Frieze 2011


Rosella Biscotti, an Italian artist represented by Wilfreid Lentz Gallery, presented a simple work of two large sheets of lead placed on the ground. The work is called Fragile Beauty with troubled past, and is from The Bare Prison of Santo Stefano. Transported to the former prison island by hand, cut to fit the dimensions of one of the cells before being beaten by hand to take the imprints of the floor, the work speaks of extreme effort and confined space. The process was documented and forms part of the work.

The simplicity of the presentation and the earie sense of weight and toxisity captivated me for a whole 10 minutes, which is saying something for Frieze, which is a very hectic experience.
Light relief came in the form of Michael Landy’s credit card destroying machine and also by the much discussed boat presented as part of the Frieze projects, by Christian Janovski.

Presenting us with a luxury boat for sale on a stand, the visitor could choose to buy the boat for however many hundreds of thousands of pounds, and if you like, the artist would sign it, pushing the price up by £150000.
This commentary on the artist as a commodity and the theatre of the art fair seems razor sharp to me, but the irony seems to have missed many.
Outrage at the appropriation, the credit due to the manufacturers, and the audacity of the act seems to have rattled those who never liked Duchamps’ work in the first place.

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