London Art Weekend: Highlights
Image from the art fair Eye of the Collector.
After spending months in Mexico exploring the art scene there, I arrived back in London, perfectly timed for this year’s Art Weekend. With two art fairs and over 150 of London’s leading contemporary galleries, from blue-chip to emerging, coming together to offer special events and late-night openings all over the city, this was an exciting time to be back home.
London’s Art Weekend is not exclusive to the weekend; it began in the middle of the week on Wednesday, May 11th, with a special preview for the VIP crowd to the art fairs Photo London and Eye of the Collector. Photo London is a great fair to explore, discover and collect some of the world’s most exquisite photographic artworks showing a wide range from the 1850s to today. With over 100 of the world’s leading galleries from 18 countries, Photo London’s seventh edition had something for everyone. Moving away from the typical large tent fair model, Eye of the Collector, on the other hand, hosted its second edition set against the architectural masterpiece of Two Temple Place in London, where artworks are placed as if in an imaginary collector’s home. The less than 30 exhibitors with a majority from London-based galleries, Eye of the Collector creates a much more intimate vibe for its visitors. Aside from the art fairs with their concentrated selection of artworks, commercial art galleries stage exhibitions of equal importance to significant institutions and are accessible to everyone.
London Art Weekend is a lot of excitement, mainly because it’s a fabulous time of discovery in the art world. However, no one has the time to visit every booth at both fairs nor visit the plethora of exhibitions staged all across the city. Therefore, I created a condensed list of what I found interesting for you so that you can explore the artists further online on your own time.
Here are my picks…
Luchita Hurtado, "Mask." (1977). Courtesy of the artist's estate and gallery.
Luchita Hurtado, was a Venezuela-born, California-based artist who became a sensation in her 90s, a few years before her death at the age of 99. A near-contemporary and friend of Frida Kahlo, Isamu Noguchi and Agnes Martin, among other prominent modern artists, Hurtado was an active participant in the art scenes of New York, Mexico City, Taos, N.M., and Los Angeles, where she had lived since 1951. In an extensive eighty-year career spanning various artistic movements and styles, Hurtado's previously unseen works from her Sky Skin series is finally being exhibited and visible to the public at Hauser & Wirth's exhibition titled, Luchita Hurtado. The exhibition centres on the artist’s pursuit of the other worldly and a broader reflection on life and death.
Elena Subach, "Zolushka," (2019). Part of the series, "Grandmothers on the Edge of Heaven." Courtesy of the artist and gallery.
Ilex Photo, Warsaw-based gallery, exhibited works created solely by Ukrainian photographers at Photo London as a way to spread the awareness about the Ukrainian culture in response to the current world situation. The image above titled, Zolushka by the artist Elena Subach was my favorite not only from the ones showcased by the Polish gallery, but from the entire art fair.
Elena Subach was born in Chervonohrad, Ukraine. She obtained a degree in Economics, but started to work as a textile designer. Elena started working with photography in 2012 while living in Lviv, Ukraine. Her project “Grandmothers on the Edge of Heaven” is a private family story, but also a reflection on the gap between generations which is multiplied in her case by the gap between two countries and two political systems: Soviet Union and modern Ukraine.
You can follow Elena on Instagram here.
Flor Garduño, "Canasta de Luz," Guatemala (1989). Courtesy of the artist and gallery.
Flor Garduño is a Mexican photographer. Garduño is known for her black-and-white portraits of a diverse range of subjects, including indigenous people and cultures, street photography, and still lifes. Her photograph of a woman from Guatemala, carrying a basket of flowers was exhibited by Galerie Sophie Scheidecker at Photo London.
You can follow Flor on Instagram here.
Pink Powder, Lily Donaldson wearing John Galliano, 2008 © Nick Knight. Courtesy of the artist.
Nick Knight is the groundbreaking fashion imagemaker and director of SHOWstudio, a pioneering fashion website created “based on the belief that showing the entire creative process, from conception to completion is beneficial for the artist, the audience and the art itself.” Knight was one of the first and most high profile image makers to adopt digital film as a medium for showing fashion. Knight is this year’s Master of Photography at Photo London.
You can follow Nick on Instagram here.
Pablo Ortiz Monasterio "Bastón de agua" (1995 - 2021). Courtesy of the artist and gallery.
Pablo Ortiz Monasterio
Pablo Ortiz Monasterio is a Mexican photographer, writer and editor born in Mexico City in 1952. He is internationally recognized as one of the most representative artists of the Mexican contemporary photography. His work was exhibited by Mexico City-based gallery, Almanaque Fotografica at Photo London.
You can follow Pablo on Instagram here.
Lou Escobar, "Travel Inc.," (2021). Courtesy of the artist and gallery.
Lou Escobar is an artist from Paris. Her work is undeniably cinematic. The characters are the most eye-catching part of the compositions – they feel surreal and incongruous in contrast to their frequently quotidian surroundings. The photograph above was exhibited by Nil Gallery at Photo London.
You can follow Lou on Instagram here.
MIlan Young, "Sierra Leone," (2022). Courtesy of the artist and gallery.
Milan Young is an artist from USA and she creates work that speaks to her surroundings, thoughts, feelings, and culture within society. Her paintings are at the intersection of Abstract Expressionism, and Fauvism. Her work was exhibited by the London-based gallery, Gillian Jason Gallery at The Eye of the Collector.
You can follow Milan on Instagram here.
Courtesy Suzan Frecon And David Zwirner
Suzan Frecon is known for abstract oil paintings and works on paper. Her exhibition titled, Suzan Frecon: recent paintings, oil and water at David Zwirner marks the artists 8th solo show with the gallery and the first major presentation of her paintings in London.
Frecon was born in 1941 in Mexico, Pennsylvania. Following a degree in fine arts from Pennsylvania State University in 1963, she spent three years at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and studied paintings in museums throughout Europe.
You can follow the artist here.
Courtesy Ming Ying And JD Malat
Ming Ying is an emerging Chinese artist based in London. Her exhibition Society: Acts I – IV at JD Malat is the artist's first solo show. Ming’s work explores feelings of alienation and marginalization experienced by individuals who often find themselves distanced from their surroundings.
Shelbourne Films created an incredible film for this exhibition which is an exploration of Ming's imagination, using dreamlike recreations of the scenes in her paintings to make the unreal real. I highly recommend you watch it, as that alone is an artwork on its own. You can watch it here.
You can follow the artist here.
Ghada Amer, "My Body My Choice," (2022). Courtesy of the artist and gallery.
The Egyptian-born artist, Ghada Amer is best known for intricate embroidered paintings and floral installations that challenge the status quo and what it means to be a woman. Her exhibition My Body My Choice at Goodman Gallery has been given an increased pertinency by the news coming out of the US of the proposed overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade.
You can follow Ghada on Instagram here.
Image by author during talk at Photo London Prix Pictet Lounge
Magnum Photos x Prix Pictet: In Dialogue
This pick is not one particular artwork, rather an event that celebrated women in photography. The host Katy Hessel, art curator, historian and broadcaster interviewed Magnum photographer and president Olivia Arthur, as well as photographer Cristina de Middel. The conversation offered visitors incredible insight into how these two great photographs work which you can't get from simply observing their photographs. Overall this was an enriching experience during my London Art Weekend.
If you are interested in starting an art collection or growing an existing one, please contact me here. Make sure to sign-up for the Nomad Salon's newsletters so you don't miss any new articles. You can also follow me on Instagram to stay up to date with my travels around the world in search of new and exciting artists.