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Deutsche Bank London's Reception at Winchester House during the Frieze Art Fair

Guided tours, Bellinis, and an illustrious public: on the opening evening of the Frieze Art Fair, Deutsche Bank gave a reception at Winchester House, the bank's main headquarters in London. Held in celebration of sponsoring the successful art fair, which took place for the second time this year, guests had a chance to experience the London corporate collection at close hand in a festive atmosphere.

Anish Kapoors Secretions, entrance hall of Deutsche Bank London.
Photo: Karen Black

Vibrant, very British, and hip: following last year's successful opening, the Frieze Art Fair, London's first and the largest international fair for contemporary art, has now taken place a second time from October 15-18 in Regent's Park. 150 exhibitors from all around the world, including 20 galleries from Germany, took part in the fair put on by Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover, the editors of the influential British art magazine Frieze.

For Deutsche Bank, this year's Frieze Art Fair was a premiere: for the first time, the bank functioned as main sponsor of an international art fair that presented around 2,000 artists ranging from stars to newcomers. It's precisely this concentration on lesser known artists that makes Frieze so predestined for the bank's support. Since the collection was founded in the late seventies, Deutsche Bank supports primarily young international art through purchasing work. And so it was appropriate that the bank invited guests to a reception at their British headquarters, Winchester House, on the first evening of the fair and gave their guests the opportunity to experience the comprehensive London collection at close hand.

Damien Hirst, Biotin-Melamide, 1995
Entrance hall of Deutsche Bank London. Photo: Karen Black

The pink-lit entrance of the long curved building on Great Winchester Street signalized the evening's festive character. Immediately upon entering the spacious entrance area with its light-colored stone walls, the visitor was met by an entertaining atmosphere: like a huge Christmas tree ornament, Anish Kapoor's reflective stainless steel sculpture Turning the World Upside Down III (1996) dominated the front part of the hall with its reddish-violet light that deflected attention towards Damien Hirst's minimalist dotted painting Biotin-Melamide (1995).

Following the exertions of a long day at the fair, guests were received with Bellinis, champagne, cocktails, and chocolate sherbet, and strolled, glass in hand, past Tony Cragg's gigantic sculpture Secretions (1998) or Miwa Yanagi's photo piece from the series Midnight Awakening Dream (1999), which lent the reception at the London Wall a surreal, utopian flair.

Works by James Rosenquist and Tony Cragg.
Photo: Karen Black

In a place where bankers, messengers, and visitors usually flood the halls of the bank, an international public comprised of artists, curators, gallery dealers, and museum directors such as Kaspar König came together. At the same time, a special guest lent the evening the required glamour: even the rock legend Iggy Pop came to pay the London collection a visit. The foyer marked the starting point for a comprehensive tour through the bank's collecting history. This began with Mark Francis and Susan Derges, who spoke about their art in front of their works in the collection. In a broad sense, both artists are involved with the representation of landscape. While Francis' abstract painting offers a suggestive microscopic view of nature and picks up on the structures of biological forms, the artist photographer Susan Derges, who lives in Devon, works with an extraordinary process. Among the most popular of the 3,000 works of art in the building of Deutsche Bank London, one of her photograms is hanging at the end of a hallway on the ground floor of Winchester House. Approximately human height and around half a meter wide, the blue image is called Stream (1996).

Susan Derges: Stream, 1996
Deutsche Bank Collection, London
It was the river Taw that gave Derges the idea that redefined her work, namely to use the river water itself to develop her photographic works. Her first steps in working with the photograms must have been rather frustrating: "Going out the first time, I did not quite know what I was doing." Literally armed with rolls of photographic paper, she went out into the nighttime darkness. The idea was to lay the paper in the rushing water and expose it with a manual flash for a microsecond. The first sheet of paper simply got washed away. After a few lonely, difficult nights outdoors, she finally developed a technique that worked. She constructed an aluminum vessel that contained the paper and held it in place beneath the water's surface. Following the flash exposure, she had "prints of the flow of the river." She had discovered a possibility for concentrating entirely on her object: "The river offered the opportunity of immersion, as opposed to conceptualisation."

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