Just when you think that there is no more art to see, Frieze’s week of openings, fairs and exhibitions continued. Frieze London is always surrounded by a plethora of other fairs – most notably Sunday Art Fair – but this year was the first time at contemporary African art had its own fair, 1:54, at Somerset House. Small but fascinating, the highlights were the wild paintings of Wycliffe Mundopa in First Floor Gallery Harare’s room and Cheri Samba’s surreal psychedelic canvases.
Friday night was devoted Fatima Al Qadiri and GCC transformed the mews behind Claridges into a post-internet hotspot with every young artist in London coming to check out the collective’s digital photographic work. Saturday night was late night viewings of East London galleries and Seventeen’s dual shot of Oliver Laric and Jimmy Merris’ video work was rammed. Merris, who also has a show at Bloomberg Space, was the surprise discovery of the week. His piece in the basement of Seventeen is one of the best works you will see this year. An incredible multi screen installation of collaged films which fuses old 60s R&B songs, Merris’ strange blurred footage of performances and strange stuffed mummies and a heartfelt exploration of heartbreak and emotion that is so fresh and genuine the room was packed.
If you catch up on one institution show on to coincide with Frieze, head to Reflections from Damaged Life, an exhibition on psychedelia curated by Lars Bang Larsen. From 1960s films by Jordon Belson which send you into a different mind state to David Medalla’s masks from a late 60s dance performance at the Roundhouse, this is an incredible show on the relationship between drug culture, perception and art. Pierre Huyghe’s sculpture or light, music and smoke which comes to life every 30 minutes is unmissable.
Artwork aside, the real star of the week was the Sony QX10 lens that strapped onto my phone and literally stopped foot traffic at Frieze (and took incredible photos). In classic style, Frieze Week ended in a alcoholic haze and on a lot of dancefloors. As soon as I started accosting Wolfgang Tillmans at the Frieze magazine party at the Ace Hotel about how his work at Maureen Paley made me tingle, I knew it was time to go home and close my eyes for a while.