What to see at Masterpiece London 2018
Masterpiece London returns for 2018 (28 June – 4 July), presenting art, design and jewellery from antiquity to the present day. The eclectic set-up of the fair presents collectors with the opportunity to admire works from diverse disciplines in tandem, and discover the joys of mixing and matching. With 160 international exhibitors gathered at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, navigating could be tricky, so we have highlighted eight picks to look out for...
Without the Reef by Michele Oka Doner. Courtesy of David Gill Gallery
The poet and Surrealist patron Edward James (1907-84) inspired David Gill’s showing at Masterpiece. Gill, who became fascinated with James after coming across his house sale years ago, says that James ‘inspired me in what I do now. He illustrated at the time how interiors can mix a Picasso with a Syrie Maugham, contemporary bookcases with period furniture.’ The Masterpiece presentation combines a pair of Syrie Maugham bookcases and a range of 21st century design pieces to recapture the atmosphere of James’ original library. Amid the heavily draped interiors and desks overflowing with books, one will find Michele Oka Doner’s coral like bronze bust, a Mattia Bonetti lounge chair with Giacometti-esque statuettes in place of front legs, alongside additional pieces by Barnaby Barford and Sebastian Errazuriz.
Five Stages of Maya Dance by Marina Abramović. Photography: Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Arte
Visitors to the fair will be greeted by a series of five alabaster works by Abramović – viewed from one angle, they appear to be intricately carved landscapes, splendid and serene; from another, they show the artist’s face vividly contorted, her mouth agape as though recoiling from horror. This new work is an attempt by the performance artist to grapple with the transitory nature of her work. ‘At this point of my life, facing mortality, I decided to capture my performance in a more permanent material,’ she explains. Alabaster, with its immutable, translucent and luminous qualities, proved the perfect material for this experiment. The piece was realised with Spanish fabricators Factum Arte, who used advanced 3D scanning and CNC milling techniques to convey the artist’s presence in light and stone.
Trine Chairs by John Makepeace, from the Organic Collection, 2017, courtesy of Sarah Myerscough Gallery
A newcomer to Masterpiece, London-based Sarah Myerscough will present a group show of collectible furniture focused on organic materials and the possibilities and challenges that arise from using them. Works include the Cleft cabinet by Joseph Walsh, with an organically formed body in ebonised walnut and expressive, contrasting legs in lacquer, and a pair of sculptural beech vessels by Marc Ricourt. A special highlight is the Black Trine wooden table and Trine chairs (pictured) by John Makepeace, intricately textured and made from scorched English oak.
Ibrahim El-Salahi at Vigo Gallery
Meditation Tree by Ibrahim El-Salahi. Courtesy of Vigo Gallery
Octogenarian Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi is presenting one of his first sculptures with Vigo Gallery at this year’s Masterpiece. Titled Meditation Tree, this bronze work (pictured here in aluminium) marks a departure from his celebrated paintings and brings his artistic vision to three dimensions. His Tree series was inspired by a type of acacia tree called Haraz, indigenous to the Sudan. It is said to have quasi-mythological characteristics, such as staying completely dry during the flooding of the Nile or bearing fruit during a drought. El-Salahi believes this is a definitive statement. ‘Like saying “I am me! I am an individual! I do not follow what everyone is doing!”’ It’s a potent meditation on the power of the individual, as well as a sound metaphor for El-Salahi’s pioneering artistic sensibility.
Jeff Zimmerman at R & Company
Vine illuminated sculptures by Jeff Zimmerman. Courtesy of R & Company
Hot on the heels of a major gallery opening in Manhattan, R & Company are making their first appearance at Masterpiece with a solo presentation on Jeff Zimmerman. The glass artist (and erstwhile Wallpaper* Handmade collaborator) is bringing three illuminated vine sculptures, each featuring handblown glass orbs clustered around a sensuously curved brass ‘vine’, as well as smaller vessels titled Crystal Cave, made in handblown glass with applied glass crystals to create a mesmerisingly patterned surface.
The Fashion Show at Peter Fetterman Gallery
Jerry Schatzberg, Super Star, Edie Sedgwick, 1964. © Jerry Schatzberg. Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery, Santa Monica
Peter Fetterman is showing a selection of images from its current exhibition in LA, ‘The Fashion Show’. These photographs present a fantasy of beauty and elegance in costume, in marked contrast to our current epoch, where much of the market is dominated by fast, disposable fashion. Historically, photography has facilitated collaborative relationships between designers, brands and their consumers. Photographers such as Lillian Bassman, Len Prince and Jerry Schatzberg are among the select few who are on show – their seminal works enabled fashion to be truly regarded as an art form.
Hitomi Hosono at Adrian Sassoon
Hitomi Hosono at the Wedgwood factory with Shōka, her take on the iconic Wedgwood Portland Vase. Courtesy of Wedgwood
Japanese artist Hitomi Hosono takes centre stage at the booth of ceramics dealer Adrian Sassoon, presenting work produced with Wedgwood in its inaugural Artist in Residence programme. Hosono is known for her imaginary botanical forms, so intricate that they seem to spring to life. With Wedgwood, she developed her take on the iconic Portland Vase (a jasper copy of a glass vase dating back to the reign of Augustus Caesar), lightening its distinctive blue hue to a gentler turquoise and replacing classic figures with fern moulds from the Wedgwood archive. The magnificent form of the vase is thus finely balanced with graceful detailing. ‘I formed the ferns to look as though they are climbing up from the bottom of the vase, to make it feel dramatic and exciting,’ she explains. ‘I love this sense of the ferns invading.’
Wunderkammer at Hauser & Wirth
WS, White Snow Flower Girl #6 by Paul McCarthy, 2016. Photography: Walla Walla Foundry. Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth
In a nod to Masterpiece’s emphasis on cross-collecting, Hauser & Wirth are presenting a ’Wunderkammer’ of modern and contemporary artworks alongside 19th century furniture. The booth will feature work by the likes of Larry Bell, Phyllida Barlow, Eva Hesse, Fausto Melotti, Alina Szapocznikow, and Guillermo Kuitca. Paul McCarthy’s new work WS, White Snow Flower Girl #6 (pictured) steals the spotlight - inspired by the character of Snow White, both in the original German folk tale Schneewittchen and the Disney animated film. For this piece, McCarthy has chosen to work with black walnut as a continuation of his drawings and bronze sculptures on the same theme, helped on the use of computer mapping technology. The furniture, courtesy of Butchoff Antiques includes a Florentine centre table made from ebony with inlays of fruitwood and mother-of-pearl, as well as an oversized walnut armchair, titled Black Forest and featuring two naturalistically carved knelling bears.
Chiharu Shiota at Blain Southern
Turning World by Chiharu Shiota, 2018. Photography: Peter Mallet. Courtesy Blain Southern
Blain Southern continues its tradition of presenting solo booths at Masterpiece, this time dedicating its space to Chiharu Shiota. The Berlin-based Japanese artist, who earlier this year blanketed Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s 18th century chapel in 2000 balls of white thread, has created an installation with red threads, with found suitcases and maps ensnared within. In the communal space of the fair, Shiota is showing an earlier work, State of Being features 5,000 keys again suspended in red thread in an exploration of human relationships and belonging. §