Sook-Kyung Lee's Top Picks from Frieze London and Masters Viewing Room 2023

The director of the Whitworth highlights avant-garde Korean artist JUNG Kangja, a poignant series by Barbara Walker, and a 'esoterically spiritual' film by Grace Ndiritu, amongst others

in Frieze London , Frieze London & Frieze Masters , Frieze Masters | 09 OCT 23


El baño de los espíritus, 2022

Natural dyes and acrylic paint on tree bark

24.8" x 44.09" (63 cm x 112 cm)

Presented by Crisis

Santiago Yahuarcani ANTIAGO, El baño de los espíritus, 2022
Santiago Yahuarcani, El baño de los espíritus, 2022. Courtesy the artist and Crisis

"In his paintings, Santiago Yahuarcani aims to preserve and manifest the knowledge and belief system of the Huitoto people, who have experienced genocide and dislocation since the arrival of Europeans and other colonising powers to the Amazon. Made with natural dye on connected sheets of parchment created from the inner bark of fig trees, his paintings commemorate these Indigenous people’s resilience through beautifully drawn mythical narratives."



To Repress, 1968 

Cotton, steel pipe 

66.93" x 78.74" x 55.12" (170 cm x 200 cm x 140 cm) 

Presented by Arario Gallery 

JUNG Kangja To Repress 1968 Cotton, steel pipe Dimensions variable Copyright: JUNG Kangja & Arario Gallery
JUNG Kangja, To Repress, 1968. Cotton, steel pipe. Dimensions variable. Copyright: JUNG Kangja & Arario Gallery

"Kangja JUNG was one of the trailblazers of Korean avant-garde art in the 1960s, known for her provocative performances and experimental use of diverse artistic media. To Repress is a great example of her early practice, which also alludes to political repression and the sexist sensibility of the time."



Vanishing Point 38 (Liss), 2023 

Coloured graphite on embossed Somerset Satin paper 

34.57" x 28.11" (87.8 cm x 71.4 cm) 

Presented by Cristea Roberts Gallery 

Barbara Walker, Vanishing Point 38 (Liss), 2023
Barbara Walker, Vanishing Point 38 (Liss), 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Cristea Roberts Gallery

"In her work, Barbara Walker questions conventions of representation and their role in the erasure of Black subjects in art history. Focusing on the genre of portraiture by European old masters, Vanishing Point series poignantly reverses historic and systematic invisibility."



Red Textile Relief, 1979 

Cotton, coconut fibre, goat hair, sisal, naturally and chemically dyed

285 x 385 x 10 cm. 

Presented by Galerie Volker Diehl 

Ritzi & Peter Jacobi  Red Textile Relief, 1979  cotton, coconut fibre, goat hair, sisal, natural and chemical dyed  285 x 385 x 15 cm  Image courtesy of Galerie Volker Diehl, Berlin. Image made by Marcus Schneider.
Ritzi & Peter Jacobi, Red Textile Relief, 1979. Cotton, coconut fibre, goat hair, sisal, naturally and chemically dyed, 285 x 385 x 15 cm Image Courtesy of Galerie Volker Diehl, Berlin. Image made by Marcus Schneider

"Ritzi Jacobi was a pioneering textile and fibre artist and her collaboration with Peter Jacobi from the 1960s to the 1980s manifested their interdisciplinary investigation of natural and everyday materials and techniques. This large-scale wall hanging is exemplary of their work in the use of unusual materials like goat hair and its rootedness in the long tradition of weaving in their native Romania."



Black Beauty, 2021 

Single channel, colour & black and white, video - aspect ratio 4:3 29 minutes

Edition of 3

Presented by Kate MacGarry 

Grace Ndiritu, Black Beauty, 2021. Courtesy the artist and Kate MacGarry.
Grace Ndiritu, Black Beauty, 2021. Courtesy the artist and Kate MacGarry

"The British-Kenyan artist Grace Ndiritu won the Jarman Award in 2022 with this short film Black Beauty. The juxtaposition of a model’s desert film shoots of a cosmetic cream, and her hallucinatory vision of hosting a talk show with the Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges curiously, leads us to the realm of esoteric spirituality."


About Sook-Kyung Lee

Sook-Kyung Lee. Courtesy Gwangju Biennale Foundation.
Sook-Kyung Lee. Courtesy Gwangju Biennale Foundation

Dr Sook-Kyung Lee is Director of the Whitworth, The University of Manchester, UK. She was Artistic Director of the 14th Gwangju Biennale (2023), titled soft and weak like water, which explored themes of resistance, indigeneity, decoloniality and ecology. Lee was Senior Curator, International Art at Tate Modern, working in exhibitions, collection displays and acquisitions. She also headed a major multi-year research initiative ‘Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational’ at Tate Modern, overseeing its strategic vision and associated programming. Lee served as the Commissioner & Curator of the Korea Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale and is currently curating the Japan Pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale, represented by the artist Yuko Mohri. 



About Frieze Viewing Room

Frieze Viewing Room is a free digital platform connecting global audiences with Frieze’s galleries and artists.

Opening to all from October 4 - October 18, the Viewing Room is the catalog for Frieze London and Frieze Masters 2023 and offers visitors a preview of the wealth of gallery presentations coming to the fair, as well as the chance for audiences around the world to experience and acquire the artwork on show. 

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Main image: Grace Ndiritu, Black Beauty, 2021. Courtesy the artist and Kate MacGarry