Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art is a new art event in 2018 calendar. This Biennial is developed from the ground by a friend of mine, Agniya, who did an amazing job of bringing together exciting curator, artists and gathering solid art crowd.

During the Frieze Week a creative team of RIBOCA came to London to announce the concept of the Biennial – “Everything was forever, until was no more”. The concept reflects on ever-changing world around us, even things that seem so solid and fundamental.

Many historic buildings will come to live on 2nd of June to house artworks made not only by artists from Baltic states but also international creators. This is an amazing chance to introduce Riga’s cultural, historical and socio-political context and its surrounds.

So clear calendar for June and book your trip!


No commission

Southwark Arches transformed into a gallery space during 3 days in December (8/12/16-10/12/16) to accommodate “No Commission” art exhibition. Its title speaks for itself – there is no commission for artists and they get full amount written on the label and they also get to exhibit for free.

This Exhibition was a mixture of art, party and music. One of the artists said that “This is where street culture meets high culture”.

Variety of artworks pop culture inspired represented many international artists. No Commission exhibition in London was the third collaboration of Dean Collection and Bacardi. I visited it in the last day and almost all the artworks were sold!

The atmosphere was relaxed and people were clearly enjoying themselves. The entrance was free, you only had to register. This event was nothing like I have been to before, I think it was a success. Would definitely go again if it pops up.


Sculpture Park

Sculpture park is open to the public and free to visit in Regents Park, it opened at the same time as Frieze and unlike Frieze Sculpture Park is open until 8th of January. Usually Sculpture Park is open only during the fair however this year it is part of cultural calendar. There are 19 large multimedia sculptures and they are displayed by international galleries. Here is the full list of galleries for these years sculptures.

Nairy Baghramian
Treat, 2016
Marian Goodman Gallery


Fernando Casasempere
Second Skin, 2016

Lynn Chadwick
Stranger III, 1959

Jose Dávila
Joint Effort, 2016
Travesia Cuatro Gallery

Jean Dubuffet
Tour aux récits, (after maquette dated 19 July 1973) 1973
Waddington Custot Galleries

Zeng Fanzhi
Untitled, 2016
ShanghART Gallery


Barry Flanagan
Drummer, 1996
Waddington Custot Galleries

Ed Herring
Zinc-plated wood, 1969
Richard Saltoun Gallery

Henry Krokatsis
Kabin, 2016
Vigo Gallery

Claude Lalanne
Le Chou de Milan, 2016
Ben Brown Fine Arts


Goshka Macuga
International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation, Configuration 11, Last Man, 2016
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle

Eddie Martinez
half stepping hot stepper, 2016
Timothy Taylor

Matthew Monahan
Neptune (Rescue), 2016
Massimo De Carlo

Renato Nicolodi
Omnium Memoria I, 2016
Axel Vervoordt Gallery

Mikayel Ohanjanyan
Senza Titolo, 2016
Tornabuoni Art

Claes Oldenburg
Fagend Study, 1975
Luxembourg & Dayan

Eduardo Paolozzi
Trishula, 1966 Kalasan, 1973–4
Bowman Sculpture

Huang Rui
Women, 2006–12
Boers-Li Gallery

Conrad Shawcross
Monolith (optic), 2016
Victoria Miro


Frieze Masters


When I attended Frieze Masters two years ago it was not as popular as Frieze and the quality of art works was amazing – every artwork was a masterpiece. This time it was as more crowded and less engaging. I missed this years Masterpiece, so I can not compare these two art fairs.

All leading galleries participated showcasing multimillion art pieces. Wide range of art could satisfy any visitor: you could have found sculptures, canvases, icons, porcelain and antiques. Masterpieces by Picasso, Magritte, Fontana, Bacon and other well known artist were presented by different galleries. Old Masters galleries preferred conservative display of their artworks – either white walls or dark walls with light directed on the paintings.

I also want to point out the difference between Frieze contemporary ad Frieze masters and how two very different groups are targeted. In contemporary art fair the food offered was mostly pizza and sandwiches – food to go and on Frieze Masters you had more sophisticated options – oyster bar, champaign bar and high end Japanese restaurant.

Altogether it was more pleasant experience comparing to the main fair. And it is a great opportunity to explore masterpieces that belong to private hands and are rarely displayed to general public.

Frieze Art Fair

I attended Frieze art fair on the last day just before it’s closing time. The fair was in Regents Park between 6 and 9 of October. During last day it was still overcrowded and felt like a supermarket with no particular order. I rarely like contemporary art and this fair was not an exception.

All works at Frieze art fair were for sale, however, I could not imagine buying anything for my home. The majority of art works were “museum type” – large scale and weirdly made. I am not an art critic, but I would never put a tower made from furniture and decorations in my living room.

In the garden before entrance there is an installation with different tights stretched across tree branches and fences and continued inside the hall. The exhibition was a part of Frieze Project and created by Martin Soto Climent, Mexican Artist. The idea was to transfer the entrance into a dreamy-looking spider web. I am not sure if tights was the right tool to implement the ice because the entrance looked odd.

The Modern Institute‘s booth stood out, they used garage wall to display the works. It was something different from other exhibitors and caught my eye instantly. This UK gallery has a very fresh and interesting way of displaying the art. Their gallery in Glasgow transforms from industrial to white cube and then to marble space to better capture exhibitions. Now, I really want to go to Glasgow to visit it..

Another gallery that stood out was Marianne Boesky Gallery with there white cube space.  All white – artworks, walls and floor. I think this was one of the most photographed places during Frieze, white background was a perfect setting for pictures.

This gallery looked out of place, it seemed like a stand from Chelsea Flower Show rather than Frieze contemporary. It was 303 Gallery and garden installation is by Karen Kilimnik, American artist.

Here are some artworks that made me stop and look at them. Especially photograph of a swimmer – it looks extremely powerful, full of strength and will power.

And here is a lot of weird staff..

All in all it was a good way to see what is trending and what is the current state of contemporary art. Not many artworks were marked as sold but not all galleries display red stickers. I have noticed that a lot of art was broken into pieces and also many artworks were made with everyday furniture and home appliances. And pink Barbie installation, what is that about?

P.S. Some more interesting artworks for you to see.

Venice Biennale

Venice Biennale is one of the most important events for contemporary art. Art in a very wide sense – dance, art, cinema, architecture and music. Once every two years Venice provides a ground for many nations to present their art in a pavilion. Initially, this oldest biennale, took place in Giardini – beautiful garden with separate buildings-pavilions, later one venue was not enough and the Biennale extended to a second venue – Arsenale. Moreover, many pavilions are randomly appear on the streets of Venice and are hidden from the tourists. This year for the 56th biennale the title is All the Worlds Futures.

Serbian Pavilion 

It was one of the most powerful experiences at Venice Biennale. The exhibition was called “United Dead Nations”, the name is extremely powerful especially with the display. In the room on the floor there are piles of flags that once belonged to non-existing countries nowadays, countries like USSR and Yugoslavia. The music was peacefully tragic and completed the exhibition beautifully.

French Pavilion

France took the ancient trees out of the content and placed them in the pavilion, you have a giant spinning tree in the middle and sitting areas around it. The siting area, or more like lying area, looks as if it has a very hard surface, but in fact you fall gently in it.
The idea is to be closer to nature at take a close look at it. The sound is a buzzing is a very low electric sound that is created by the tree. You are invited to sit, enjoy and watch the tree. But in reality this buzzing sound is very disturbing and unpleasant.

British Pavilion

This pavilion was quite a shock, but the colour was good. British pavilion, executed by Sarah Lucas, welcomes you with a giant yellow penis and in the first room there is another one, because one is not enough. Walking through the room you can cigarette in the butt and children running around and laughing at toilet jokes. Other people are getting upset and saying that it’s not funny.

Japanese Pavilion

Japanese presented a very touching video installation about how kids come into the world. Four screens were playing different videos, one girl was saying that: “There was a red carpet and the pink carpet, I fell asleep and the next morning mommy said welcome home”. Walking upstairs you find yourself in a setting with red strings and a boat. It is believed that when a person is born he/she is already connected to your future husband/wife by a string and that’s how they find each other. The room was decorated beautifully.

Romanian Pavilion

Romania was the only country to showcase fine art by Adrian Ghenie. The exhibition “Darwin’s Room” was curated by Mihai Pop. It was interesting to see so many self-portraits and landscapes, oil on canvas is a rare at a Biennale.

Nordic Pavilion 

Surprisingly, one of my favourite pavilion was from Norway. The installation from frames with broken glass is also complimented by the sound of glass. Very light singing at the background, very calming. Trees in the middle of pavilion, birds sound and sense of presence of the nature. You just want to stay there for a while.

This is a small piece from what Biennale has to offer. As not a great fan of contemporary art I actually enjoyed being there. The experience, the atmosphere, beautiful walks, Italian spirit and diversity of pavilions make Venice Biennale worth a trip.

London Art Fair of Modern British and Contemporary Art

The London Art Fair of Modern British and contemporary art was held at Business Design Centre from 19th until 24th of January. Frieze Art Fair is the first choice for contemporary art lovers and critics because more prestigious artists and galleries exhibit there. However, it does not mean that the London Art Fair is less interesting.

 The space was like a warehouse, spacious and light. All the gallerys’ booths were spread over three levels. The different colours and textures of the artworks create a vibrant palette. Unlike the majority of other art fairs more galleries were open about their prices and put them on the wall. The London Art Fair was very budget-friendly because the price range was from hundreds to hundreds of thousands. A lot of galleries also offered prints of artworks for those who were not looking to spend much.

 Danielle Arnaud Gallery represented Suki Best’s mixed media artworks. Two were cardboard jigsaws of country houses painted with black ink and varnished. The price for each piece was £1340. It interesting because jigsaws have appeared in the Artissima Art Fair as well, created by the Intalian artist Christian Manuel Zanon.


Suki Best, £1,340

Pertwee Anderson & Gold represented refreshing and colourful pieces of art. These were basketballs featured as parts of fruits created by Simon Shepherd, who is combining natural and manufactured. Each piece can be purchased for £3500.


Simon Shepherd, £3,500

Merville Galleries featured a copper dress “Medusa” made by Susie Macmurray. The dress is made from 150 to 200 thousand copper rings and it weights about 300 kilogram. The artist created the chains first and then shaped it in the dress, it took 6 months and 2 assistants to produce this piece.


“Medusa”, Susie Macmurray, £60,000

 There was largely artworks presented, however, on the top floor you could find furniture departments as well as The New York Times newspaper stand. I had a pleasant overall impression from visiting the Art Fair. If you want to fully decorate your house it can be a good place to start shopping.

Artissima 2014

Artissima is held at the Oval, an architecturally innovative pavilion with 20,000 m² of naturally lit space made for the Winter Olympic Games of Turin 2006.


Smaller than both London’s Frieze and Paris’s Fiac, Turin-based international contemporary art fair, Artissima, takes place from 7-9 November. Hosting a wide range of media, the venue is quite industrial, flooded with natural light, has ample corridor space and plenty of sitting areas for visitors to relax in and engage with the works on display.


Scratches on the walls and floor fall into the experimental spirit of the fair and add to the art experience. Also, as a dog owner, I notice that dogs of all sizes are allowed in, which helps create a rather relaxed atmosphere rather than a strictly commercial one. The gallerists are very friendly and eager to talk to visitors, even those who are not interested in purchasing art. There are many international galleries and prices range from a thousand to hundreds of thousands of euros.

Hiwa k, My Father’s colour phasesPromoteogallery

Milanese Prometeogallery presents Hiwa K’s installation My Father’s colour phases, which draws inspiration from K’s pre colour TV childhood whereby the artist’s father attached colourful squares to a television screen. In this case, K uses thin cellophane sheets. This childhood memory is priced at €45,000.

Jon Rafman. Galerie Balice Herling

Among works of the Parisian Galerie Balice Hertling, Jon Rafman’s blue-tinged sculpture introduces a rather cutting-edge twist to modern sculpture. Rafman often uses photopolymer and metallic pigments. Made with a 3D printer, the piece sold for €18,000.

