Last week, artist Steve Lazarides took us behind the scenes in preparation of Frieze Art Fair. Now that the creative madness is finally over, we had a quick chat with him about how Brutal, his latest show, came about.
How do you go about choosing the artists to work with?
It is really a gut feeling. If I see it and I like it, it goes in. So it’s everywhere from going through magazines, attending shows and searching around online. I tend to do it in quite intensive bursts, so I might not be doing anything for months and then I lock myself away for a week and start researching and start finding new people that I want to explore. I quite often use the other artists I work with as they are also good with their suggestions.
Was it challenging collaborating with 16 different artists and still maintain the theme of your work?
It’s always a challenge, but I think with the Brutal show it was quite interesting because I purposely picked a fairly open brief this time. There were times when I curated things in the past with a very narrow theme, so I ended up having approximately 16 pictures that look pretty much the same. With Brutal it was different, it was quite nice to give them an open briefing. The thing with Brutal is anything from the way the work was executed to the depiction of the subject matter in the works. I am incredibly happy with what we got from the artists this time around.
How did you decide where you wanted to exhibit Brutal? Does the location speak to the works of art you are showcasing?
I was going to go to Glastonbury this year and I wasn’t going to do one of our big spectacular shows. We have done the 5 previous years so I thought this year I would give it a break. But then the The Vinyl Factory showed me their space – 180 on The Strand – 6/7 months ago and as soon as I walked in I said: “hell yeah, we have to do a show here.” Opportunities like this are very few and far between. A building of this nature is so rare and hard to find. It was like the space gave birth to the theme of the show.
What does your daily routine entail in the lead up to preparing these large-scale, off-site shows?
There is no routine when it comes to the off site show really. Invariably it is a very long process. I start looking at the space six or seven months before, then decide what is going to fit in the space and getting suggestions from the artists as to what art they would like to put in. When it is the run up to the show I am relatively devolved in the actual hands on and I have a team around me who I trust implicitly to make it happen. For me, the run up is making sure we get press, the artists are happy and we get a vibe going. The routine is not getting any sleep for 3 weeks really. It is pretty intense.
Your previous Frieze week exhibitions have covered the following themes; Hell’s Half Acre, The Minotaur and Bedlam – this year it’s Brutal – do you like to challenge your audiences?
I do like to challenge my audience. It isn’t fluffy bunnyland out there in the real world. I think it is quite good as an antithesis of the commerciality of something like Frieze to make people’s brains work and give them something that is relatively challenging. You can never underestimate the general public’s capacity to the dark side. I think people enjoy being challenged and seem to like quite dark things, they don’t like the same old same old.
15-27 October October 2013
180 Strand, London, WC2R 1EA
Images taken by Steve Lazarides via our Instgaram @MorgansHotels