Thursday, March 1, 2012


Frieze Projects expands into London’s East End
Public art works are due to be installed this summer, during the London Olympics

By Julia Michalska. Web only
Published online: 22 February 2012

After announcing a new fair across the Atlantic in New York, Frieze is now looking to expand its base back home into London’s East End. The non-profit arm of the art fair, the Frieze Foundation, is planning to curate and produce at least four new public art projects throughout six east London boroughs. A playground, a doorknob, pool toys and a series of billboards will feature among the works produced for Frieze Projects East, which opens during the London Olympics. The project has been organised in cooperation with the London 2012 Festival and the summer festival Create.

East London is an area with many cultural platforms, says Hadrian Garrard, the director of Create, “but it is also an area with very low levels of cultural engagement. We hope to bridge that gap by connecting artists with the local community”. Integrating the works into the east London environment is a central part of the commissions. “In the spirit of the projects at the Frieze fair, the commissions are mindful of and engage with the local community,” says Sarah McCrory, the curator of the Frieze Foundation. The British artists Anthea Hamilton and Nicholas Byrne, for example, have set out to revive the disused Poplar Baths in Tower Hamlets, a leisure centre from the 1920s that has been closed to the public since the early 1980s. Giant inflatable sculptures will fill the empty swimming pool, an artistic intervention that will give visitors and nearby residents a chance to enter the building for the first time in 30 years.

All participating artists have some relationship with London, having lived, studied or worked in the city. The Indian artist Sarnath Banerjee studied at Goldsmiths, University of London while the Turkish artist Can Altay undertook an artist residency here. The fourth artist, Gary Webb, is based in London. His large sculpture made with “elements of modular playground equipment” will be constructed in a community park and is the series’ only permanent project. “The word ‘legacy’ is a notion mentioned a lot in regard to the Olympics, and we are pleased to leave something permanent as well,” says McCrory. A fifth project—which, according to McCrory, is “battling physics”—has yet to be announced. The project opens on 25 June.

CORRECTION: This text has been updated to correct the spelling of the Frieze Foundation's curator as well as the project's opening date.

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