Having joined us just in time to celebrate our twentieth anniversary last October, we’ve taken the time to quiz UK Fair Director Elizabeth Dellert on how she will be putting her own stamp on our upcoming Battersea Spring Fair.
Read on to hear more from Elizabeth on her ones-to-watch this Spring, the works that make up her own collection, and her favourite way to spend a rainy-day exploring one of London’s arty treasures.
First thing’s first, if you had to use three words to describe the Affordable Art Fair what would they be?
“Fun, relaxed and friendly.... Art fairs are strange microcosms, each having their own flavour and focus. With so many in the calendar, each catering to different aspects of the market, it’s increasingly important to differentiate. At Affordable Art Fair, our whole mission is to remove the hierarchy and elitism from collecting art. It’s accessible, it’s something you can interact with on a meaningful level; the methods, the materials and the artists themselves; really buy-in with your heart. Our programming is clever and creative and offers something for art lovers of all ages. Our gallerists are warm and open and only too happy to impart their knowledge. The vibe of the fairs is buzzy but not frenetic. It’s a place you can spend time, have a drink, chat with friends and fall in love with something to take home that won’t break the bank. Affordable Art Fair truly brings the joy back into collecting.”
What’s new for the spring edition?
“Lots in store, as always! I’m especially excited that this Spring, we’ll be launching a new curated feature section called ‘Access’ – our aim in this section is to bring to life the people and processes that make this such an attractive medium to collect, but one that is sometimes hard to navigate, or easily dismissed. The focus of the ‘Access’ section at Battersea Spring is Prints. We have a great line-up of galleries, some familiar faces at Affordable Art Fair and others new to the Fair, who will feature on themed tours and be the focus of talks and panels – elucidating visitors as to why prints hold not only aesthetic value but often investment potential, ultimately making prints more accessible.
You’ll be able to learn more about the astonishing range of this format – from linocuts to lithographs, originals to numbered editions, through a curated selection of ‘ones-to-watch’ and a free programme of workshops including ‘Printmaking & Prosecco’ for the big kids and a Warhol-inspired workshop for our mini-masters.
Picking up on the printmaking theme in our Access section, we have some very cool, new Benjamin Thomas Taylor pieces with Liberty Gallery, and the covetable work of David Shrigley represented by Jealous.”
Can you tell us about any exciting up and coming artists we can find at the Battersea Fair?
“For Battersea Spring, we are thrilled to welcome back curator Cassie Beadle who has sourced a truly fantastic offering of works by emerging artists for our Recent Graduates feature. This includes works by Lily Kemp, a University of Arts London 2019 graduate, whose work explores how women, in particular women of colour, are presented throughout the canon of art history. Also, Aoife Scott from the Royal College of Art whose resin sculptures are beautiful, slightly ominous commentaries on waste and the environment.”
Tell us a bit about your own art collection - what are your favourite pieces?
“You could say I’m a ‘works on paper’ geek and that tends to be what I look out for. My first ‘serious’ purchase was a hand-coloured etching entitled ‘Dying Gaul’ by Alexander Massouras, and I really enjoy the way it seems to celebrate the full spectrum of the history of art, with such classical imagery reflected in a more technicolour, playful abstraction. At the time I bought it, I felt it truly represented my developing interests in all periods of art.
My most recent purchase was a Marc Vaux pencil drawing, which was a preparatory drawing for a sculpture commission. Marc Vaux himself struck up a conversation with me when he caught me crushing on it at the most recent Frieze Masters Fair. I had to have it. The unexpected thread that unifies everything, in my modest but meaningful salon hang, is that every work has at least a dab of hot coral/orange.”
How do you encourage people who wouldn’t think of themselves as ‘art lovers’ to come to a fair?
“We are so much more than simply art on white walls. Our fairs are relaxed and fun places to learn more about art, whether you’re a seasoned fairgoer or just starting out. We find that some of the visitors we speak to have been semi-dragged along by a partner or friend, and they can be some of the most enthusiastic of the lot! Best of all, our gallerists are friendly, approachable experts always looking to share more information on their artists or give advice.”
Finally, how would you spend your dream day off in London?
“I confess, this is a bit esoteric, but this literally is my favourite way to spend a rainy Saturday. I like to take the bus to fuel up at Café Tarte, a tiny Italian café on High Street Kensington – if I’m up in time, they make the most fluffy, delicious (and cheapest!!) scrambled eggs on toast; if not, a slab of their lemon rosemary polenta cake (their grandmother’s recipe) and either way a giant cappuccino. Then strolling around the block to the Leighton House Museum to spend hours soaking up the lustre of the Iznik tiles, the quirky architectural features and the iconic drawings by Frederick Leighton, PRA. I remember in 2017, going there to see Flaming June, when she was on tour from her private collection in Puerto Rico. It was incredibly special.”
To find out more about the fresh, new features Elizabeth's got in store for Affordable Art Fair Battersea Spring, taking place 12 –15 March at Battersea Evolution, don’t forget to snap up a ticket in advance.
Header Image: Vertigo (crop), Lily Kemp, Acrylic on canvas, 120 x 100 x 3cm, Original, £1,600, Recent Graduates Exhibition
Images top to bottom:
Elizabeth Dellert headshot
My Reflection, Lily Kemp, Acrylic on canvas, 120 x 100 cm, Original, £3,800, Recent Graduates Exhibition
Dying Gaul, Alexander Massouras, Etching with graphite, 27.5 x 19 cm, #3 of 100 unique variations
Untitled, Marc Vaux, Pencil on paper, 21 x 29.5 cm, Original