A fair to remember
The celebrated American textile artist Annie Albers was once quoted as saying that “art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness”. Today, her insight could not be more poignant. 2020 has been a year of hardships around the world, not least of which has been the fact that all our cultural institutions have had to shut down for months on end. Save for the valiant efforts of museums, theatres, operas, musicians, creators and curators to offer us a digital window into their work – the world has not been able to physically enjoy the joys of cultural immersion.
Fortunately, the tide is finally turning with the much-anticipated announcement of the START art fair at London’s Saatchi Gallery. Running from the 21 to the 25 October, this will be the fair’s seventh year, making it one of the cornerstone events of the UK’s art calendar. This year’s exhibition combines a special programme of gallery and artist exhibitors complemented by innovative START Projects.
Start Art Fair was founded in 2014 by collectors and philanthropists, David and Serenella Ciclitira. Seasoned travellers and art collectors, David and Serenella travelled the world, discovering new artists and galleries. After establishing the Global Eye Programme in 2008, an initiative that includes books, exhibitions and art awards, they believed a new kind of contemporary and global art fair could exist within the British landscape, one that could be new and relatable, ground-breaking and commercial, edgy and established.
START Art Fair was created to be an inclusive international platform where emerging and established artists can showcase their work. In seven years, the fair itself has helped springboard a wealth of exciting young talent from all over the world. Previous visionaries to have headlined have included Liu Bolin, Teamlab and one of the most colourful young artists working today, Philip Colbert.
Renowned globally for their prolific immersive productions, Teamlab selected START Art Fair to debut their imaginative digital cosmos in the UK. Liu Bolin – whose moniker may be the “Invisible Man,” but his indelible impression on contemporary art has remained anything but – created a new performance to enthrall and excite visitors becoming an established name on the world stage.
Philip Colbert’s showcase at START was the prequel to a whistle stop tour of the Far East, Frieze LA, Russia and Switzerland, where his ambitious installations and parallel Lobster universes would feature on the side of underground trains and as projections onto skyscrapers as well as museums.
David Ciclitira explains that all participants were keen for the fair to go ahead as planned in the physical world:
“The virtual fairs were a good temporary solution and were relatively successful as it was an exceptional moment when the public was confined indoors and the world was at a standstill, so people had the time to spend going through all the online viewing rooms…. but it is not a substitute.”
START Art Fair will present the works of painters, photographers, sculptors and makers from around the world, specialising mainly in emerging talent. Many will represent themselves, others with galleries – together, they will combine to showcase a compelling survey of seismic art scenes and global developments from around the globe.
START Art Fair Exhibitors 2020
START Art Fair is truly global in ambition and representation and this is fully represented by the portfolio of talent. As efforts to contain the effects of Covid-19 persist and millions of us will remain confined to our own turf this year – this is a global art experience aims to transport visitors to far-off lands.
This year, the fair welcomes back repeat exhibitors (along with cutting-edge galleries, makers and bright young things), including Nat Bowen who had her debut at START 2019. The glamorous art star applies her sensory techniques and visual language of light and space making her a hotly in-demand talent during lockdown, with collectors from New York, Europe and the Far East snapping up her mesmerising resin works. Fortunately for collectors – she has saved many of her key artworks for START Art Fair.
Figurative portrait artist and art provocateur Lincoln Townley will return for another lap of honour. The former BAFTA artist in residence is so in demand that he sells at blue chip prices and has his own Chelsea and Manchester luxury apartment galleries where collectors can live with the work before they buy them. Also featuring is neon artist Illuminati Neon, whose punk-fuelled pieces incorporate neon and slogans alongside genuine scene artefacts and memorabilia passed down to him by some of his most celebrated bandmate friends.
Lucy Morrish, last year’s winner of the 2019 Ciclitira Prize and post-graduate from The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts, will once again be prominently featuring her classical iconography and miniature works across the gallery. At the other end of the spectrum, Naomi Wallens -the unflinchingly avant-garde art disrupter channels Allan Jones-style pop, rock ’n’ roll, street art and fetish through her customised furniture and paintings. UK’s Thomas Spencer Gallery will present the art of Patrick Church, an exciting young US based Brit, whose work bears traces of his fellow New Yorkers, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.
