While half of the fair is watercolours and drawings, the other half is thankfully modern works on paper. From 30s posters advertising such things as Ireland, or Shell Oil, to the more fine art end of the spectrum: abstracts, figures made out of collages of adverts, you get the picture.
There are also rooms devoted to classic photography from specialist dealers, this year peppered with such things as photos of Picasso and Dali, and modern photographers re-investigating early methods of developing photographic images. Unfortunately, there was nothing as iconic as last year's hugely entertaining large photograph of Eric Clapton, mid onanist guitar solo, which in one photo explained why Punk had to happen. There is also a room of beautiful small press and artist funded books.
There are also extensive amounts of more traditional drawings and watercolours. That's the half that is 'The watercolours and drawings fair', but you probably guessed that. Not really our thing though. Especially things like the sterile pencil drawing of a naked woman with lots of birds flying around her. Well drawn we'll grudgingly admit, but without any character. That half of the fair is a strange mix of the living and the dead. Artistwise, of course.
The stand out work this year, is the former child soldier Kule Ingozi's subtly figurative blood simulacrum paintings. His work? Mostly human forms born from blood, soil, and resin. They offer a visceral aesthetic experience, sometimes lacking from the Contemporary art world. Within this display there is a large participatory piece. Essentially a wooden map of Africa, where people are encouraged to draw objects of their desire, in reference to the elder Pieter Brueghel's painting, Land of Cockaigne. If you want to take part in this you are required to donate to Kids Company, the charity also involved in this work. But that is a small price to pay. The work, as a whole, is highlighting the plight of child soldiers involved in wars in the developing world. Usually over luxury goods for the developed world's markets, such as diamonds. In fact there are between 200,000 to 300,000 child soldiers involved in various wars right now. But don't let this worthiness put you off. His work actually is good, and
It would be a cliche to say there is art for all tastes here, but there is. It is all for sale, as well. That is, if you have deeper pockets than mine. My only gripe? Well with 80 galleries taking part
in this years fair, there is just too much art packed into the space.
Words and picture by Oliver Gili.
Watercolours & Drawings Fair with Modern Works on Paper , 31st Jan - 3rd Feb, Royal Academy, for more information go to the Watercolours & Drawings Fair website