The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Oct 28, 2010

Affordable Art Fair

Twice a year in Battersea Park is held the Affordable Art Fair. This is a large exhibition of artworks for sale – paintings, sculptures, photographs, lithographs, alethiometers. It is quite popular. The wife’s been wanting to add to our notable collection of art (psst: Christie’s? Lots of good stuff here. Signed even.) for a while, and so we hied thither on Sunday.

What with the transport disruptions that are so common on weekends in London (and weekdays), it took us a little while to get to Battersea Park. The last time we were there was when the little tyke was three or so years old. We’d taken him to the Children’s Zoo there, where he was more fascinated by a parked fire engine than the meerkats and ostriches. There’s even a Pagoda of Peace there. Quite the landmark.
On Sunday, the place was packed. I thought the crowds were mere gawkers, but people were actually buying stuff. The Fair’s USP is that artworks cost less than £3000. Of course, the good stuff is cunningly priced at £2995. Wa-a-ay over my budget – though clearly not over many people’s.

And so there was barely enough space to move, let alone carefully appreciate the exhibits. An occasional punter fainted and was whisked away by burly watchmen, only to reappear in moments to add to the tumult. We crawled along rows and aisles gasping for breath. Every chance I could – which was all too rare in view of the fracas – when something or the other caught my eye, I wielded my camera to great effect.

The pieces - all for sale - were from as far away as North America and East Asia. Most of the productions were European, but it does appear that the appeal of this semiannual festival is spreading around the world.

There are instances of this marquee in other cities in the UK and on the Continent. My friend Ray went to the one in Paris a little while ago. Unlike the London exhibition, the French one was barely attended. He surmises that the French consider it infra dig to be seen at a venue that touts itself 'affordable.'

Anyway... I realise now I should have carried a pencil and a piece of paper to identify all the artists, eh?



Anonymous said...

Love the last picture you posted. Have you heard of the Royal College of Art secret postcard sale? I've been to a few and although you have to queue for hours, it's totally worth it! £45 per postcard and you only find out who drew it after you buy it!

Fëanor said...

Yup, that was one of the ones I liked especially, although I suspect it might go better on a tavern wall or something?

45 quid a postcard? A bit much, no? Do you get a unique work, or one copy of a print run?

Anonymous said...

A unique work. If you're lucky, you can bag one by Tracey Emin or Mary Fedden (which I think sells for a couple of grand at auction). If not, you get one by the dinner lady:)

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