Tag Archives: artists

Frieze Week: Zoo Art Fair

Zoo Art Fair has a new home in the East this year and really, it feels like it should have been there all along.  Zoo used to be at the Royal Academy and now even the more conventional buyers will have to hop on the 149 to the three disused buildings just behind Shoreditch High Street.

Zoo is the place to find emerging artists but there are some Hirsts and Gilbert and George pieces to keep the bigtime collectors happy. The atmosphere of is a lot more relaxed and inclusive than the Pavilion of Art & Design, which attracts a more well-heeled, conventional crowd. 

Damien Hirst jaws

This year, Zoo features 50 contemporary arts organisations from all over Europe, including London galleries such as Serpentine Gallery, White Cube, Other Criteria, Camden Arts Centre, Whitechapel Gallery.  There are three art zones comprising four main exhibitions, curated by FormContent, LUX, Studio Voltaire and Rob Tufnell.

Zoo art fair

LUX’s  Film As A Subversive Art is a project inspired by Amos Vogel’s 1974 book of the same name that continues the question of subversion in contemporary art and film.  It was developed by six students from the Curating Programme at Goldsmiths, with Ellen Cantor’s captivating Pinochet Porn showing on Friday.  It narrates the tragi-comic lives of five adults who grew up during Pinochet regime, including the charming trainwreck Paloma and her Six Husbands, and ends with the question: Is tragedy a choice?

Zoo art fair

Confetti covered the floor of Mariel Lopez Gallery (Berlin) booth, which was in fact a piece by Ruben Grillo called 20 Manifestos – famous manifestos shredded, scattered and stood upon.  Also, Ant Macari showed his work behind a giant wall cavity and used his trademark scrolls and symbols to communicate cultural and religious ideas. 

Ant Macari

After viewing the art, you can quaff some champagne at the elegant Champagne Perrier-Jouet Bar and of course, it wouldn’t be an east end trendy knees up with Bistrotheque and their pop-up restaurant.

Also, if you’re new to the treasures of the east, Zoo have printed a map of the best places to drink and break bread with emerging artists and the galleries where they hang out.

Bistrotheque

The only trouble with Zoo is the hefty ticket price at £15, with no student discount.  The poor, impoverished art school students there can barely afford to make any huge purchases, or even a can of coke at the cafe from what I heard, but they could well be the next generation of talent at Zoo.

Zoo Art Fair is on now until Monday 19 October. 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6PG.

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Lock me up, baby!

Backpacking around Eastern Europe with 3 of my uni friends was one long blur of pivo, art galleries, Becherovka and oddly enough, churches.  I have my friend Maeve to thank for booking us into a prison (bear with me here) rather than another terrifying hostel with ghosts, crying babies and complementary pills between the sheets.

Hostel Celica in Ljubljana’s defiant Metelkova district used to be a military prison until 1991, but has been transformed by artists, architects and local university students into a technicolour artistic hub.

Hostel Celica

The hostel features 20 cells (they still have the original bars) individually designed by artists and 8 more traditional rooms, just in case the barred windows bring back all too familiar memories for travellers – hey, who am I to judge?

Our favourite area was the oriental cafe, a moroccan den with hookahs and giant pillows, but there is also a cyber cafe and Slovenian ‘gostilna’ to have drinks with your new prison mates before heading into town (a walk of about 700m).

Hostel Celica

But Hostel Celica’s unusual location is equally intriguing and has a pretty complex political history. Metelkova Mesto is an independent commune in the centre of Ljubljana that incorporates 7 buildings within a former military barracks. Since forming in 1993, the self-described ‘Autonomous Culture Zone’ has fiercely fought against modernisation and the city’s commercial aspirations through creative and physical resistance, but still its future existence relies on keeping the developers and authorities at bay.

Metelkova Mesto

The surreal mini city is now home to clubs, art galleries, live music spaces and artist studios and there’s always some kind of party going on.

Keeping with Metelkova’s inclusive spirit, Hostel Celica has a Point of Peace, a room for prayer, meditation and reflection for all religions, which could be useful after a sinful night of partying.  It has even been blessed by influential spiritual leaders in Slovenia.

There are a handful of creative communes still standing in Europe, the most well-known being Copenhagen’s long-standing ‘freetown’ Christiania, but their survival is always hanging on a shoestring.  Staying at Hostel Celica is the best way to experience and culture and parties but still have a comfy bed to go back to – quick though, before it’s too late.

Hostel Celica Metelkova 8, SI – 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia