Review: ART 15 London Olympia

PAC Home member Stephen Smith has written a report from his PAC Home bursary funded trip to Art15 in London. 

art15Olympia art15Olympia2

As I enter ART15 I overhear someone saying “not any of the rubbish on that floor”. It’s always fun to over hear collectors and gallerists at fairs. Later on I pass another huddled group discussing the need to “work as a team and have one common voice” maybe a rogue dealer had over stepped the mark with dialogue that had resulted in a lost sale? Although curious I never got to find out which floor they were referring to as I move past 10 Chancery Lane and Pearl Lam (2 of the largest booths at the fair) and into the Emerge section featuring Kestutis Svirnelis’s expanding and contracting tower of clothes and Joel Andrianomearisoa’s bottled tears. With 500 artists presented by 150 Galleries from 42 countries there was a really diverse mix of art practice on show including a large proportion of galleries / collectors from East Asia.

I walked around the fair several times to get a sense of what was on show before returning to several works that had caught my eye. The following are some of these works.

A stunning aluminium and copper wire installation ‘Timespace’ by El Anatsui at October Gallery.


From Tapei Lin& Lin Gallery presented large scale collage paintings from Liu Shih-Tung.


Liu Shih-Tung, Danshui Riverside, 2011

Lin & Lin Gallery

I was struck by in comparison to a lot of the work on show, how timeless the works of Graham Sutherland and William Scott at Omer Tiroche or Lucio Fontana at Frameless Gallery appeared at the fair.

Graham Sutherland, William Scott at Omer Tiroche


Piero Dorazio ‘Under a Name’ 1965
But alongside these works it is always great to discover artists work you had never seen before. Tezukayama Gallery presented the paintings of Atsuko Tanaka whose brilliantly vibrant works from the 1980’s, one of Japan’s the leading artists from the Gutai Movement.

gutai  tanaka

Atsuko Tanaka, Untitled, 1986, Tezukayama Gallery

Also commissioned by ART15 artist Henry Hussey ( exhibited a series of embroidered works which weaved together a rich tapestry of vintage fabric and beading routed in personal narrative.

Solo presentations were rare at the fair but Jenna Burchell’s sound installation ‘Homing’ alongside a quote by Herman Hesse “where paths that have an affinity for each other intersect, the whole world looks like home, for a time”.

( (presented by


It was popular with visitors at the fair because it was an interactive instrument that allowed the audience to wander through copper strings, to touch, listen and play. Dogs barking, laughter, thunder, traffic, a piano – each string triggered sounds that took you back to a place, real or imagined.

As ever at fairs a large proportion of exhibited work was painting ready for sale to collectors. The following is a selection:

Intricate paintings by Sarah Ball at Millennium Gallery which had a great booth from their roster of artists (

sarah ball

Also at Millennium Gallery were works by Trevor Bell and Sax Impey.


Stephen Ormandy paintings based on organic sculptures the artist also makes were presented by Olsen Irwin based in Australia.



Bristol based Coates and Scarry showed a selection of Cornwall’s Lisa Wright wonderfully fragmented historical paintings (


There were several printed editions available at the fair, I loved these Cedric Christie ironic Malevich, Richter and Picasso artist garage signs at Jealous Gallery.


Woodcut, Outskirts (Night), 2015 by Tom Hammick at Flowers.


In the non for profit section of the fair Parasol Unit displayed ‘Poison Evidence’ an edition of 21 by Jimmie Durham.
Next to Parasol was Ali Macgilp who curated the May show at Karst ‘Cannibal Manifesto: Mimesis as Resistance’. Ali presented the Maraya Art Centre which she curates, an exhibition space and residency in Sharjah focussing on artists who work in the UAE.


“It’s about creating tension” I overhear as I leave ART15 several hours later wondering what conversations were had in the Collectors Lounge ! As fairs go ART15 definitely had a good mix of tension.

collectors lounge


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