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12 Artists to Discover at London’s October Fairs

After last year’s edition largely played out virtually due to COVID-19, London’s marquee week of fairs is back in full swing, with in-person editions of Frieze London, Frieze Masters, and the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair opening in the coming days. We connected with participating galleries to get a sense of what they’ll be showing. Below, we highlight 12 artists whose work will be presented at Frieze London and 1-54, as well as on Artsy.

1-54 London, Sakhile&Me, Booth W8

Adelaide Damoah first pursued painting and performance while in recovery from endometriosis, a chronic illness that forced the artist to leave her career in the pharmaceutical industry. The British Ghanaian artist nods to in her current work, putting her own twist on Klein’s iconic “Anthropometry” series, in which he directed a group of naked women—covered in his patented blue paint—to imprint themselves onto white paper. In Damoah’s version, she twists this idea, choosing instead to assume the role of the “living paintbrush” herself. Imprinting her body onto white surfaces, the artist combines the body prints with found images, text, and gold. The resulting compositions allude to her personal experiences as well as Ghana’s history under British colonial rule.

Frieze London, Imane Farès, Booth H14

Ali Cherri’s eye-catching works on paper, prints, and installations highlight the process of excavation and the relocation of artifacts from his native Lebanon to museums. Made primarily from archaeological relics and sites, the artist’s works invite the viewer to rethink the classification and collection of those objects from historical ruins—especially during times of geopolitical disasters. This past April, Cherri became an artist in residence at the National Gallery in London, in collaboration with the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum. Later this year, works by the artist completed during the residency will be exhibited at the gallery in a solo presentation.

1-54 London, Nuweland, Booth W4

A recent graduate of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art, sculptor Ben Orkin creates large-scale ceramics that reflect on queer intimacy. His curvy and textured vessels are derived from the human form as it moves through the various stages of a relationship. The organic, symmetrical shapes are abstract in composition and highlight the physical and emotional connection between two bodies conveyed through actions such as kissing or communicating. The evocative sculptures have garnered acclaim in recent years: In 2018, Orkin won Best New Talent at South Africa’s 100% Design Fair; a year later, he received his first solo exhibition at the Cape Town–based gallery WHATIFTHEWORLD.

1-54 London, Galerie Number 8, Booth S7

Originally a professional dancer, Djeneba Aduayom’s otherworldly photographs are shaped by movement and performance. The images, which have appeared in publications such as Billboard, the New York Times, and Vogue Italia, draw inspiration from her multidisciplinary training, as well as her multicultural heritage (French, Italian, and Togolese). Through her photographs of models decked out in brightly colorful, beaded, and stringy garments wielding accessories that range from jewelry to translucent orbs, the Los Angeles–based artist produces a dreamlike alternate universe.

Frieze London, Various Small Fires, Booth A20

Glen Wilson’s multidisciplinary practice is grounded by . He seeks to capture the moment a person’s private and public identities collide. The photographs, typically shot around Los Angeles (where Wilson is based), are tender portraits of the city’s occupants. The Ohio-born artist then disrupts these photos by slicing the large-scale prints into diagonal strips before lacing them into chain-link fences, imbuing the radiant images with a sense of rigidity. Wilson’s incorporation of the fence—a device for establishing ownership, exclusion, and control—represents the persistent experience of systemic racism for Black Americans, while simultaneously conveying their communities’ resilience and triumphs. Wilson’s work has been exhibited internationally since the late 1990s; last December, he had a solo show at Various Small Fires’s Los Angeles location.

Frieze London, Gypsum Gallery, Booth H11

Egyptian painter Hend Samir’s bright family portraits and domestic scenes are rendered through an absurdist theatrical lens. The Cairo- and Amsterdam-based artist derives the imagery in her works from personal family photos and those of strangers found in magazines or on the internet. The paintings explore the desire for adventure in the confines of urban settings with few resources. “I am trying to find out how joy and the spirit of adventure can be alive in a quite limited place and atmosphere and performed or implemented in various forms,” Samir has said. Working with a wet-on-wet technique using acrylic paints, Samir renders her found images as distant memories that appear to have been warped and liquified by time. Prior to her presentation with Gypsum Gallery at Frieze London, Samir was awarded the prestigious Dutch Royal Award for Modern Painting. She was also named as the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten’s artist in residence earlier this year.

