pOEtry pArk took place in Regent’s Park and incorporated various activities and performances relating to an expanded idea of poetry. A unique first-time collaboration by Ei Arakawa and Karl Holmqvist, the ‘park’ included sculptural and print interpretations of poetry as a physical existence. pOEtry pArk also functioned as a refuge from the fair, a haven to which visitors could temporarily retreat from the preoccupied atmosphere of the fair, incorporating relaxing and meditative activities and an environment influenced by Japanese-american artist Isamu Noguchi.
Chetwynd created a new and unique performance based on a live game show. Two teams, ‘The Oppressed Purée’ and ‘Women Who Refuse To Grow Old Gracefully’, took part in a live competition. Accompanied by a chamber orchestra recreating seal music, they performed mime and dance routines in order to compete for the glory of a ride on ‘The Cat Bus’, a character brought to life from Studio Ghibli’s anime film, Totoro My Neighbour. The event was a spirited contest, incorporating Chetwynd’s interest in amateur performance, handmade costume, and a number of conflating influences, ranging from Mae West to John Waters, via Doris Lessing and the Marx Brothers.
Darbyshire redesigned the ticket tent to simulate the design of a popular mobile phone concept store. Fully functional as the box office, it also included a number of the functionless devices often used by the creators of such concept stores and the subversion of what we consider classic store design concepts. The project examined how an audience with varying levels of familiarity with commercial design, reacts to the displaced design conventions employed within the structure.
Based on an architectural blue print from 1847, Ebner and Sinister built a room from Aircrete breeze blocks. However, although the original 1847 structure was designed to keep the weather out, the work for Frieze Art Fair is designed to keep sound in. The situation of the fair and its material resources were used to commission an eight-part episodic text on the octopus. Twice daily at 12 and 4pm the room was closed to the public and the text was read and recorded. As the fair closes, the episodes were stuck together to form a whole, to be played to a dedicated audience on the 31st floor of the Chrysler Building in New York. The recording was then be transcribed and republished as a PDF on servinglibrary.org
Kuri created a number of powder-coated metal sculptures that replaced the fair’s existing outdoor ashtrays. These sculptures required the direct interaction of the audience to complete the works. As they were used, the surface became soiled and damaged by refuse and burns that accumulate throughout the duration of the fair. The sculptures questioned not only the relationship between viewer, functional object and artwork, but also their position in the transitory space between inside and out.
Nashat continued his dialogue with the art of others in a new video work, which examined how display and reproduction affect meaning and mediation. By taking a group of selected sculptures not present at the fair, Nashat conceived of these works as sculptural displays of proxies or stand-ins, at various locations throughout the fair, signalling the displacement and absence of the artworks. Through his use of specific film techniques such as radical framing, cropping, focal pulls and the notion of a subjective camera, he put himself in the position of the viewer encountering the chosen artworks.
Relph invited a number of artists to design and build donation boxes for a charity or institution of their choosing. These boxes were installed throughout the fair, encouraging the visiting public to donate. Once the fair was over, both the box itself and the money raised were given to the chosen charities. As a public display of physical cash and relative modesty, the project provided a contrast with the vast amounts of ‘invisible’ money that is exchanged at the fair, and was an opportunity for the artists involved to consider their work in a new context.
Ström’s project for the fair comprised ten performers acting the roles of ‘Ten Embarrassed Men’. These men navigated the fair as a group, identifiable by their matching clothing and demeanour. Often putting herself in difficult or uncomfortable situations to perform songs, Ström’s work centres around some of the mechanics of art-making, and her personal and heartfelt exposé of elements of her private life. These performers played the part of men embarrassed by a specific issue – in this case the representation of women in art fairs.
Vallance presented a panel discussion in the fair auditorium. He employed five psychic mediums to channel the spirits of famous artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Jackson Pollock, Frida Kahlo, Marcel Duchamp and Vincent van Gogh. These artists were asked a number of questions. A moderator, Brian Dillon, posed questions querying the role of art in the after-world, and the dead artists’ opinions on the art market in the living world. The panel wasl open to audience questions at the end of the discussion.
Signal is a non-profit organisation founded in 1998, focusing on the production, presentation, discourse and diffusion of contemporary art and thought, run by a collective of artists and curators. Signal has developed a focus on an exploration of the possibilities of a collaborative curatorial practice and the manifold functions of an art arena. In 2009 Signal embarked on an extensive research project that resulted in the publication A Parallel History - The Independent ArtArenas of Skåne 1968–2008, a study on the variegated array of initiatives and exhibition spaces that were central in shaping the development of a vibrant art scene in Sweden. At Frieze Art Fair, they presented this history of their immediate forerunners in close dialogue with another work Sweden today – A thousand and one black nights, that was published by Edition Sellem in 1980, linking the two publications both in time and space.
Despite its temporary displacement from its permanent site in the city of Iasi, at Frieze Art Fair, the Romanian organisation Vector faced the impossible task of performing its usual function. Vector was represented by the work of artists Matei Bejenaru, Florin Bobu and Antonia Hirsch as well as the writer Dan Lungu. Another dimension of their presence at the fair was Vector Publication, an experimental book with contributions by artists who collaborated with Vector between 1997 and 2010. This project is supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute in London.