Inaugural Art13: “Global fair for a global city”? – review, sales round up

As the doors closed on the 2013 edition of Art13 London, Asian exhibitors and artists reported high spirits and sales.

Art13 London, a United Kingdom art market newcomer, closed the doors on its inaugural event on the 3 March 2013. Crowds of almost 25,000 attended the three day fair, which featured 129 galleries from 30 countries worldwide. Art Radar rounds up the reactions.

Tianbing Li, 'Self Portrait with Arrow,' 2011-2012, oil on canvas. Image courtesy Tianbing Li and Kashya Hildebrand.

Tianbing Li, 'Self Portrait with Arrow,' 2011-2012, oil on canvas. Image courtesy Tianbing Li and Kashya Hildebrand.

World’s art fair

The organisers billed the event as “a global art fair for a global city”, with fifty percent of the works on sale produced by non-Western artists and seventy percent of participating galleries exhibiting in London for the first time.

Fair Director Stephanie Dieckvoss, talking to Huffington Post, outlined the global vision for Art13,

The line-up thoroughly reflects the global ethos of the fair, and the current state of the art market, which has seen a considerable growth of interest in art from previously underrepresented territories. By bringing together exhibitors from all corners of the world, we offer visitors an unparalleled opportunity to see the extraordinary quality and variety of art produced across the globe.

Looking east

The fair had a determinedly Eastern flavour, according to Aesthetica magazine, with a reported fifteen percent of exhibitors coming from Asia. ARTINFO highlighted the Asia credentials of two of the men behind Art13, Tim Etchells and Sandy Angus, who also founded ART HK.

Watch the video to hear exhibitors and buyers discuss their experience at Art13 London.


The event won praise from media commentators for its international perspective and gathered favourable comparisons with established and globally respected London art fair Frieze.

Despite London’s international make-up, art in the capital tends to be largely western, and the exposure to new global artists is a strong point of the new fair. Overall well organised and nicely exhibited, Art13 is easily digestible in an afternoon, and I look forward to future editions of London’s newest art fair.


Unlike Frieze, that other ambitious London art fair, Art13 had a decidedly international presence, with about half its content coming from non-Western artists and a significant delegation from Asia.


The ambitious decision to launch a new art air in London may have seemed, err, too ambitious at first, and the timing, risky (it opened just days before New York’s Armory Show), but a visit to Art13 London at Olympia Grand Hall last weekend soon made it clear that the art world is big enough for more fairs. In fact, visiting the new fair was a fresh and well-needed reminder that the art world does indeed extend beyond Power lists and mega names, and that interesting art is also being made in places far way from art-centric metropolis.

Sleek Magazine

Fresh and playful

Several publications commented on Art13’s freshness: ARTINFO drew attention to the lack of Western blue-chip galleries, but said this made the event “fresh and truly different”, and Artlyst applauded the “refreshing mix of established and emerging [artists]”. An innovative arrangement of installations contributed to the stimulating atmosphere, claimed Lorenzo Belenguer in Huffington Post, making the fair “playful”.


Fine Art Society Art13 tweet


Not all press reports were as laudatory. The Telegraph said that the “presentation” of the fair itself needed “a little tidying up in places”, and described both the quality of exhibits and number of sales as mixed.

Su Xiaobai, 'Fangcun No. 6,' 2011, oil, lacquer, linen and wood. Image courtesy Su Xiaobai and Pearl Lam Gallery.

Su Xiaobai, 'Fangcun No. 6,' 2011, oil, lacquer, linen and wood. Image courtesy Su Xiaobai and Pearl Lam Gallery.

Asian exhibits eye-catching

Asian artists and exhibitors were ranked among the highlights of the event by several commentators. Artlyst and Wallpaper singled out Zhu Jinshi‘s Boat, the centrepiece of the fair, as particularly striking. The same publications also named Lee Hwaik Gallery from Seoul and Pearl Lam Gallery (Shanghai and Hong Kong) as high points of the fair. Pearl Lam Gallery made the biggest impact on fair-goers, according to Wallpaper magazine, thanks to the art of Zhu Jinshi, who is represented by the gallery.

Zhu Jinshi, 'Boat,' 2012. Image courtesy Zhu Jinshi and Pearl Lam Gallery.

