Cory Arcangel intervened in the fair’s gallery selection process. Arcangel hid a golden ticket inside one of hundreds of chocolate bars which were sent to all the galleries who were unsuccessful in their application to this year’s fair. Studiò di Giovanna Simonetta was the finder of the golden ticket and was allocated a stand at Frieze Art Fair 2008.
Pavel Büchler delights in drawing attention to the obvious and his project was an expression of the metaphorical climate of the fair. Reinforcing the experience of dislocation from reality, his piece confounded the senses of visitors in the entrance corridor by playing sounds that represented the opposite of actual external weather conditions.
Ceal Floyer worked with one of the ubiquitous irritations of social life: the placing of a folded beer mat under a table leg to stabilize it. In fact the idea of steadying an uneven surface was turned on its head and instead a situation of co-dependence was created, with all the legs of the table being balanced on beer mats and relying on each other to create ‘stability’.
Tue Greenfort excavated a chamber between gallery stands to present an installation that was both a space to relax and – literally – a distillation of the essence of visitors to the fair. While inside a darkened room filled with the sound of waves, dehumidification equipment imperceptibly extracted moisture from unsuspecting visitors.
Sharon Hayes presented a performance that increased in intensity on each subsequent day of the fair. The performance was an exposure of the constitution of the fair’s audience and reflected notions of inclusivity, exclusivity and advantaged information.
Jeppe Hein drew together the artificial construction of the fair with the natural surroundings of the park in an installation of subtly animated trees outside the entrance to the fair. Creating a visually unsettling illusion, the piece was also an encouragement to pause before the frenetic human activity inside the tent.
Norma Jeane, an artist who works outside the commercial gallery system, presented a performance that depended on audience participation. The piece was both a commentary on how the once-social activity of smoking has been transformed through regulation and legislation into something deeply-antisocial, and a presentation of the heightened discomfort required to indulge private pleasure in public space.
Agnieszka Kurant presented a trio of trained parrots that were taught to use an alternative language. Both a reflection on nature behaving unnaturally and a caricature of the zoo-like atmosphere of the art fair and the self-reflexive communication of the art world. Referring to two similar but unrealized projects by other artists, Kurant questioned the notions of copyright and the marketplace.
Bert Rodriguez created a performance-based installation project consisting of a massage station located in a centralized, highly trafficked area of the fair. At certain times for the duration of the fair, the artist was available to perform a ten minute foot massage for any weary visitors walking through.
Allen Ruppersberg followed in the tradition of the travelling bard by performing and selling poems at reduced prices during the time of the fair. Setting up an ad-hoc stall inside the Koenig bookstore, Ruppersberg brought some of the anti-commercialism of the beat era to the slick marketplace of the art fair.
Andreas Slominski furnished the fair with elements familiar from public spaces overseas but rare in the UK. Digital signage in various location inside the fair played with received notions of time and climate and disrupted expectations of trust in so-called official information.
Sirkus, a bar in the scruffy downtown area of Reykjavik, was demolished this spring after serving for nine years as a living landmark and the hub of the city’s alternative arts scene. Kling & Bang, a gallery run by eight enthusiastic artists, not only helped the owner save the bar’s façade and interior, but also resolved to bring it to the UK and re-erect it at Frieze Art Fair. In an echo of the travelling circus invoked by the bar’s name, this place of celebration and creation moved town for a few short days.
MUSAC opened on 1 April 2005 in the city of León, Spain, with the aim of providing the local community with a venue for contemporary art and of gaining a strong national and international reputation for its collection and public programmes. As a partner institution at Frieze Art Fair 2008, MUSAC intended to challenge the traditional role of institutions at art fairs.