The Emerald Isle will be represented by acclaimed photographer David Magee who will display his series of enchanting land and seascapes. Tech-wizard-turned-artist, Phillipp Humm (a Germany artist residing in London) has undergone a huge professional transformation in recent years – from brokering billion-dollar deals with telecom giants to creating waves in the art world. Represented by MAH Gallery he will present a new collection of oil paintings as the follow-up series to his 2019 art film set in Silicon Valley of Goethe’s Faust, starring Stephen Berkoff.
Revati Sharma Singh lives in London but the energy in her work is powered by the colour of the cities and regions of her birthplace, India. Jade Flower Gallery from Seoul, South Korea, will present a selection of exciting South Korean artists. Founded by Yang Okkyung to develop the idea of ‘imagination linking’, the concept reflects the gallery’s goal to forge links between the ingenuity of its artists, collectors and audience. Also from South Korea, Shin Eunhyue will present pictorial narratives of the architecture, music and the stories she wishes to present through her work. Premium Pages Collective and One East Asia, two separate Singapore-based galleries and art management organisations, will be presenting at START as part of their strategic dedication to promoting the vision and appreciation of South east Asian art globally.
Shtager Gallery, founded by art consultant, curator and gallerist Marina Shtager in St Petersburg (Russia) will be returning to the fair to showcase innovation. Channelling Monet and Gaughin, Irena Prochazkova, lives in Prague and infuses her work with the boldest of primary shades to capture her travels on canvas, depicting invigorating and colourful scenes. Czech-born Marek Boguszak will show his immense technical prowess via the whimsical landscape photography that is his prime domain. Meanwhile Daniela Raytchev is a London-based Slovakian/Bulgarian figurative multi media artist who will showcase new works, based on her perception and understanding of race, gender and sexual equality.
Francesca Borgo will present her ethereal abstract paintings while fellow Italian artist Marco Barberio will take visitors on a visual tour through urban landscapes, reminding us of the pre-Covid energy that pulsated through cities around the world.
Spanish artist Pedro Merry will return for the second year to START. The artist emerged from the world of professional motor racing to create his mixed media collage works which explore the relationship between human beings and machines. Portuguese artist Pedro Sousa Loura will exhibit his Mondrian-esque geometrical artworks created during lockdown and Mexican artist Erika Navas, who trained under Karl Lagerfeld at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna (where she now lives) will exhibit her figurative nude paintings. Norwegian artist, Marit Geraldine Bostad explores the Nordic Colour tradition in a bold new direction, blending tone to tone pastels with sparks of fluorescent, as a transcription of her own personal psychic state onto the canvas.
Representing North East Africa and the Middle East is Egyptian-born Hayam Elsayed whose paintings of women explore identity and complex issues through her work. Elsayed’s oil paintings represent a diversity and an appreciation of female subjects of all persuasions and cultures, in many ways echoing Frida Kahlo’s themes of introspection and the female body.
Stephanie Unaeze is a Nigerian female Illustrator and Painter who creates wonderful and whimsical pieces, often dealing with femininity and a divine spirituality. South African painter Jennifer Morrison will showcase large vibrant pieces that explode with colour.
From the Americas, Brazilian photographer Eurivaldo Bezerra will allow the viewer to travel the world via his lens – producing thought-provoking from around the world, images of the people of India or the landscapes of Iceland. Columbian photographer Roberto Lombana, will present a series of images, exploring urban and natural landscapes. Meanwhile, American-Iranian artist Fara Thomas will exhibit her vivid, abstract and colourful paintings.
START Art Fair is a five-day event that features booths, projects and presentations, all manners of contemporary art and ground-breaking conceptual and stylistic content from around the world. Collectors and culture seekers will discover a curated collection of 21st century art, design and decorative arts. With guest installations, curated projects and art with an achievable price tag to the reassuringly expensive, this annual event is as global as it gets. Vibrant and global, START Art Fair 2020 will be the art fair to remember.