Frieze London, Société, Booth D11

For more than a decade, Kaspar Müller has executed conceptual works incorporating everyday objects and materials that should elicit a sense of familiarity in the viewer. Instead, the works are rendered unrecognizable, confounding viewers. Müller’s current practice subverts this idea by focusing attention on and giving luminosity to lifeless products, as exemplified by his toilet paper paintings. Executed over the course of the pandemic, the artist recreates drawings done by his daughter on three-ply toilet paper. The oil-on-canvas works are filled with delicate, bright patterns that amplify the patterns of butterflies and flowers printed on toilet paper. Enlarged, the pieces seem to have the same fluffy texture as the household product, with the edges of the canvases torn to drive home the illusion.

Frieze London, BANK/Mabsociety, Booth H13

For his presentation with BANK/Mabsociety at Frieze London, Lin Ke is showcasing a series of digital works ranging from UV prints and enlarged desktop images to an animation of a 3D exhibition model. The Shanghai-based artist often focuses on the ways digital reproduction affects the original, physical object or image. The UV prints from Ke’s acclaimed “Sky Paintings” series, for instance, are deceptively simple. At first glance, the depictions of art historical and religious icons appear to be conventional watercolors, but closer inspection reveals images dissected, scanned, and layered onto a thick, acrylic sheet. The works are then set against a white-and-gray checkered backdrop, intended to represent the transparent Photoshop screen—probing the act of imagemaking and reproduction. Works from the “Sky Paintings” series are in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’s permanent collection and were recently shown during its reopening exhibition.

Frieze London, Jhaveri Contemporary, Booth C20

While studying at Manchester Metropolitan University, Lubna Chowdhary became immersed in ceramics, drawn by their adaptability and chromatic possibilities. The Tanzania-born, London-based artist creates work that speaks to her fascination with urban design and material culture. At Frieze London, Jhaveri Contemporary is presenting a series of freestanding, small-scale sculptures and ceramic panels that integrate multiple disciplines: architecture, craft, design, and painting. Chowdhary is revered for her vibrant work that takes inspiration from a wide range of sources including Islamic architecture, modernist design, and Hindu temples. Consequently, her works have been collected by institutions far and wide, including the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in New Delhi, Leicester City Museum, and M+ in Hong Kong.

Frieze London, David Kordansky, Booth E1

Lucy Bull’s cosmic paintings hold the viewer in a hypnotic trance. Resembling a Rorschach test, the boldly colorful abstractions toy with weight, texture, and space, drawing the eye over repeated gestural marks as layers and imagined worlds churn, unravel, and swiftly disappear. The illusionistic swirls that inhabit many of Bull’s compositions guide the viewer’s eye into unknown territory at the boundaries of surface and depth, figuration and abstraction. This past March, Bull had her first solo exhibition at Los Angeles’s David Kordansky Gallery, which will be showing the largest paintings she’s ever made at Frieze London.

Frieze London, Goodman Gallery, Booth E4

An interdisciplinary artist from Johannesburg, Nolan Oswald Dennis explores what he refers to as “a Black consciousness of space.” Informed by his background in architecture, the artist constructs diagrams, drawings, and models that investigate the politics of space and time in South Africa. His recent works feature symbols and language from the Black liberation movement and the Greek zodiac system. The spare compositions draw connections between differing economic, spiritual, psychological, and technical realms. The monochromatic works also examine the systems that shape the world’s political climate.

1-54 London, DADA Gallery, Booth E9

Tobi Alexandra Falade routinely uses herself as a model in her figurative oil paintings to engage with themes of the self and identity in modern postcolonial contexts. The artist, who was born in Nigeria and moved to the U.K. at the age of seven, has rendered a version of herself—what she refers to as the “shadow self”—as a bronze mask cast from her own face as a way to imagine an alternate reality where she remained in Nigeria. Falade’s latest self-portraits, featured in DADA Gallery’s presentation at 1-54 London, continue this pursuit. Created by collaging photographs of Nigeria from family albums with her own present-day snapshots, the emotive compositions merge two different worlds. The Wimbledon College of Arts grad’s distinctive manipulations of found and original images investigate notions of memory and place as a Black British Nigerian woman.
Kaylie Felsberg