Overheard at ART15: Arts Editor’s Round Up and An Interview with Fair Director Kate Bryan

There is a always a sense of theatre about the return of London’s global art fair. In it’s return with a new fair director, Kate Bryan, former director of Contemporary Art at The Fine Art Society, Art15 offers a flourishing and profitable market with over 140 cutting-edge galleries selected from 40 countries.

This year’s fair presented a new digital project curated by Valentina Fois entitled #IRL (In Real Life). The project invited artists Emilie Gervais and Sara Ludy to perform and stimulate an online conversation between all those present to be shown on-site. The body of work as then expanded by Twitter users, who would digitally interact with the artists as their work evolved.

As one artist interacted with the website the other would respond, thus generating a dialogue of visual images, sounds and computational coding.

After Nyne were also fortunate to be at the forefront with one of the artists included in this year’s Projects, Henry Hussey, who had created an installation work especially for Art15. You can read our interview with Henry here, as well as our highlight of the top ten pieces exhibited that you wish you had thought of first. A particularly stand-out was the work of Hanaa Malallah of The Park Gallery, who’s works 1700 Squared Landscape and Arabesque from Baghdad invited fragmentary glimpses of her poignant experiences having fled Iraq.

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Arabesque from Baghdad by Hanaa Malallah – oil on burnt canvas on canvas

Other highlights included a brand new screen print on wood by Rowan Newton, “Late Nights in Rouge”, Mark Davey’s “Master and Slave”, Samuel Saucedo’s all too humorous “Super Ego” sculptures and Su Dong Ping’s magnificent impasto-pieces from Pearl Lam Gallery, said to be inspired by the casual fortuity and instantaneity that contribute to the ideal state of ‘bu miao’, which according to the artist is the highest realm of painting.

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As well as theatre, there can be pantomime, following a brief conversation with Kate on the direction of the current market, the all-too-well known rejecting emerging and lesser-known artists by collectors for the financial security of big names and an insight to her outlook on curation, I collected my usual round up of eavesdroppings for my own return of “Overheard At…”

How do you make the most out of Art15 being at such a prime time in the year? 

It’s an exciting time for us, because it’s the start of the summer season. So big collectors are in town, they want to come to the races, the Chelsea Flower Show, the Serpentine Party, the Royal Academy party and of course all the graduate shows are happening. We’ve put a lot of initiatives in place to try and attract them all, particularly in giving a good sense of there being a celebratory aspect to London at the moment.

What do you think the work being exhibited and the artists being exhibited at the fair say about the current trends in the market?

One big story to tell, is that collectors are being more diverse in what they’re buying. It used to be a case of being a British collector, who collected British, old master paintings. Or a case of being a Contemporary collector, which was exciting, but again would only collect or buy the work of artists that you knew in your community. And now, I’ve spoken to collectors today who are very eager to own works from an African artists. A collector who I had known for ten years, came in on Wednesday and really wanted to see Japanese art. Collectors are now taking themselves out of their comfort zone, and deciding that actually, there is a very rich, diverse art world out there and they want to be a part of it.

Do you have a personal philosophy on how art should be displayed? 

I think art should be displayed in a way that is conducive to the artist’s original thoughts and feelings. I think it’s very destructive to go against the way an artist feels, it’s also important that an artists works out *how* they would like to display their work – it’s part of being an artist. How do you present it? It goes from the studio, to the gallery, the museum, or the fair… and you need to be a loyal part of that process to gain the best result.

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OVERHEARD AT THIS YEAR’S ART15:

I’m trying to get tax free delivery on the art.

The aesthetic was…uhh…uhh…uhhh… it was very beautiful anyway.

I know there is a concept in mind, but I’m not in my mind right now.

“So how much of it have you seen?” “I’ve seen it all. I’ve been round twice. I OD’d on the art.”

No. No. No. Where is the collectors corner?

Do you know what the N word is? *clears throat* (Neo-classism, definitely) 

We were not learning anything, we were just hearing ridiculously simple remarks about the Economy!!

Let’s go and make friends with Whitechapel Gallery.

Woah. Is it moving? Am I tripping? It’s giving me a headache.

…slightly more McCarr

“Where is it?” “This is not a real place that exists, it’s from his imagination.”

I think it speaks to people in South Asia.

Is that a plastic chair or an installation?

It’s called “I’m your Daddy!”

*sings* Let me rub your tired shoulders.

I bumped into her on the way here and scared the shit out of her.

(7.19pm on the closing Saturday) Last chance to buy!

It’s not going to be called “Art15” next year, is it?

Kate Bryan was speaking exclusively with Arts Editor Luciana Garbarni (@LucPierra)