REVIEW: Frieze Sculpture 2019

By Martin Macdonald

From early July to 6 October 2019, Frieze Sculpture transforms the English Gardens of London’s Regent’s Park, into a free, open-air museum. Selected by Clare Lilly, Director of Programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the display brings together new and important works by 23 world-renowned contemporary artists.

Joanna Rajkowska, The Hatchling, 2019

The Hatchling, 2019, by Polish artist Joanna Rajkowska, is the most intriguing piece on show. A gigantic replica of the egg of a blackbird, one of the UK’s most common birds, it has to be approached to get the full effect. Once beside the blue-green sculpture with brown speckles, you can hear the sound of hatching eggs. Inside the hollow cast there is equipment that emits the sound of the last hour before the baby bird breaks the eggshell. The piece brings to mind the importance of birth and nature, even in a busy city like London.

Leiko Ikemura, Usagi Kannon II, 2013-2018

Usagi Kannon II, 2013-2018, a monumental bronze lady bunny by Japanese artist Leiko Ikemura, has a tearful human face and rabbit ears. Symbolising universal mourning and showing concern about violence against nature, the work’s origin is the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, which caused widespread birth defects to animals. Womb and shrine-like, the figure’s walk-in bell shaped skirt is both homely and protective.

Lars Fisk, Tudor Ball, 2019

Tudor Ball, 2019, a sculpture by American artist Lars Fisk, resembles a quintessential English thatched cottage. The re-imagined cottage even has a window flower box, helping make the spherical shape instantly recognisable but also cool and fun.

Jaume Plensa, Laura Asia's Dream, 2018
Galerie Lelong & Co

Laura Asia’s Dream, 2018, by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, is a large head of a girl with her eyes shut, as if in quiet contemplation. Although the piece appears to be a black stone carving, it is actually patinated bronze. The girl’s smooth face and dream-like state contrast with her rough, rock-like head.

Zac Ové, Autonomous Morris, 2018
Lawrie Shabibi

Autonomous Morris, 2018, by British artist of Trinidadian descent, Zac Ové, is a gigantic, Transformer-like, cross-cultural totemic mask. The piece is made of curvaceous car parts, mainly from VW Beetles and Morrris Minors purchased on eBay. While Ové's oeuvre reflects an interest in diasporic African history, particularly through the Trinidadian carnival, this piece specifically represents a macco, a Caribbean word referring to someone who fails to mind their own business.

Frieze Sculpture 2019 is a fun day out in the sunshine and a great taster of Frieze London, which opens on 3 October. In addition to the aforementioned artists, the following are also taking part in the sculpture park: Iván Argote, Ghazaleh Avarzamani, Huma Bhabha, Peter Buggenhout, Jodie Carey, Ma Desheng, Tracey Emin, Barry Flanagan, Charlie Godet Thomas, Robert Indiana, Vik Muniz, , Bettina Pousttchi, Tom Sachs, Lucy Skaer, LR Vandy, Tai-Jung Um, Bill Woodrow and Emily Young.

Tracey Emin, When I Sleep, 2018
White Cube 

Robert Indiana, ONE through ZERO, 1980-2002
Waddington Custot 

Tom Sachs, My Melody, 2008
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac