant atmosphere!
I wrote this review for The Other Art Fair Blog where it has been originally published online through their website: The Other Art Fair Blog