Fashion

Highlights From Frieze Masters 2021

I like the way that Frieze London aims to show some works from the past which retain their influence and ability to inspire. Even with the contemporary art world’s promise of breaking new ground, it is still possible to see how the Masters of the past continue to shape today’s artistic expression.

I have selected four artists whose work at Frieze Masters brought me particular inspiration. This is all about giving just a glimpse of what has been put together in Regent’s Park this fall.

The title of the exhibition met its description when I found myself faced with not one but two untitled Picassos. They do not really need a name as they immediately show who has created them and what each is. There is much to take in with these arresting images which capture the human form in typical Picasso style. The larger piece while muted in color is full of energy; closer inspection reveals the skill and dexterity involved in the composition. The second of these 1972 works although sketch-like has a purity of form with the date applied in a bold, graffiti-like style. 

Alexander Calder is one of my favorite artists so I was excited to see two of his pieces at Frieze Masters. “Painted Sheet Metal” is a captivating work with its shaping, texture and flow combining perfectly. I really like the way you can appreciate another dimension on it with the way that its shadow falls on to the stark white base.

“PERFORATED BLACK BOOMERANG ON BLACK” merits its block letter description. The marriage of the black boomerang with its red plinth is so natural and I loved the finesse and fineness of the feet. It is like the boomerang has just been caught on a fingertip.

You certainly see boldness of color with Peter Lanyon’s “Rising Air”. His blocks and swirls of color draw the eye all around the canvas and the overall feeling is of big and bold and beautiful. There is almost a translucence to elements of the work and it still feels alive today long after the artist has left us.

For further exuberance in the palette used, there is a major work “Emerging ‘82” by Emilio Vedova at this year’s Frieze Masters. Although some rush by muttering “that’s not for me”, I do feel a connection with this work. It has real presence and a fluidity of expression. I can feel the strength of the artist’s intent and sense that he wanted to create something with an enduring power. As I walk away from the work, I know that it will stay with me.


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