Until a few years ago, Chelsea had an annual festival with events across the area. It now seems to have split into a number of different festivals, but over the past two weeks there definitely has been a feeling of festivity, no doubt helped by the weather, with art, flowers and gardening shows bringing adventurous and international people to Sloane Square Tube Station, which at times has struggled to cope with the demand.
You could say that it might have started a few weeks ago when, as part of London Crafts Week, the Cadogan-Belmont with tours of its amazing art collection focussed on botanical themes – almost in anticipation of the Chelsea Flower Show.
The starter for Chelsea’s spring festival was Draw, a new fair of modern and contemporary art focussed on the skill of drawing in its widest sense, inspired by Laurent Boudier and which I hope will continue in future years, with galleries here from around the world with a focus on Europe from Edinburgh to Milan. Obviously, the works are generally more affordable – an often fresher and more informal – than finished prestigious paintings and sculpture as at, say Frieze in October, and that is part of the fun. You can build up a good collection of art at relatively affordable prices, and indeed prints and drawings are fascinating in their own right, as can be seen in the recent exhibition on Munch at the British Museum and the new exhibition on Leonardo di Vinci at the Queen’s Gallery.
For an architect, one of the joys of Draw was the number of architectural drawings on show of different styles – classical, modernist and futuristic, including architect Sam Jacobs and others at Betts Projects and the futuristic drawings at Antonia Jannone Disegni di Architettura in Milan, plus it was fascinating to see teasing work by the like of Susan Hefuna at Pi Artworks who has an much larger exhibition on show at the current time in the gallery in Fitzrovia and Gerard Fromanger’s colourful stylised portraits of icons including other artists such as Tracey Emin and Jean-Michel Basquiat.