Zhu Jinshi, 'Boat,' 2012. Image courtesy Zhu Jinshi and Pearl Lam Gallery.

Sales positive, spirits high

The fair won similar praise from Asian gallerists, many of whom reported strong sales and a good atmosphere.

The staff at the Shanghai and Hong Kong-based Pearl Lam Galleries, which is presenting works by Su Xiaobai and Zhu Jinshi, was also all smiles, and confided having sold ‘more than two pieces’ for prices ranging from USD80,000 to USD150,000. The fair felt ‘fresh’, they said, adding it was ‘a good time of the year’ to do it.



Pearl Lam Art13 Facebook comment



It’s great that London now has such an international fair which is in fact very reflective of our way of working. They really get our philosophy. It’s a global fair for a global village.

Audrey Yeo, Yeo Workshop, AN Magazine

[Rossi & Rossi] kind of falls right smack bang into what [Art13 organisers] are trying to do … They are trying to show something beyond the norm. I think what is interesting here is that they are starting to give you a new flavour.

Martin Clist, Rossi & Rossi Gallery, Ocula Magazine

Li Bing, a collector and the founder of Beijing’s He Jing Yuan Art Centre, described the quality of galleries and art as “high” to wealth management magazine Spear’s Index. Wang Wei, who founded the Long Museum in Shanghai with her husband Liu Yiqian, told the South China Morning Post that she hoped that Art13 would allow Chinese galleries to make vital international connections.

Handiwirman Saputra, 'Tak Berakar Tak Berpucuk–no. 7 (No roots no shoots–no.7)', 2011. Image courtesy Gajah Gallery.

Handiwirman Saputra, 'Tak Berakar Tak Berpucuk–no. 7 (No roots no shoots–no.7)', 2011. Image courtesy Gajah Gallery.

However, not all exhibitors were as effusive, as ARTINFO points out.

‘Sales-wise, it’s been quite slow,’ confided Selma Feriani, from London’s Selma Feriani Gallery. So far, she has sold a video by Sama Alshaibi (‘The Tethered’, USD14,000) and a fetching abstract painting by Amel Bennys (USD7,500) to collectors she already knew. Galerie Ramakers, from The Hague, was also somewhat disappointed, despite having come with a stunning selection of collages and sculptures by the Dutch artist Ossip.

Art13 London – the numbers

Online market watcher Art Market Monitor carried more information on sales at the fair,

  • Pearl Lam Galleries, Shanghai/Singapore/Hong Kong sold a painting by Zhu Jinshi, entitled ‘Children’s Dreams’, 2012, for USD150,000.
  • PIFO Gallery, China sold two works by Liang Quan for GBP30,000 to a British Collector in the first hour of the opening day. A work by Zhang Xuerui went to a French Collector for GBP10,000.
  • Alexander Ochs Galleries, Berlin/Beijing sold an installation by artist Young-Jae Lee entitled ‘Earth, Ink and Fire’, 2011 for 50,000 Euros to an Italian Collector.

In the fair’s first year, buyers from London and Europe predominated, said ARTINFO,  although that may change as Art13 strengthens its network of international galleries and appeals to buyers worldwide.

A new art fair experience?

Commentators on social media expressed high hopes for the future of Art13,


Ivory Press Art13 Tweet


Stephanie Bailey, writing for Ocula, wondered whether the fair’s future impact might extend beyond sales,

In its début year, it is interesting to think how ART13 might be promoting – even expanding – aesthetic tastes: an approach to contemporary art as a global language that is both shared and divergent. A space, as Pearl Lam notes, where people can explore each other’s culture, but perhaps not colonise them…. One could say ART13 is promoting a new way to experience art from a lateral perspective of the global as an assemblage of territories. A view that disrupts classical binary notions of the East–West global divide, with surprising results.

Contemporary visual arts magazine AN said, however, that the fair also needs to prove itself in 2014 to become a staple in the United Kingdom art calendar, and The Telegraph hoped that the fair’s potential would be “more fully realised” in 2014 through better sales and presentation.

Dates for next year’s edition of the fair have already been confirmed: Art13 London will run from 28 February to 2 March 2014.

Did you attend the inaugural edition of Art13 London? Share your thoughts on the fair in the comment section below.


Related topics: art fairs, art market watch – galleries, art events in London

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