As autumn’s cultural calendar unfolds, a stroll through an art fair can refresh the mind and spirit

Zoë Manzi, Editor, MO magazine, The Condé Nast Publications

Zoë Manzi, Editor, MO magazine, The Condé Nast Publications

In just a week’s time, the curtains will sweep back on the expanse of show tents in Regent’s Park for Frieze London 2015. In its 13th incarnation, Frieze has grown to become perhaps the world’s largest contemporary art fair and almost certainly its best known. It does not only worship at the altar of modern art; its younger sibling, Frieze Masters, has been skipping alongside gaily for the last three years and provides visitors the opportunity to view the historical alongside the bang-up-to-the-minute. When considering the numbers – over 160 galleries participate from more than 30 countries and tens of thousands of visitors flock from all corners of the globe – it got me thinking about art and why it matters. Many theoreticians and polemicists have argued this point over the years. Is it the continuity it gives us through history, its insight into cultural values, and art as social history and provocateur? Or could it be the visceral experience we have while standing in front of a work of art? Are we moved or left empty; transported or stagnant? Perhaps its importance is just the sheer wonder we experience at our fellow man’s unique talent and ability to put pen to paper, hand to marble, eye to film. Whatever it is, it matters, in the same way that reading a good book or travelling to a new country does. It opens our eyes and minds to new thoughts, feelings and experiences. And that is always a good thing. So feast your eyes and enjoy the spectacle.

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