5 things that could only happen at Frieze
Look out for Julie Verhoeven's fine-art lavatory intervention, chimps, puppets and Donald Trump in psychoanalysis
If you’re visiting Frieze London this week (Thursday 6 – Saturday 9 October), make sure you go to the loo. This isn’t a vulgar bit of scatological advice, but a valid art tip, as the British artist Julie Verhoeven is staging an artistic “intervention” in both the men’s and women’s lavatories as part of Frieze Projects.
“I’ve always had a fascination with toilet,” explains the artist over on Frieze.com. “We all spend so much time in them, for one reason or another, and I quite like that they’re universal. There’s no way of really avoiding them, whoever you are. Then I’ve always had this soft spot for toilet attendants, because people behave appallingly towards them,” says the artist. We hope there will be no such behaviour in the Frieze WCs this week. After all, there’s plenty of equally engaging goings-on elsewhere in the fair
The US artist Liz Magic Laser will stage the UK premier her Frieze Sounds project, a fictional recording between Donald Trump and analyst-cum-interviewer, investigating the psychological depths of Trump’s personal and presidential campaign. Catch it in the VIP cars, or stream it, above.
The Cuban American artist Coco Fusco will be donning a monkey mask to deliver her lecture in the Frieze auditorium as Dr Zira, the chimpanzee psychologist from Planet of the Apes. Part performance art, part sincere exploration of humankind’s predatory behaviour, the lecture will draw on primatology, neuroscience and evolution, as well as a just a little science fiction.
Mankind’s plight also lies at the centre of Sibylle Berg and Claus Richter's robotic puppet show. Berg, a prominent German novelist, and Richter, as fine artist, have created Wonderland Ave. (2016) for the fair, an experimental puppet show set in the near future, when machines take control of human kind. The piece will be staged daily on a set designed by Richter to resemble a futuristic modular living unit.
And if that sounds a little too queasy, you can return to the reassuring, if equally false world of the struggling artist’s atelier at the Hauser & Wirth booth. This year the gallery’s stand will be a tongue-in-cheek pastiche of the kind of reconstructed artists’ studios many of us have grown used to seeing in shows over the past few years. The works on show, by Paul McCarthy, Pipilotti Rist, Louise Bourgeois and others, all share a muted colour palette, in keeping with the gallery’s fictional studio setting, which, as Hauser & Wirth explain, “draws inspiration from the studio of Cézanne in Aix en Provence and from Brâncuși’s restaged studio at Centre Pompidou, both of which rely on a heavy degree of myth.”
And - OK, it’s over our limit of five things - for an entirely random take on the booth presentation, try Ryan Gander’s Auto-Abstraction stand, staged by the London gallery Limoncello and the Tokyo concern Taro Nasu. Gander is using a pair of dice (one from each gallery) to pick abstract works from the Limoncello and Taro Nasu’s available stock. Will this make for better curatorial choices? Come along and find out.