Art Market

A Glimpse into the London Art Scene through 3 Local Galleries

Ayanna Dozier
Oct 11, 2022 8:26PM
Christopher Farrell
The Shard From Southbank , 2017
Sarah Wiseman Gallery

This fall, Frieze London and Frieze Masters will run from October 12th–16th in Regent’s Park. The fairs are part of a larger Frieze Week that also includes 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair (October 13th–16th) and PAD London (October 10th–16th). In advance of the events, Artsy spoke to three London-based galleries to learn more about the city’s evolving art scene—in particular, its shifting economics and its place within a larger, international art ecosystem.

“The London gallery scene is incredibly vibrant and has picked up amazingly in 2022,” said Khalil Akar, gallery director of Signature African Art. “Art lovers are able to attend our exhibitions without disruption, which is extremely refreshing.” Located near Soho, about a mile south of Regent’s Park, the gallery focuses on traditional and contemporary art from Africa. Akar loves that together, Frieze Masters and 1-54 draw out a dynamic, engaged global audience who wander into his gallery.

Installation view of “Power” at Signature African Art, 2022. Courtesy of Signature African Art.


During Frieze, Signature African Art will mount a group exhibition entitled “Power” (on view through November 12th). The nine-person show will feature several emerging artists. Striking portraits by figurative painter Oluwole Omofemi and abstract paintings by Akintoye Segun-Shiigo will be on view. Both artists are exhibiting with the gallery for the first time. “Exhibiting during Frieze week gives them a great platform to be seen in person by international collectors rather than just online,” Akar said.

Walk six minutes north of Signature African Art, and you’ll find Offer Waterman, a gallery that focuses on modern and contemporary British art. Associate director Stella Vasileiadou noted that this year’s editions of Frieze London and Frieze Masters promise increased attendance, largely due to the loosening of COVID-19-related travel restrictions. “Already this year we are expecting clients from across the world to make the journey and be part of this exciting and engaging art week,” she said.

Exterior view of Offer Waterman. Photo by Nick Guttridge. Courtesy of Offer Waterman.

Vasileiadou expects U.S.-based buyers to be especially active at the gallery and at Frieze-related events, given initial interest in the gallery’s exhibition during Frieze: Offer Waterman will be showing “a selection of modern and contemporary paintings, works on paper, prints, and studio ceramics—including work by Loewe Foundation Craft Prize winner Jennifer Lee,” she said. They also will present a booth at Frieze Masters. Offer Waterman is at the forefront of modern British art; despite the recession signals present in the market, the genre is faring well.

Many gallerists, in fact, expect strong sales at Frieze. Vasileiadou said: “The market for modern British art seems stronger now than ever before, with interest from a truly global audience, seeking out the very best of British creativity across multiple disciplines from the past century.”

Victor Vasarely, installation view of “Einstein in the Sky with Diamonds” at Mazzoleni London, 2022. Photo by Todd-White Art Photography. Courtesy of Mazzoleni.

Mazzoleni director Jose Graci and sales director Luigi Mazzoleni echoed Vasileiadou’s enthusiasm about the London art market. Their gallery—one of the few Italian galleries that did not exit London during the pandemic—is a seven-minute walk south from Offer Waterman, just a few blocks from the Royal Academy of Arts. The pair notes that the rise of the American dollar and Great Britain’s ongoing sociopolitical dialogues around equity and justice in the arts have had positive reverberations across London’s cultural scene.

Mazzoleni focuses on art from Italy and across Europe. Its roster includes Andrea Francolino, Salvatore Astore, and Nunzio, among other artists. During Frieze week, the gallery will present a solo show on 20th-century Op artist Victor Vasarely, entitled “Einstein in the Sky with Diamonds,” curated by Arnauld Pierre and on view through December 16th.

This is the first Frieze since 2019 that will not be severely impaired by COVID-19 lockdowns, travel restrictions, or rising cases. Galleries and attendees are cautiously optimistic that the strong dollar and fair curation will make for an impactful week across London—and the art world at large.

Ayanna Dozier
Ayanna Dozier is Artsy’s Staff Writer.