Beds become art at vast London Frieze fair

Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:10pm EDT
 
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By Duarte Garrido

LONDON (Reuters) - There are thousands of artworks on display at London Frieze, the vast showplace and market for contemporary art that opened this week, so perhaps visitors will be grateful that one of the exhibits is a place where they can sleep.

The installation by AYR Art Collective at the sprawling art fair installed in vast marquees in London's Regent's Park consists of six multi-coloured "smart bedrooms" where visitors can lie down, and even charge their mobile phones.

"It is called 'comfort zone' because we wanted to use this notion of comfort to...almost do an anatomy of taste," said Alessandro Bava, a member of the AYR Art Collective.

Frieze began 13 years ago as a pop-up show, organised by the then art-student Damien Hirst, of 16 young artists in south London. This year 164 galleries from 27 countries are in the contemporary art section of the fair, which also has an associated fair displaying old masters.

In another section of one of the vast marquee tents where London Frieze is held, the Hauser & Wirth Gallery has created a large, open space called "Field" where artworks are mounted on plinths. One of the mounted objects is a multi-coloured skull, another is a teddy bear with a funnel inserted in its bottom.

"What I wanted to do this year was to create a kind of open platform - a sort of democratic landscape for us to display all different artists, all different ages, different media, so I came up with the idea of 'Field'," said Neil Wenman, a senior director at Hauser & Wirth, which has galleries in Zurich, London and New York.

"It is about this idea of the kind of multitude that I wanted to show," Wenman added. "So we have 42 plinths, we are displaying works by 30 different artists, over a time span of 35 years. So the very earliest work is from 1960, the very latest work was finished two days ago."

Last year about 60,000 people visited the two simultaneous art fairs, Frieze London, which closes on Oct. 17, and Frieze Masters, which runs a day longer.

(Reporting by Duarte Guarrido; Writing by Michael Roddy; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

 
A visitor charges her phone and relaxes in a "Smart Bedroom" by art collective Ayr at the Frieze Art Fair in London, Britain October 14, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett