“Artist-to-Artist” is a standout of Frieze’s 20th anniversary programming, as it smartly subverts self-reference, instead projecting its hopes into the future by means of these rising and under-sung voices.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for Frieze to put artists—some who may not be new, but who aren’t mainstream—on this international platform,” Simonette Quamina told ARTnews. Quamina, who was nominated by Alvaro Barrington, made an especially topical contribution given the fair’s preoccupation with the passage of time.
A Praxis artist, she’s best known for her varied collage and printmaking techniques which incorporate autobiographical imagery. The newest works, shape-shifting graphite drawings which variously absorb and negate light, depending on the pressure she applied to the graphite, are a departure from her usual materials, though. Talking to ARTnews via phone from London, she was reluctant to concede the story unfolding here, though she said that like much of her work, they reflect the mutable nature of memory—in particular her memories of growing up across Canada, Guyana, Saint Vincent, and the United States.
The frenetic pace of art fairs encourages—if not forces—cursory viewing, but Quamina’s work, and those of her peers in “Artist-to-Artist,” reward a slow look.
“If you don’t have a relation culturally to where I’m from, and maybe see a flower in the print for its aesthetic pleasure, that’s fine,” Quamina said. “But if you take the time to look, research, or ask, it deepens the narrative.”
Langret, Frieze London’s director, added: “It has been gratifying to see the section, its artists and their presentations, so warmly received and I was especially thrilled to learn that Tate has acquired work from Ayoung Kim’s booth.”