Frieze 2017

Whitened, by Faustina – From the Me, Mestizo series 2017 – Johnathas de Andrade

 

About Frieze

Frieze is a media and events company that comprises three publications, frieze magazine, Frieze Masters Magazine and Frieze Week; and three international art fairs, Frieze London, Frieze New York and Frieze Masters; a programme of courses and talks at Frieze Academy, and frieze.com – the definitive resource for contemporary art and culture.

 

History

Frieze was founded in 1991 by Amanda Sharp, Matthew Slotover and Tom Gidley with the launch of frieze magazine, a leading magazine of contemporary art and culture. Sharp and Slotover established Frieze London in 2003, one of the world’s most influential contemporary art fairs which takes place each October in The Regent’s Park, London. In 2012, Frieze launched Frieze New York taking place in May; and Frieze Masters, which coincides with Frieze London in October and is dedicated to art from ancient to modern. In 2016, Frieze launched Frieze Academy, a year-round programme of talks and courses.

Frieze 2017 was my first experience of Frieze. I found myself experiencing both 1:54 and Frieze the same day. Both incredibly different, leading me to think about accessibility and inaccessibility in terms of spaces, class and hierarchies. (Thoughts I’ve always had during my degree BA Fine Art). I wasn’t too sure what to expect, or perhaps I was. Firstly, entering Frieze, I felt like I was going through passport control at the airport and I was about to catch a flight, which already made me feel anxious and uneasy.

Majority of security at this is event were POC in black.

Majority of gallery owners and staff were white.

Vast majority of people attending Frieze were white.

I saw this occasion, in this particular moment, in this particular POC group I went with, as an occasion to take up space, to disrupt the space, to ‘complicate the narrative’.

 

Performances by QTIPOC performers in SPIT! Manifesto are what stood out most for me, alongside other pieces that I photographed at the Fair.

Questions on accessibility and inaccessibility come to mind, in relation to spaces in terms of the context of consumption and consumerism within Art Fairs. Currently, I see my practice and question my practice, in tandem with my questioning of my role as an ‘artist’ within my own community and within society (See: ‘The ‘Artist’ & Gentrification’).  What work can I do, or what can I create that doesn’t aid the violence of gentrification, in particular, an act of violence that I’m currently focusing on resisting but also knowing that the process is and will take place.

Whilst the jobs I have are separate to my practice that fund my survival and my practice; I genuinely feel as though both the jobs I do, (which, I consider myself lucky to be able to work within environments and alongside individuals that align with my ethos and beliefs, for the most part) and my practice go hand in hand. Currently, my jobs inform my practice and give me space to learn, network, explore, grow and attain applicable skills. Not many can say this about their everyday jobs; for that, I feel privileged.  I realise that I must make the most out of my current position within the societal framework for my individual benefit and a collective benefit.

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