The London Art Fair happened this week literally across the street from where I live. That, plus the free tickets that the gallerist around the corner sent me, seemed like a sign that universe wanted me to go.
Held inside a massive Victorian agricultural hall, the venue was enormous and, on preview night on Tuesday, packed with every inhabitant off London.
Far from my visions of urbane art appreciation, the place was a madhouse. Completely overwhelming. I took a spin to see all the things, texted Justin and Amanda for moral support, and went home despairing of ever becoming a great collector.
But by weekend I had rallied round and decided to give it another go, this time bringing along Matt (Justin’s brother) for real live moral support.
Fortunately the crowds had thinned considerably. Also, since I had already seen all the things, I felt less pressure to run around. We strolled and hit the highlights of what I remembered. For example these two ladies were still there:
I was sorely tempted by the pink one, in particular, but since Justin has so emphatically put the kabosh on anything pink, I moved on (but not before noting the gallery and artist because you just never know).
Some of the pieces I remembered from the first trip had sold. Others were still there but hadn’t stayed with me enough to warrant a purchase.
We discovered one artist that created completely delightful works with books. He had a series of books all of a single colour matching one of the London tube lines, arranged in a way that each title had the name of the stops.
My favourite of his was a large piece that at first appeared to be random collection of well-known (Gone with the Wind, An Ideal Husbsnd), but then the gallerist pointed out that if you read the titles, they formed a story in their own right. Amazing! And proof that art is so much better once you figure out what the artist is doing.
We gave the gallerist our names and told him to send us more info about the artists full range of work because this seemed like the sort of clever book art that needs to be in our lives.
Then I turned a corner and, lo:
I loved it immediately. Then I talked to the gallerist and loved it even more. The piece is titled Space for Reflection and, on top of the obvious actual reflections in the sort of symmetrical architectural setup that I’ve been drawn to since forever, depicts a space surrounded by the frescos of the early Renaissance painter Fra Angelico, which adorn the churches and monasteries of Italy and invited the faithful to their own spiritual reflections.
Reader, I bought the artwork. It will come to live with me tomorrow around midday.