October 11, 2012 7:14 pm

Taste for the anti-Frieze

The chic Sunday Fair and the video-art fair Moving Image offer alternatives to Frieze’s main event in London
'Natures' by Benjamin Senior

'Natures' by Benjamin Senior

If the Sunday Fair were a fashion label, it would be described as radical chic. Now in its third year, it has stayed faithful to its alternative location in a cavernous industrial basement. With just 20 galleries, all paying less than £2,000 each for their open-plan spaces and featuring mostly emerging artists, it is the antithesis of Frieze in nearby Regent’s Park.

Nevertheless Sunday has put itself squarely on the map and it’s clear that this year the presence of top collectors such as Michael and Susan Hort and Richard Sykes and Penny Mason came as no surprise to organising galleries Limoncello (London), Croy Nielsen (Berlin) and Tulips & Roses (Brussels).

A flurry of sales in the first hour suggested that Sunday’s self-confidence is well founded. At Zurich gallery BolteLang, a quintet of superb figurative paintings in tempera of swimmers – think Piero della Francesca by way of Balthus and Busby Berkeley – by 32-year-old, London-based Benjamin Senior had all sold in the first 10 minutes for between £2,500 and £3,500 each. Among their buyers was Danish food group owner, Palle Skov Jensen. “They draw the eye,” he said. “It’s my first time here and I’m very impressed by the quality.”

At Limoncello, “Headless Chicken”, an acrylic on canvas by Cornelia Baltes, had sold for £2,500. The gallery had also sold a £6,000 work in blue slate and chalk by Jack Strange while Copenhagen gallery Christian Andersen had sold “Ref 11”, 2012 by Morten Skroder Lund for £4,300.

Several galleries at Sunday, including New York-based Lisa Cooley, had previously participated in Frame, Frieze’s section for emerging gallerists. Cooley’s stand shone out for quality, thanks to “Any window, any morning, any evening, any day”, a quartet of intensely vital paintings of leaves seen through a window by New York-based painter Cynthia Daignault.

Also embedding itself on the Frieze week calendar is video-art fair Moving Image. Now in its second year in the raw-brick halls of the Bargehouse, the display encompassed 35 works whose price range spanned $1,500 to $125,000.

Even rangier was the diversity of work on show. Seminal talents included Gary Hill, Leslie Thornton and Peter Campus. Yet thanks to Moving Image’s desire to support young talent, London-based Goldsmiths graduate Micah Harbon was receiving his first public screening with his film of a chicken’s struggle to free itself from the tapes that bound it to a table. Although too early for many sales, an edition of Harbon’s work had already been reserved at $3,500. Meanwhile Tate Modern had scooped up a copy of “Chronoscope, 1951, 11pm” (2011) by Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck and Media Farzin, about Iran’s decision to nationalise its oil industry in 1951, selected by Tate curator of film Stuart Corner as the winner of the Moving Image Award.

Both fairs end on Sunday. More Frieze week coverage at www.ft.com/frieze

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