A man looked at me as I walked along Brick Lane.
‘Table for one?’ he asked sadly as I passed his restaurant.
I shook my head. There were other reasons to be in the area apart from a quick Sag Uribeesi Gatta with extra poppadoms. It was the opening of The Other Art Fair and Moniker Art Fair, both located in The Old Truman Brewery. You can tell when you are getting close to the show – even the rubbish outside is arty.
The fair is in the huge space on the first floor and as soon as I reached the top of the stairs I knew I was in a contemporary art exhibition. Either that or a very noisy magic show. Someone was doing something unusual in a wooden box.
I waited to see if they would suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke or turn into a rabbit, but instead they rampaged violently, trapped like a detainee inside their coffinal prison. Onwards into the large space, which was busy with well over a hundred artists and galleries showing work. There were other performances, live screen printing and for the less creative souls a lot of live drinking in the large bar. With so many exhibits I can only mention a few that caught the eye on opening night. Typewriter artist Keira Rathbone had a working typewriter on which anyone was invited to create a work of art.
There was also a lot of wall-based work, including Rutie Borthwick‘s stripped back works painted on wooden grounds. Her groups of figures have been lifted from their backgrounds and appear alone, allowing the viewer to insert their own context and location.
Mustang Margaritas is the photographic documentation of a West Coast road trip by Alex Trimble and Jamie William. Taken on Contax G2 film cameras the result is a selection of postcards, the images credited to the two of them Lennon and McCartney style. Gina Parr’s photos make fictional landscapes out of chance marks and textures.
Amongst all the new work you’re bound to come across something that you like, but look out for the detailed drawings by Damilola Odusote, Ego Leonard’s images of oversized lego figures and and gallery stands showing groups of artists such as Mark Powell, Lauren Baker, Joe Webb and Magnus Gjoen at Hang Up.
This year’s fair also features 3D printed sculptures on sale to the public, taxidermy classes and a kid’s art trail This is a fair with a difference. Be quick, it ends tomorrow.