Democratic Arenas

Democratic Arenas

Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, the UK’s largest of its kind, returns to London for its second edition. Following last year’s success, the event provides a platform for over 150 artists and exhibitors. Curated by Brocket Gallery, London, the space foregrounds emerging practitioners and new collectors.

Creating over £55 million annually, the UK’s contemporary original print market allows consumers to invest in affordable artworks that have the potential to grow in value. Attracting up to 10,000 visitors in 2016, Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair is not only an arena for the purchase of art, but also a space for social exchange and talent development. Guests can attend interactive workshops and demonstrations, as well as receive advice on how to start their own collections. As Curator Lizzie Glendinning notes: “The breadth of styles and the often more financial accessibility to these original works of art allows for a more democratic aspect to the art market. They provide the scope to educate collectors on an artists’ practice, nurture tastes and build confidence in what they buy.”

This year, the fair is held in the Woolwich Arsenal Riverside former army barracks building. This historic Victorian structure provides 5,000 square feet of exhibition space, creating a dramatic backdrop. 2017’s line-up includes well-known names such as Norman Ackroyd R.A., Paula Rego, Tracy Emin, Chris Ofili and Christopher Le Brun P.R.A, creating a diverse and stimulating selection for the consumer to browse.

Notable contributions also include Frea Buckler, who was longlisted for the 2017 Aesthetica Art Prize. Using silkscreen techniques, her bold prints “negotiate the space between chaos and control, producing abstract prints that resemble unfolded boxes or origami. They play with illusion and perception, and are visual representations of our processes and behaviours as individuals and as a society.” Further bridging the gap between calm and disorder, Lucy Bainbridge’s work captures the potential for calm within the ever-changing landscape of the capital city. Taken shortly before dawn or at dusk, her images blur the line between traditional forms of printmaking and contemporary mixed-media practice.

Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair runs until 23 October. Find out more

1. Image: Frea Buckler, Dazzled 2, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.