Botto and Bruno, Paesaggio in divenire IIIGalleri Aberto Peola

Turin-based Galleria Alberto Peola displays three works by artist duo Botto and Bruno. Depicting a soulless industrial city lacking human presence, the collages incorporate ink and pencil in addition to photography. Each piece can be purchased for around €5,000.

Luigi Minolfi, Tobacco TondoGalleria Paola Verrengia

Galleria Paola Verrengia from Salerno, presents a solo exhibition of Arte Povera artist Luigi Mainolfi, who uses simple materials that can be traced back to nature. This 160cm in diameter Tobacco Tondo is made of terracotta and its patterns are similar to those found in tobacco leaves. The price for it is not so “povera” – €60,000.

Angiola Gatti, UntitledCar Drde

Car Drde presents local artist Angiola Gatti, who describes her pen on paper work Untitled as “a tension between clarity and profusion.” This large-scale piece is selling for €9,000.

Apparatus 22, Buy me a Mystery. Kilobase

Bucharest’s Kilobase presents Buy me a Mystery, an installation made of neon, fur and a bed headboard by Apparatus 22. The work reflects upon consumerism – the idea that when everything is had and there is nothing more to own, a woman asks her lover to buy her a mystery. This particular mystery can be bought for €11,000.

Chai Siris, King Kong Eating BananaGalerie Torri

Paris-based Galerie Torri came to the fair with a sound installation by Chai Siris. In his attempt to put people in touch with nature, Siris takes an existing composition (with the consent of the composer) and renames it King Kong Eating Banana by attaching it to a banana tree. The piece was bought a couple of days before the fair’s opening. For €3,500 the buyer got both the audio file and the plant itself. When I asked the gallerist what exactly the artist had done, he replied “the connection.”

Antoni Starczewski. Galleria Upp

Venetian Galleria Upp offers a cucumber installation by Antoni Starczewski, first created in1973. All cucumbers should be different and for €25,000 one acquires photographs of the original installation as well as a certificate allowing reproduction of the work. Three subsequent editions have made since Starczewski’s death.

Juan Capistran, The wager of our generation or You are already dead, ask no question. Curro & Poncho

Mexican gallery Curro & Poncho presents the conceptual work of Juan Capistran. The artist attempts to show new ways to spread news – visitors are allowed to take a piece of paper, crumple it and throw it on the ground. This edition of three comes at a price of €8,000 and one can buy the certified PDF along with the right to print up to 2,000 copies. If one wants to loan it to a museum, all the copies must be destroyed before printing new ones.

Michele Bruna, Obitus. Fondazione CRC 

Not only galleries participate in the art fair, but foundations as well. The Fondazione Cassa di Rispario di Cuneo presents Michele Bruna’s Obitus. Bruna puts paper castings on the ground and then transfers them onto canvas. The soil used for the piece is not for sale yet serves to illustrate the process of creation. The canvases sell for €1,000.

Christian Manuel Zanon, discrasia diurna: un americano, un italiano e un canton tedescoArtericambi

Amongst artists attending the fair are Verona-based gallery Artericambi‘s Christian Manuel Zanon’s, whose practice combines banal images as part of jigsaws, giving the works a new perspective. Zanon says that he deliberately pairs the works because from a distance, they appear the same, but are in fact different landscapes. He also states that “it’s all a joke and I am trying to make sense of stupid images. It’s American and Italian landscapes crossing.” Although Zanon claims not to be concerned about the price of his work, I was later informed by the gallerist that Zanon’s piece costs €5,000.

Tom Johnson, White-toothed Ambition: an Invitation to an Empire StateLia Rumma.

Artissima also shows various performances. I met Tom Johnson, who was going to perform with his live bunny in something echoing How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (1965), a performance piece by German artist Joseph Beuys. According to Johnson, the performance is “about building something out of nothing and yet caring about that thing.”

Enjoyable, relaxed and with a pleasant atmosphere, Artissima is also a place to innovate and experiment. There is a variety of media and a good mix of art to suit a wide range of budgets. As such, anyone can find something that appeals to them. Even though I found some works a bit too experimental, I was still interested in learning more about them.