Frieze 2009: The Sensory Overload

Take a world tour of contemporary art this weekend....

We Share Our Chemistry With The Stars, 2009, Marc
We Share Our Chemistry With The Stars, 2009, Marc Quinn
This year’s Frieze Art Fair is a massive sensory overload and it's impossible to write anything that really does justice to the talent of the numerous artists whose works are on display. I headed over there when it opened its doors to those who aren't members of the sickeningly moneyed elite and found myself among people walking around in a daze, it was almost as if we had all been smacked around the back of a head with a cricket bat emblazoned with the word ART (perhaps they should actually give that a go next year on the VIP night). At first, it's all way too much to take in, but once you give in to the experience, you find yourself adrift on a sea of brilliant imagination. And that goes double for this year, which is peppered with dark and often psychedelic works that tip a nod to just how close our world came to economic meltdown. In fact, you can't help but feel that the crisis has been nothing less than a positive boon for artists' creativity. Sure, everything sold at Frieze is still ridiculously pricey, but what does it really matter that few of us can actually afford to buy any of this stuff? It's still one of the hottest tickets in town, right? And it's a yearly chance to see works you might normally have to purchase a flight to check out.

For me, these are some of the pieces that you can't afford to miss...

-Ged Quinn’s huge painting of a dreaming Lancelot (a work with an impossibly long title) is one-part beautifully crafted traditional landscape, one-part Ziggy Stardust on acid – it's haunting, irreverent and accomplished, all at the same time.
-Christian Ward’s massive Frontier Territory is an incredibly psychedelic offering that sucks you in with its lucent pop colours and leaves your brain utterly frazzled. We wouldn't expect anything less from an artist that has exhibited at The Dazed Gallery.
-Gibert & George’s Xerxes feels totally fresh, a spectacularly impressive mash-up of the Union Jack and what look like Prince Albert peircings.
-Ang Shoaib’s sculpture of a futuristic-looking miner (sporting a Hitler moustache) seems almost like it’s about to reach out and drag you into some weird, dystopian Phillip K Dick novella. Everything that hails from China at this year's Frieze is awesome.
-Armen Eloyan’s Heroes series are like a schizophrenic’s version of The Munch Bunch, they're preposterous, strange and ludicrously funny.
-Marc Quinn’s We Share Our Chemistry With The Stars is an amazing painting of an iris that confronts you with the supernova inside your skull. It contains an impossible seeming depth that reaches for infinity.
-Aristarkh Chernyshev and Alexi Shulgin's Californian Ideology is an interactive video piece that replaces your image with a swirling digital mist of corporate logos.
-Hilary Lloyd's projection Studio 2 is an insane rainbow that stretches the boundaries of your vision, it genuinely challenges your sense of perspective.
-Rosa Barber’s creepy stop-motion animation Enigmatic Whistler presents an unsettling vision of childhood. It makes you feel as if you are ten years old again, and evokes the imaginary monsters that lived inside your psyche at the time.
-Michael Baeur’s new paintings are haunting, elusive and strange as ever. I love this artist, his work is just amazing.
-Rita Ackerman’s incredibly vicious meditations on violent death make you stop dead in your tracks, they are stridently fierce and totally absorbing.
-Peter Zimmerman’s LSD-soaked vision seems to pulsate with colourful energy, it's actually hard to take your eyes off it.
-Aneta Grzeszykowska's Girl With A Chewing Gum sculpture marries the gothic spirit of Louise Bourgeois (also exhibited, check out her sculpture hanging from the trees in the sculpture garden) with the twisted aesthetic of Sarah Lucas.
-Paul Andriesse presents a psychotic rendition of Elizabeth II that chillingly plays with notions of hierarchy and power. This should be hung in Buckingham Palace, not unlike her majesty... I'm just kidding, honest.
-Yan Pei-Ming’s depictions of babies seem almost to have been mutilated by the very paint with which they have been created, and yet they remain oddly beautiful.
-Douglas Gordon’s poptastic Blind Michael Mirror depicts Michael Caine with cut out eyes in which your own are mirrored, to truly bizarre effect. Expect to be able to buy a rip off in Camden anytime soon.
-Dawn Mellor's violent and grotesque portraits of Julie Christie, Gena Rowlands and Kristen Scott Thomas unrelentingly mutilate celebrity, which is always satisfying. I actually overheard her gallerist saying that they had just received a call from someone who wanted to know if Dawn Mellor would consider painting her mother... who on earth would want Dawn Mellor to paint their mother?!
-Timmo Nasseri's strange and beautiful stainless steel musing on Sacred Geometry is so drop dead kool that I wish I could buy it... I did momentarily consider hiding it in my new haircut but the Frieze security is pretty tight.
-Cipria Meren’s incredible film Dog Luv features dead-looking puppets discussing death and political hierarchy. This is great, really great.
-The emptiness of Sebastien Diaz’s split screen film The Way Between Two Points takes you somewhere both beautiful and utterly barren, presenting isolation as a state of being that is desirable (evoking to some degree the spirit of Luc Besson’s Last Battle).
-Pierre Gonnord’s large-scale photographs of forest fires burn through the retina.
-George Shaw's etchings are what Lucian Freud might produce if he started drawing porn stars engaged in auto-erotic action.
-Tim Braden's paintings of kids daubing words like Lufthansa on blackboards are truly haunting, but I have no idea just why they are so powerful.
-Makus Behlen’s incandescent, tripped-out psychedelic paintings make you feel as though there is LSD in the Frieze water supply. Now there's a good idea, maybe you should bring your own and see what happens.

There’s a whole lot more besides. Buy the ticket, take the ride...
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