Monday, March 11, 2013

Photography in the 2013 Independent

This was my first visit to the Independent art fair (it's been up and running for four years now, so I'm a little late to the party), and I came away generally impressed with the quality of what I saw. In contrast to the normal, seemingly endless warren of white cube booths in a fair, the Independent is more free form, with 49 galleries shoehorned into angled spaces and spread across three floors. This design is mostly a blessing, as it makes the whole fair flow better; the one downside is that I often had the feeling of being not quite sure whose space I was in, especially in the higher traffic zones. Photography-wise, the show tended toward smartly conceptual work rather than big name churn and burn merch.

The booths/galleries are arranged below by my winding path through the fair, roughly moving up and through the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors of the building starting at the bottom. For each booth, a list of photographers has been provided, with the number of works on display in parentheses. Additional commentary, prices, and pictures of the installation are also included as appropriate.

Murray Guy (here): An-My Lê (9). This booth contained a well-chosen mix of Lê's older and newer work. This image of long sticks with toy airplanes attached to the ends was particularly elegant ($5000).

Maureen Paley (here): Anne Hardy (1), Wolfgang Tillmans (2), James Welling (1). I never seem to tire of Wolfgang Tillmans abstractions ($16000).

Galerie Jocelyn Wolff (here): Prinz Gholam (6). This artist duo has recreated poses from classical paintings; they're gracefully reverential and entirely modern at the same time (2200€ each).

The Modern Institute (here): Michael Wilkinson (4)

Office Baroque (here): Leigh Ledare (2), Michel Auder (1 video)

Galerie Meyer Kainer (here): Lucie Stahl (6). The process here is worth understanding: collaged found images/photographs glued onto a trash can, the can then held above a scanner, the entire image then printed and covered with thick transparent resin (7500€ each).

Andrew Kreps Gallery (here): Annette Kelm (4, 1 triptych). A simple, conceptual still life of iterations of folded bandanas, executed crispy and cleanly (8500€ each).

Real Fine Arts (here): Heji Shin (3)

Richard Telles Fine Art (here): Dan Finsel (2)

Galerie Christian Nagel (here): Clegg & Guttman (2)

White Columns (here): Michele Abeles (1), Marc Hundley (1), Type 42 Anonymous (1). Look at all those red dots! This black and white Abeles image in an edition of 50 was sold out by the time I arrived ($150). No wonder; it's wonderfully dense and interlocked.

Herald Street (here): Josh Brand (2). These recent images by Brand have become increasingly hard to parse. Fragments of imagery and improvisational darkroom processes meld together in moody, textural abstraction ($4000).

Printed Matter (here): Erica Baum (2). Baum is represented by Bureau (here), but these two prints were on a Printed Matter wall, as part of a fund raiser I believe. The scalloped gradation of newspaper edges was richly tactile ($2500).

Galerie Susanne Zander (here): Thomas Glendenning Hamilton (5)

Jack Hanely Gallery (here): Jessica Rath (3)

Galerija Gregor Podnar (here): Alexander Gutke (3, 1 slideshow of 81 images). I thought this was a very well-executed but quietly straightforward conceptual project. Starting with soft light on a white wall (morning blue or afternoon orange), the image has been rephotographed and layered multiple times, slowly intensifying the color and creating the Albers-like effect ($7800 each).

KOW (here): Tobias Zielony (5). These images were drawn from Zielony's larger project on the lives of young Berlin prostitutes. They're intimate without being exploitative ($8200 or $12000 based on size).

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