Visiting one of the big art fairs, such as Frieze or art Basel, it is quickly evident that many of those visiting are not always particularly interested in the art. Naturally many are, but around this highly moneyed core orbit the people-watchers, hangers-on and parasites in a desperate see-and-be-seen dance, different groups each with their own specific agenda.
“The big collectors try to get in and out before anyone buys what they are after and certainly before the hoi polloi gets to look. And then you’ve got people who are just there for the social scene. So you have people texting or not paying any attention at all. It is as if the art is not there, or that they think it has no effect on them. But when you stop the moment you can see this weird world that is taking place” say Fischl
It is this world – which he usually desperately avoids – to which Eric Fischl has most recently turned a keenly tuned eye. As a starting point he took hundreds of photographs from which he selected, before editing and manipulating in Photoshop to construct an image to ultimately translate into paint.
As the series has grown so has the complexity of the resonances of the images, individually and in relation to each other. The paintings are a sharp social satire as much as they are a loving tribute to the world the artist knows best: the international art scene.
A keen observer of the relationships between people, and between people and their surroundings Fischl here demonstrates his acute observation of body language and the small details that reflect social relationships. Art fairs are notoriously busy, and these paintings give a sense of the energy and bustle as visitors move amongst the stands, apparently giving as much attention to each other – and to their mobile phones – as to the artworks on display.
Fischl has described this effect: “The space in these paintings is collapsed, cluttered, irrational and aggressive. Those depicted in the scenes seem oblivious to the mania of their condition. What I’ve discovered as I moved into this work is the essentially abstract nature of the art fair spaces. They are nearly cubistic in their flatness and their jarring collaged constructions. Layers of consciousness on top of layers of cross-purposes.”.
Also on show in Victoria Miro’s downstairs galleries is a multimedia exhibition of new works from the excellent Wangechi Mutu.
For more information on both exhibitions, visit www.victoria-miro.com
All images by CELLOPHANELAND*.