An air of eager anticipation prevailed amongst many of the artists exhibiting at the London Art Biennale as the awards ceremony drew closer on the 25th of January 2015. This is a strictly vetted and curated exhibition with only 130 artists selected from 2500 applicants - in fact, all selected artists are winners and this was more than evident in light of the works on show.
We talked to some of the visitors to the exhibition and asked them to pick a personal highlight. For many, Angelika Prapa’s ‘What A Beautiful Summer Day’, a mixed media composition of soldiers positioned on a railway track, some holding rifles, one holding a bunch of wild flowers, was very topical given the current centenary of the First World War; the artist has based the subject on an old sepia photograph theme to poignant and moving effect.
From Norway, Solveig Marguerite Skogseide has produced ‘The Cabin’ , capturing the remote, lush, clean-air atmosphere of her homeland to what one visitor described as ‘a diffusion of colour and line to stunning effect. ‘A modern Matisse with a difference’ was how another visitor described Hasnaà Benchekroun’s ‘Afterglow’ with its fusion of figures, light and dominant shades of blue. ‘We can’t believe this was painted today, it’s that good.’ was a young couples response to the work of the American artist, Richard Allwine...’he must rival Canaletto’ was their parting line.
‘Awesome, humbling, moving, delicious, thought-provoking, sensuous, chilling, fun, spooky’; just a handful of the many adjectives used to describe various works. ‘I want to take him home, now’ was another comment in reaction to Thea Van Herpt’s bronze of shirtless man holding his hands to his face, entitled; ‘Apollo’s Frustration’...one wonders if she will.
The London Art Biennale 2015 was beautiful exhibition, full of surprises and wonder, a must-see for art lovers around the capital.