Calling all collectors: The London Art Fair 2022 takes place from April 20th to 24th – Prestige Online Germany | Candle Made Easy

Although it only lasts five days, the annual London Art Fair is one of the most important events in this year’s global art world calendar. Prestigious takes a look at the diverse range of modern and contemporary art on display this month.

(Hero image: Visitors to London Art Fair 2020, photo by Mark Cocksedge)

John Monks, Language, 2021, oil on canvas, 76 x 89 cm, courtesy of Long Ryle

This year marks the 34th edition of the London Art Fair (LAF) and galleries from around the world will make their way to London’s Business Design Center to take part. Unsurprisingly, the lion’s share of attendees hail from the UK, with brand new exhibitors such as Tanya Baxter Contemporary, David Kovats and the online-mainly Mothflower Gallery joining forces with such established gallerists as James Hyman, Purdy Hicks, and Richard Grün.

Running from April 20-24, the 2022 fair will, as always, offer both seasoned and aspiring collectors a diverse selection of modern and contemporary art to read through, alongside thematically curated exhibitions and a program of insightful lectures and panel discussions.

John Nash, RA, Line of trees, watercolor and pencil on paper, 38 x 55 cm, courtesy Thomas Spencer Fine Art

When it comes to keeping an eye out for prominent British artists, Thomas Spencer Fine Art will feature a previously unpublished work by Royal Academist John Nash, while the Waterhouse & Dodd exhibition will focus on David Bomberg and his students; notably works by Dennis Creffield and the recently rediscovered oil paintings by Dorothy Mead (not shown publicly for over 40 years). As for more recent contemporary pieces, the new edition from David Shrigley and Stoney Road Press, courtesy of the Jealous Gallery, includes a number of previously unpublished monotypes by Leah Hewson.

Dennis Creffield, Lewes Crescent & Garden from the East, 1970, oil on canvas, 122 x 122 cm, courtesy Waterhouse & Dodd Gallery

Textiles are having a moment in the art world of late, and those interested in the medium should visit both the James Hyman Gallery, which features a rare and unique handwoven tapestry by RB Kitaj, and the Candida Stevens Gallery, where contemporary Textile/fiber artists on display Alice Kettle is showing a piece entitled ‘Poppy’.

Alice Kettle, Poppy, 2021. Thread on canvas, 101 x 91 cm, courtesy Candida Stevens Gallery

While the galleries exhibiting at this year’s LAF actively promote – and sell – the work of the artists they represent, the fair also reflects contemporary collecting trends through independently curated showcases created in collaboration with leading experts. Guest-curated by Candida Stevens (of the aforementioned Candida Stevens Gallery), the Platform series features 10 galleries submitting works by artists who have chosen to explore the intersection between visual art and music. Particularly captivating are the porcelain sculpture “Notes of a Love Song” by Matt Smith and the vintage-inspired ephemera collages by Andy Burgess (both courtesy of the Cynthia Corbett Gallery).

Matt Smith, Notes from a Love Song C#, 2016, Black parianware, 21 x 23 x 13 cm, Courtesy of Cynthia Corbett Gallery

“The range of responses to this issue was so diverse, from a relatively small pool of artists,” remarked Candida when asked about the composition of this exhibition. “We have abstract works that refer to the riffs of jazz music with skewed colors and oblique shapes, and abstract pieces that refer to movement, kinaesthetics and dance, in the tradition of music-influenced artworks – think Mondrian and Klee.”

Sarah Monk (left) and Candida Stevens (Candida’s Photo by Dan Stevens Photography)

As might be expected, overseeing the entirety of such an art extravaganza is no easy task. But Sarah Monk, the director of this year’s LAF, has kept the project on track despite some unforeseen setbacks.

“The biggest challenge this year was the postponement of the fair,” Sarah admits, acknowledging that LAF 2022 was originally supposed to take place in January. “We made the decision to reschedule the event and hold it a few months later in April as we strive to provide the best and safest show for everyone. This was a huge logistical challenge, but everyone involved has been incredibly supportive. We look forward to hosting an in-person event as we have an exciting program of talks, tours, installations and performances alongside a variety of critically acclaimed curated sections.

Sam Jackson, Doing This Was The Only Way For Me, 2021, spray paint, ink, pencil on paper 29.7 x 21 cm

“I can’t wait to reconnect with all the galleries, curators, collectors and visitors who return to the LAF each year, and to welcome new friends to this special April edition,” she continues. “I am delighted that many of our international galleries are returning to London to present the work of their artists including G-77 Gallery, Kyoto and Gallery Kitai, Tokyo, Galeria Miquel Alzueta, Barcelona along with the First-time exhibitors Kunst AB Hinterhof from Vienna.

Tracey Emin, Sixty-A-Day Woman, 1986

“In addition to the 100+ modern and contemporary galleries that exhibit with us, our curated spaces continue to be among the most anticipated cultural highlights of the London arts calendar. This year is no exception and we are proud to host an exhibition of works from our museum partner The New Hall Collection’s largest collection of modern and contemporary women, including works by big names like Tracey Emin and Paula Rego, and rising stars like Gayle Chong Kwan.”

Cruzeiro Seixas, Untitled, 1999, Mixed Media on Paper, Image courtesy of Perve Galeria

Another curated segment of LAF is the Art Projects series, which spotlights interesting contemporary artists from around the world. Of particular interest this year is Perve Galeria’s celebration of Portuguese surrealist master Cruzeiro Seixas. The medium of photography is also given a prominent platform at the LAF with the “Photo50” series curated by Rodrigo Orrantia. The presentation of works by over a dozen British and UK-based artists on the theme of ‘No Place is An Island’ promises to be a highlight of the 2022 fair. Particularly striking – pardon the pun – is the work in Sarah Pickering’s “Explosion” series, which was filmed in various locations where fake bombs were used.

Sarah Pickering, Landmine, 2005 Image courtesy of the artist

Of course, not everyone will make it to London this month and for that reason LAF 2022 has made it easy for interested collectors to both view and buy artworks as well as attend the various talks through online channels.

“If you can’t attend in person, you can get in touch through the London Art Fair website,” explains Sarah. “There they can take a look at the exciting selection of galleries, view the artworks for sale and fill out the artwork request form to contact the gallery directly to purchase a specific artwork.

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Big Day, 2001, acrylic on paper, 57.5 x 77 cm, courtesy of Waterhouse & Dodd

“By April 13, there will also be a selection of lectures online for the start of the trade fair []. These talks provide an opportunity to gain an in-depth look at the works on display at this year’s fair, as well as current issues in the art world from sustainability in the art sector to collecting for the home.”

Pablo Picasso, Modern Style Bust, 1948, Original hand-signed and numbered lithograph on Arches wove paper, 65.5 x 50 cm, courtesy of Gilden’s Art Gallery

Among all the up-and-coming artists at this year’s LAF are a few pieces by recognized household names such as Henry Moore, David Hockney, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso. For the collector – whether experienced or new – it is always a difficult decision to choose between a well-known artist and an unknown one.

“My advice to collectors would be to remember that when you buy a work, you are making an investment in the artist and their practice,” Sarah emphasizes. “They essentially support them in their journey. At LAF, we feature cutting-edge emerging artists to create new dialogues in the industry and provide a space for collectors to discover and support their work.

Anne Rothenstein, Smoking Bride, 2020. Oil on panel, 122 x 122 cm, courtesy Candida Stevens Gallery

“I would really recommend taking a look at the international emerging talent featured in the curated ‘Art Projects’ section, a showcase of the freshest contemporary art from around the world. The solo exhibitions and thematic group shows have been selected and endorsed by a panel of key opinion leaders and industry leaders, and the strength of the show lies in that collective expertise.”

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