Thursday, 14 March 2019


'Uneven' is a  generous way to describe The Other Art Fair (14-17 March in Brick Lane): there's plenty of bad and stale art. But the concept of meeting artists in front of their work is a good one, and it gives a showcase to some of the many without gallery representation. My guess is that most people would find a few artists from the 140 who appeal. Any rate, I found ten who interested or entertained me: here are five of them in front of their work, and me in the midst of another piece.

Jo Hummel (Stand 111)
Jo makes collages which use playful systems, such as joining up to edges, to arrive at a language which generates a satsifyingly painterly aesthetic. When I asked her for a picture, she propounded the interesting theory that the explosion of online images and Instagram in particular has put visual art in a position parallel to that of music when radio arrived.

Alice Palmer (119)
Alice plays art, textile and fashion backgrounds into politically-driven machine knitting. Here a confusion of black and white (that would be ‘no deal’ and ‘remain’ I suppose) leads to a dizzying confusion into which the word ‘Brexit’ has been smuggled; while her partner Josh poses before a view of himself as a revolutionary.

Joshua has photographed 350 of London’s extant 450 launderettes – all as they are with no interventions – in the face of the ongoing reduction in these characterful and social spaces. Some surprisingly colourful examples caught the eye...

An artist has to eat: I found Nicolette snacking in front of her series of starved-looking dolls got up in bobbly constructions. On the one hand Barbie is imprisoned, as if by body image – on the other hand, you get the feeling she’s enjoying herself in these vibrant  balls of hand-rolled textile…

Neat, you may say, the fragility of butterflies made out of razor blades, suggesting sharp conclusions to the brevity of life – but isn’t that simply combining two of Damien Hirst’s best-known streams of work? Of course: but Lene’s usages precede Damien’s by some time…  And she's designed her own themed dress: we await Damien's.

Beccy McCray: Full Circle

The fair's special attractions included this literally immersive installation in a greenhouse. The massed results of holes punched in unrecyclable papers - hence the preponderance of shiny stuff - reflect on waste, but also struck me as a rite for the passing of any need to ready paper for filing in our digitalised lives. Mainly, though, this was confetti-style fun.

I also liked Walter van Rijn (66), Etienne Clément (132), Delphine Lebourgeois (27) and Nayla Tabet (147). That makes ten entertaining diversions, even if my hit rate was modest...

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About Me

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Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom
I was in my leisure time Editor at Large of Art World magazine (which ran 2007-09) and now write freelance for such as Art Monthly, Frieze, Photomonitor, Elephant and Border Crossings. I have curated 20 shows during 2013-17 with more on the way. Going back a bit my main writing background is poetry. My day job is public sector financial management.