FRIEZE | London, Regent’s Park

Frieze is London’s biggest art fair by far, split into two sections: Frieze London (for works post-2000) and Frieze Masters (for works pre-2000). With over 160 exhibitors each year, it’s unquestionably the place to discover art of all styles, from gestural abstract to stunning naturalism, or dizzying optical works to magnificent tapestries.  Major galleries from around the world await big sales, whilst artsy visitors enjoy champagne and contemplate the endless display for hours, or even days.

What makes the exhibition so special, other than its vastness, is how every artwork is given importance, underground or acclaimed. Visitors might first be led to the famous dotted canvases of Damien Hirst, only to be instantaneously drawn to their new favourite piece two walls down. This is what Frieze is all about.

In the contemporary collection at Frieze London, seek out Twice Upon a While (2020) by Athens-based artist Marina Xenofontos: a compelling wooden sculpture of an emotionally withdrawn woman. For painting, Aaron Gilbert’s brilliantly lurid Last Day at T-Mobile (2022) has a political bite, while Lorna Robertson’s subdued, Matisse-like, abstract figures, on enormous canvases, merit a prolonged stop-and-stare.

A 15-minute walk (or handy shuttle bus) to the other side of Regent’s Park brings you to Frieze Masters, a world of historic masterpieces. Highlights include David Hockney’s glorious splashes of acrylic springtime from the 1960s, and Carlo Bonavia’s frightening depiction of the erupting Mount Vesuvius (1758). You’ll need a day (or two) to fully appreciate everything on offer.

Luisa Di Maria

Frieze London & Frieze Masters runs 12 – 16 October 2022.

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