London’s Regent’s Park trees will soon be on the point of changing to the colors of Fall. However, as I walk around the park, there is still some warmth in the air, the light is bright and there is “color, playfulness and vibrancy” at Frieze Sculpture 2021. Such a feeling was the clear aim of curator Clare Lilley.
With no admission fee, the exhibition (running until October 31) offers accessibility to the creativity of some of the world’s most exciting contemporary sculptors. Many of these artists have been eager to have their works on show once again and there is a sense of their relief in being able to return to sharing their artistic expression with a wide audience. It is also clear that they have not held back from some of the issues which confront us so there is a mix of all sorts of elements to encounter. Art should not always be “easy” to experience and Frieze Sculpture successfully blends challenge with beauty and interest.
I like the way that the parkland setting seems to embrace the sculptures. You see them in and through the landscape and they seem entirely at home here. The movement of people between each exhibit shows that this is a living event with a pleasing informality contrasting with the atmosphere of a museum or gallery.
With so much to see, everyone will have their own favorites and you can hear some lively discussion about what works for who. My eyes went straight to Stoyan Dechev’s “Event Horizon” presented by the Anca Poterasu Gallery from Bucharest, Romania. This aluminum and inox work is an image that strikes in every sense as a thundering cloud unleashes bolts of lightning from within. I felt more than an echo of H.G. Wells and the scale of the sculpture matches the subject matter.
Timothy Taylor has brought British artist Annie Morris to Regent’s Park this year. Her “Stack 9, Ultramarine Blue” is a colorful assembly of differently shaped bronze spheres grouped in vertical form. It is an expression related to motherhood and the female body and appears to be on the verge of toppling yet still stands tall. I especially liked the way that its shadow picks up the human form and shows it in an altered way.
Carlos Cruz-Diez’s work “Environnement de Transchromic Circulaire” (presented by Galerie Philippe Gravier) shows a colorful world in there as I look out at the park through the multicoloured stained glass panels. It works both from within and the outside and it is engaging to watch how the colors and light patterns change.
Prompting the question “How did he do that?” is the Jorge Otero-Pailos piece “Biosignature Preservation” which Holtermann Fine Art has brought to Frieze Sculpture. Formed from galvanised steel and painted elements, it has a twisted yet somehow ordered structure with sinuous metal seemingly moving in all sorts of directions. The transparent aspect of the spaces between adds to the impact of the natural environment around.
Responding to environmental concerns about plastic waste in an innovative way is Tatiana Wolska showing with L’Etrangère/Irene Laub Gallery. Her “Untitled (module 1 and 2)” is made from cut and thermo-welded plastic bottles with the most striking shade of red. The shapes created are extraordinary and act to remind us of our responsibility to consider our consumption, the materials we waste and the long-term impact of our behavior on our planet. The works is extra effective when it forms part of one of the park’s huge trees – shining out and prompting us to be a bit better.
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