London Art Fair 2013: 25 years in the business

Next year’s London Art Fair is to be the largest to date in celebration of its 25th anniversary, and will feature over 100 international galleries showcasing some of the greatest modern and contemporary British art from the twentieth and twenty-first century.
A seasoned veteran in the city for art fairs, next year is, aside from being important in terms of milestones, critical because it is now under increasing competition from other expos like the commanding Frieze, the very cool SUNDAY and the new kid on the block Art13 (founded by the brains behind Art HK).
So, the grand ole dame of London art fairs, while very successful and comfortable in its own skin, has to, regardless, prove that it is still relevant. Does it have the energy, the ambition and the clout to still attract big names and put on provoking programmes? It certainly hopes so.
“With such milestones it’s very easy to look back, but actually not very compelling,” Jonathan Burton, the fair’s director, told Artinfo earlier this month.
“Going forward our aim is to balance excellence and inclusivity and to enable collecting at all levels, so the fair this year represents a broad art ecology from artist collectives to younger emerging galleries through to the larger established galleries of Mayfair.”
And so it has assembled a wonderful line up of galleries including Alma Enterprises, Thread Gallery, Hannah Barry Gallery, Hoxton Art Gallery, Limoncello Editions, Saatchi Gallery, Serpentine Gallery, The Contemporary London and Whitechapel Gallery.
Over the last eight years, Art Projects, which has been described as all fresh and clean and utterly brilliant by Spoonfed, has become a staple part of the fair, commended for its innovative solo shows, curated group displays and large-scale installations.
Participating in next year’s projects includes Ceri Hand, COLE, Poppy Sebire Orion Contemporary, Limoncello, Bearspace and Troika Editions, and will be curated by the art journalist and curator Pryle Behrman.
The ever popular Photo 50 exhibition – which is focused on contemporary photography – returns in 2013 under the expert guidance and vision of Nick Hackworth, director of the exhibition Paradise Row.
Entitled a Cyclical Poem – maybe a reference to cyclic poets (the contemporaries of Homer) – this show is a “partial and elliptical look at the relationship between photography and a cluster of themes” like time, memory and repetition.
While the new pretenders have clout – though Art13 has yet to launch, given its supporters, it will inevitably be significant – what has so far been revealed by the organisers of London Art Fair shows that with age comes wisdom, and the expo has lost none of its enthusiasm and vitality.
The 2013 London Art Fair at the Business Design Centre in Islington runs from January 16th until January 20th.
Cadogan Tate can ship works of art from London to your chosen destination anywhere in the world.