David Franchi – Thursday, 9th June 2016.

Art16 Fair LondonIt was a good fair Art16, at Kensington Olympia, London.

In respect to the last edition, Art16was smaller, but more efficiently organised and it avoided the pedantic academic style by being more involving and amusing.

Presenting over 1000 exceptional artworks from artists and galleries from every continent, Art16 kept a unique pledge to showcase stimulating emerging artists alongside established contemporary talents.

Art16 brought together over 100 galleries from more than 30 countries. At its fourth edition, Art16 presented an assorted range of works of contemporary artists from around the world.

For this edition there were two specially curated sections, focused on London art environment – both curated by Jonathan Watkins. The first was ‘Emerge’ a selection of dual and solo artist presentations by galleries less than six years old. ‘London First’ instead was focused on galleries that took part in a fair in London for the first time.

An interesting presentation was by Kostas Synodis who recreated his 160 cm² windowless sculpture studio on the basis of what he really has in London. Presented by Julian Page and Joanna Bryant Gallery, it was a welcomed protest against the craziness of the rent prices in London. The artist recently really converted a windowless cupboard into an improvised studio.

Dutch gallery Priveekollektie Contemporary Art | Design was one of the most visited. It showcased a number of interactive installations by Dominic Harris, including Conductors (2015) a 4k- resolution screen displaying a range of planets and stars that responds to hands movements, producing images of stars, planets, and meteors accompanied by an array of sounds which intensity depends from the one of the user. Also they presented an interactive box with feathers responding to hand waves and an installation of eight screens of Snow White and the Dwarfs also responding to body movements.

An interesting idea was to invite Not –for-Profit exhibitors, including Ruya Foundation, from Baghdad, offering to some Iraqi artists the occasion to participate to an international exhibition. Other highlights included The Wallace Collection, Ikon Gallery, South London Gallery and Plinth.

The inaugural Art16 and Villa Lena Foundation Residency Prize was awarded to Wycliffe Mundopa form Harare, Zimbabwe. It consists in a two months residency in the hearth of Tuscan countryside. Villa Lena Foundation offers an onsite accommodation studio space and research support. The panel jury was made of Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Andrew Bonacina, Vincent Honoré and Beatrice Bulgari.

With a good programme of talks and events for families, Art16 has overcome previous criticism and was an unmissable event.

Art16 fair was at Olympia, South Kensington, London, from 19 until 22 May 2016.