Courtesy of David Zwirner

Frieze London 2018

Five works that will make you cry at Frieze

Our selection of works is guaranteed to have you showing some emotion

An art fair, with its cool networking, business deals, air kisses and forced smiles, is no place for emotion. But in the spirit of the Cuban artist Tania Bruguera’s Turbine Hall commission (until 24 February), which includes a crying room to provoke “forced empathy”, we picked five works sure to trigger your tear ducts.

Michaël Borremans's Fire from the Sun (Two Figures, One Hand) (2017), David Zwirner, Frieze London: This painting by the Belgian artist Michaël Borremans will make you want to curl up in a ball and weep. The work shows a naked toddler, missing an arm and covered in what looks like blood. “When you are looking at the subject matter depicted in the painting, you immediately look at the materiality of the painting: are you looking at blood, or are you looking at paint?” says the gallery’s senior partner, Hanna Schouwink. It is difficult to concentrate on the weight of the artist’s brushstrokes when such a scene is staring you in the face.
© Michaël Borremans; Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner

Michaël Borremans's Fire from the Sun (Two Figures, One Hand) (2017), David Zwirner, Frieze London: This painting by the Belgian artist Michaël Borremans will make you want to curl up in a ball and weep. The work shows a naked toddler, missing an arm and covered in what looks like blood. “When you are looking at the subject matter depicted in the painting, you immediately look at the materiality of the painting: are you looking at blood, or are you looking at paint?” says the gallery’s senior partner, Hanna Schouwink. It is difficult to concentrate on the weight of the artist’s brushstrokes when such a scene is staring you in the face.

Guido Reni's Saint Jerome (around 1605-10), Galerie Canesso, Frieze Masters: If you had been in the desert for four years tormented by hallucinations (sometimes known as the Burning Man festival), perhaps you, too, would look skyward for solace. This exquisite unsigned portrait is attributed to the Italian Baroque painter Guido Reni and was rediscovered nearly four centuries after it was painted. It surfaced at auction in 2005 but did not sell. But do not despair: you can pick up the work at Galerie Canesso’s stand at Frieze Masters for an eye-watering £1.1m.
Courtesy of Galerie Canesso, Paris

Guido Reni's Saint Jerome (around 1605-10), Galerie Canesso, Frieze Masters: If you had been in the desert for four years tormented by hallucinations (sometimes known as the Burning Man festival), perhaps you, too, would look skyward for solace. This exquisite unsigned portrait is attributed to the Italian Baroque painter Guido Reni and was rediscovered nearly four centuries after it was painted. It surfaced at auction in 2005 but did not sell. But do not despair: you can pick up the work at Galerie Canesso’s stand at Frieze Masters for an eye-watering £1.1m.

Portable oratory (early 17th century),  AR-PAB, Alvaro Roquette & Pedro Aguiar-Branco, Frieze Masters: There is crying galore in this lamentation of Christ, with the tears of three female figures mirroring the blood of the dead Jesus. The 17th-century work was made in southern China for the European market, most likely a Portuguese or Spanish buyer, according to a spokesman for the gallery. The Christian subject matter in oil is juxtaposed with beautiful lacquered and gilded doors decorated in a Chinese style; the flora and fauna around the outside seem bizarrely detached from the inside. Most surviving Asian portable icons from the period are Japanese, so this is a rare Chinese example: made in China, but not as we know it. It could be yours for €147,500.
Courtesy of AR-PAB, Alvaro Roquette & Pedro Aguiar-Branco

Portable oratory (early 17th century), AR-PAB, Alvaro Roquette & Pedro Aguiar-Branco, Frieze Masters: There is crying galore in this lamentation of Christ, with the tears of three female figures mirroring the blood of the dead Jesus. The 17th-century work was made in southern China for the European market, most likely a Portuguese or Spanish buyer, according to a spokesman for the gallery. The Christian subject matter in oil is juxtaposed with beautiful lacquered and gilded doors decorated in a Chinese style; the flora and fauna around the outside seem bizarrely detached from the inside. Most surviving Asian portable icons from the period are Japanese, so this is a rare Chinese example: made in China, but not as we know it. It could be yours for €147,500.

Ana Mendieta's Silueta Sangrienta (1975)  Galerie Lelong, Frieze London: The Cuban-US artist died in 1985 in suspicious circumstances when she fell from her 34th-floor apartment in New York. Although Silueta Sangrienta (bloody silhouette) has nothing to do with her untimely death, it is impossible to forget it when watching the short film, as Mendieta lies in the mud and her silhouette is replaced by a red liquid.
© The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection; Courtesy of Galerie Lelong

Ana Mendieta's Silueta Sangrienta (1975) Galerie Lelong, Frieze London: The Cuban-US artist died in 1985 in suspicious circumstances when she fell from her 34th-floor apartment in New York. Although Silueta Sangrienta (bloody silhouette) has nothing to do with her untimely death, it is impossible to forget it when watching the short film, as Mendieta lies in the mud and her silhouette is replaced by a red liquid.

Bruce Nauman's Double Poke in the Eye II (1985), David Zwirner, Frieze Masters: If anything is going to make you cry, it’s a double poke in the eye. The US artist Bruce Nauman is having his moment in the (neon?) sun with a major retrospective that was staged at the Schaulager during this year’s Art Basel; the show will travel to New York’s Museum of Modern Art later this month. The gallery would not reveal the price of the work. (That’s one in the eye for us.)
Courtesy of David Zwirner

Bruce Nauman's Double Poke in the Eye II (1985), David Zwirner, Frieze Masters: If anything is going to make you cry, it’s a double poke in the eye. The US artist Bruce Nauman is having his moment in the (neon?) sun with a major retrospective that was staged at the Schaulager during this year’s Art Basel; the show will travel to New York’s Museum of Modern Art later this month. The gallery would not reveal the price of the work. (That’s one in the eye for us.)