I'd not been to Frieze before, for no good reason, so made a point of going this year. My previous exposure to Frieze-mania had been limited to a glimpse through the trees while crawling along the Marylebone Road, so I was surprised to learn how big it was - you imagine the other end of the tent was in St Johns Wood.
The greatest surprise was how different it was to a museum-type show. There was something purposeful and energetically eager about the work being shown to be sold rather than just being shown. And the ironically uncurated mix was refreshing if not anarchic.
So, with my objects-as-ideas-spotting glasses on, here are some of my favourites...
There were a couple of pieces that really got me excited. Gavin Turk (again) and his sublime rendition of a car exhaust system in blown glass, no doubt entitled Silence (there wasn't a caption on hand)
And this seemingly innocuous foggy landscape had many fooled, but its eery melancholy was more than a trick of photography. It was actually painted on a frosted plastic with another layer of the landscape painted in the background.
And then there's the familiar tropes that always seem to be a feature of any conceptual art show...
There was something oddly engaging about flattened origami – not sure why, maybe because it begged – very loudly – the question "WHY?" but maybe because it showed how futile origami is.
And of course, that ever-present theme of contemporary art – mental illness and excessive compulsive-obsessive behaviour. But, this time, given a twist. It's a large canvas embroidered with a ridiculously ambitious Joseph-and-his-technicolor-dreamcoat pattern in every colour silk you could imagine. With Grayson Perry's well-publicised tapestries woven on state-of-the-art computer controlled looms, the immediate assumption is that a machine did the hard work. But the caption says "hand-woven"... but whose hands? Is it the obsessive labour of the artist and his desire to create a masterpiece at great personal cost? Or is it just slave labour while the artist swans around pointing at things? The Roy Lichtenstein Tate show let the same cat out of the bag with his intern-painted dots.
Other things were less successful. I guess Bruce Nauman made this kind of thing look too easy.
Other curiosities were to be found in the show itself...
The signs for mega-million-dollar artfest are made of corrugated cardboard boxes, no less, but worked amazingly well with their colour coordinated flashes visible down the endless vanishing points towards St John's Wood.
And even the cafes were getting in on the minimalist approach to pricing. So, a drink is 2... 2 what? Would it really hurt to add a currency denomination or would it spoil the effect?
So, there you have it. A quick run through the Frieze art fair. A resounding success for ideas-as-objects.