How artist Viviane Sassen brought the hidden histories of Versailles to life at the most international Frieze London yet.
The international art fair calendar appears to be an increasingly crowded place in 2019. Frieze London and Frieze Masters, which took place on October 3-6, once again proved themselves to be stalwart fixtures.
This year, Dutch artist and photographer Viviane Sassen transported the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounges to the grounds of the Palace of Versailles and its fascinating past, using the space to exhibit images from her latest photographic series, Venus & Mercury.
During the fair, Regent’s Park saw an influx of over 60,000 visitors, from gallerists, artists, curators and collectors to members of the general public. Frieze London, which presents artworks created after the year 2000, was the most international it has ever been, bringing together 160 galleries from 35 countries. Meanwhile, Frieze Masters, which presents works from antiquity to the year 2000, was a temporary home for Botticelli’s Portrait of Michele Marullo Tarcaniota, widely understood to be the last privately owned painting by the artist. It was on sale for a fair-breaking record of $30 million.
In the 16 consecutive years that Deutsche Bank has partnered with Frieze London, the fair has become a vital platform for international contemporary art. Speaking about the partnership, Nicola West, Global Head of Events, Partnerships & Sponsorships at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management, says: “Our partnership with Frieze enables us to build on a shared interest between our clients and us, which is art. The international nature of the fairs, which is particularly evident this year, attracts artists and gallerists from around the world and echoes Deutsche Bank Wealth Management’s global reach.”
How Viviane Sassen transported the history of Versailles into the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounges
A new photographic series by Dutch artist Viviane Sassen was on display in the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounges at Frieze London and Frieze Masters. Titled Venus & Mercury, the series focuses on sculptures and artefacts found in the Galerie des Sculptures et des Moulages at the Palace of Versailles. Sassen, who is also well-known for her fashion photography and whose work features in the Deutsche Bank Collection, draws on five stories from the Palace’s history for this series and punctuates the immersive installation of images with paint and pigment.
Guests in the Frieze London lounge were physically drawn into the stories told by the photographs, as they ran in a continuous, larger-than-life frieze around all the walls. Hanging from the roof in the middle of the lounge was a majestic floral arrangement, which echoed the opulence and rich history of the Palace and its grounds.
The night before the fair doors opened, a dinner was held in the lounge for guests of Deutsche Bank Wealth Management. Here, Sassen spoke about her most recent body of work and explained how she met Leïla, a French-Senegalese teenager, and invited her and her friends to be photographed at Versailles. The resulting effect is a juxtaposition of old and new; the ancient Versailles being seen as fresh, exciting and relevant once again.
“The lounges at Frieze London and Frieze Masters are spaces where we exhibit and work with some of the greatest artists working today," says Eleanor Palfrey, UK Art Curator for Art, Culture & Sports at Deutsche Bank. "Our partnership with Frieze is an example of how our longstanding commitment to the culture of today allows our clients and the wider public to connect with art on a variety of levels.”
Deutsche Bank's support of Frieze continues on February 14-16, 2020 at the second-ever Frieze Los Angeles. For more information on any of the Frieze art fairs, please click here.
Suzie Bliss is an editor in the global content team at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management.