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It could be a question at the art market pub quiz. What links food fights, a luxury yacht and a hermit crab in a Brancusi shell? The answer is that all have featured in Frieze Projects, the non-commercial, site-specific commissions that accompany the fair.
This year Nicola Lees, the new curator of Frieze Foundation, is putting them a little more centre stage, and has commissioned Andreas Angelidakis to create a space for them. Described by the Greek architect as his “first experiment with a moveable theatrical system”, the area forms a distinctive island for the Projects, borrowing the white walls of galleries, but standing apart from Frieze’s main commercial fairway. Each day a different artist will have their piece “activated”, but each work will remain installed for the duration of the fair.
This year play is the thing: Josef Strau’s “Letter Tunnels” are different sized W, A and P-shaped sculptures that visitors can walk through and around to explore; Pilvi Takala is enlisting a committee of children to decide the final form of her project; and Greek artist Angelo Plessas has created “The Temple of Play”, a bespoke tent next to the Projects space that acts as a playground for children, who will navigate their way through games and creative workshops.
Lee explains that the Projects are open-ended and will evolve as the fair goes on. Ken Okiishi has installed a visitor-activated paintball machine that will steadily build up abstract paintings. Gerry Bibby will use thousands of oyster shells, collected from Frieze building staff before the fair, to create a sculpture. And Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander has created a piece in which players gradually peel away the wallpaper of her installation as part of a game. She will also draw on her 2010 work “The Conversation”, in which spy cameras hidden within a gallery space capture audiences on film.
French artist Lili Reynaud-Dewar, meanwhile, has committed herself to create only “bedroom pieces” throughout 2013. At her Frieze bedroom installation, she will explore the theme of private and public by reading texts by authors who use their own life as the subject for their art, from her installation bedroom.
Only time will tell whether this year’s Projects will lodge in visitors’ minds like the Brancusi crab. But if you manage to press Okiishi’s paintball button, you will honestly be able to say you helped make a work shown at Frieze.