Running along the Thames, Battersea Park has many aspects and different areas to be discovered within it. Tucked away, hidden behind the trees is Battersea Evolution, which houses many events and exhibitions, five minutes walk from the Pump House Gallery. This week it has come alive with the best of affordable art from around the world at the Affordable Art Fair (AAF).
You know you’ve arrived at the AAF by the sculpture on the leafy mounds just as you drive into the car park and also the pop-up print gallery in an old container outside the entrance to the building. Inside the entrance hall are art installations to draw you into the main fair itself, including David Shillinglaw’s ‘What’s Your Poison’ and a recent graduate, Lucy Gregory with ‘Images have Legs’.
Over 120 galleries from all around the world are represented in the main space with work for ranging from £100 to £6000 – sadly the reduction in the value of the pound means that art from abroad is more expensive than in previous years. All high quality, the variety is immense. While there are traditional paintings of oil or acrylic on canvas, today artwork comes in many shapes and forms. There is a good photographic representation of course, with many of those evocative images of vacant and decaying buildings, while paint has given way to a host of new materials including paper from books and documents, oil cans, model soldiers, threads, bus tickets, recycled teapots and cutlery, ball bearings and even keys from computer keyboards – now you know what to do with your old computers. ‘Upcycling’ is alive and well. As you would expect there is the occasional political comment such as Bernard Saint-Maxent’s ‘Jigsaw Flag’ and Lawrence de Valmy’s spoof facebook page from 1966 for David Hockney entitled ‘David’s Little Splash’.
One of the best additional aspects of Fair are the displays of work by 19 recent art graduates – rising stars of the future which have been given the opportunity to exhibit here in Battersea at the AAF.