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Deutsche Bank Sponsors the Frieze Art Fair in London for the Sixth Time


Starting on October 14, London’s Frieze Art Fair opened its doors to the public. For the sixth time, Deutsche Bank was main sponsor of the young fair, which has rapidly grown to become one of the most exciting art events worldwide. Over 160 selected galleries from all over the world presented around 1,000 artists. This year, over 60,000 visitors were expected—curators, artists, collectors, critics, and gallery dealers as well as the general public, whose interest in contemporary art is on the increase. The declared goal of both the organizers and of Deutsche Bank is to make contemporary art widely accessible. The crowds of visitors on opening day already proved that it would be an amazing success in this regard. While in the morning art experts and notables like Valentino, Lily Allen, and the Russian multi-millionaire Roman Abramovich were free to stroll through the fair in a relaxed atmosphere, towards evening Frieze began to resemble a party again—which is the way Londoners celebrate the beginning of "Frieze Week" with countless exhibitions and art events. At Deutsche Bank’s VIP Lounge, the mood was also highly communicative. Protagonists of the world of finance and business met with collectors, gallery dealers, and artists like Tracey Emin in an exhibition by Thomas Struth, in which the Dusseldorf-based art photographer contributed new works from his Paradise series to accompany works from the Deutsche Bank Collection.

It is London’s particular blend of capital and creativity that makes Frieze a barometer of moods in the art scene. While the last fair took place under the immediate impression of a worldwide financial crisis that was only just beginning to unfold, many were asking themselves now how collectors would react this year. The results on the first and most important day were clear: following the initial shock, a mild recuperation of the market can be discerned. In the meantime, however, the change in course that has taken place will continue. Despite the cheerful atmosphere in the evening, one couldn’t help notice that the time of excess, records, and immediate sell-outs is over. While some galleries, such as Thaddaeus Ropac, were able to report bona-fide sales such as the large work by Georg Baselitz that went for 400,000 Euros, much of the business remained at a mid-level or in the lower price segment.

At the same time, there was more emphasis on individual works, as opposed to less on strong appearance and position taking on the part of individual galleries. This phenomenon can also be observed at other fairs. Perhaps the pressure of the market prevents the galleries from taking risks or experimenting, favoring instead a "best of" selection of their artists. To prevent this kind of development, the relatively new section Frame was added this year, in which international newcomer galleries show individual curated positions. Almost all booths demonstrated that the trend is in the reduced assemblage and in minimal and conceptual installation. The colorful variety of the main halls contrasted with the understatement of the young gallery booths.

Even while a degree of program was lacking in the main halls, there were many highlights to be discovered here nonetheless, such as Luc Tuymans’ gigantic painting Wonderland (1,000,000 pounds) at the New York gallery David Zwirner, or the seven-meter-wide, opulently embroidered tapestry mixing traditional folk art with consumerism criticism by Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry, who is represented by the London gallery Victoria Miro. Prior to the opening of the fair, one copy of this edition piece was already sold for 48,000 pounds to star architect Norman Foster. Among the few galleries who were sold out only hours after the opening were Zero of Milan; in order to achieve this effect, however, they showed one work only, Victor Man's painting Aspen.

The series Frieze Projects shows that Frieze is not only about selling, but about content, too. In 2009, commissioned works by young international artists were once again realized, this time by Kim Coleman & Jenny Hogarth, Ruth Ewan, Ryan Gander, Per-Oskar Leu, Monika Sosnowska, Stephanie Syjuco, and Mike Bouchet, who is represented in the Deutsche Bank Collection. The fair’s sculpture park is also high-caliber, with Louise Bourgeois, the Mexican artist Teresa Margoles, and the American star Paul McCarthy—well beyond the normal run of Frieze. McCarthy’s homage to Henry Moore, the 2004 bronze Henry Moore Bound to Fail, can be admired for six months in Regent’s Park. Both Frieze Projects and the sculpture park are at the heart of Frieze Education, the program for children, youths, and families that takes place in the Deutsche Bank Education Space. The workshops, tours, and lectures have been developed in partnership with the Royal College of Art and offered visitors and London school classes the possibility to discover contemporary art together with artists and experts and to get to know it better without the usual anxieties.

The connection between art, education, and social themes is central to Deutsche Bank’s involvement at Frieze. Pierre de Weck, member of the Group Executive Committee and Global Head of Private Wealth Management Deutsche Bank, added: "We are pleased to show our commitment to the development of contemporary art through our continued sponsorship of Frieze Art Fair. Seven years ago, the organizers of Frieze spotted the need for a fair that fostered the new international spirit in art. Frieze has played its part in making it easier for artists from every part of the globe to claim an international reputation. Not only does Frieze provide one of the most exciting marketplaces, but it believes in art education, something that we are strongly committed to at the fair through the Deutsche Bank Education Space.




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