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New London fair in crowded art calendar looks at drawing in the digital age

Exhibitors at Draw Art Fair London in May will juxtapose drawings with related paintings and sculptures

Saatchi Gallery will host Draw Art Fair London Courtesy of Saatchi Gallery. Photo: Piers Allardyce

A new art fair dedicated to Modern and contemporary drawings is due to launch in London this spring. Draw Art Fair London (17-19 May; Saatchi Gallery) will include up to 60 galleries and exhibitors presenting individual exhibitions of artists’ drawings or groups of drawings in a museum-style context, according to a statement posted online. The new fair will coincide with the fifth edition of Photo London at Somerset House.

This fair is intended to be more like a curated event where the act of drawing plays a central role in revealing the practice of the artists. Jill Silverman van Coenegrachts, strategic director at Draw Art Fair London

Laurent Boudier, the fair founder and director, says that the exhibitor list will be announced by mid-February. “At which time, we will launch our online platform where the galleries, museums, curators and collectors can come together and exchange observations on drawing,” he says. Boudier founded Le Salon du Dessin Contemporain (Drawing Now art fair) in Paris in 2006.

“We are hoping that galleries will curate content-driven presentations for the fair,” says the fair’s strategic director, Jill Silverman van Coenegrachts. “We want people to look at drawings as more than pencil on paper. What is drawing in the digital age? Can we expand the concept of drawing here within an art fair context where this medium is usually given short shrift?”

Jill Silverman van Coenegrachts, the fair's strategic director, and Laurent Boudier, the founder and director © Charles Best

Asked how the fair will stand out in a crowded landscape, she says: “This fair is intended to be more like a curated event where the act of drawing plays a central role in revealing the practice of the artists. The opportunity to exhibit 70% drawing and 30% related works means gallerists will be showing the importance of drawing within an artist’s total range of production: sculpture, painting, video, digital art, even performance. As far as I know, there is no other fair that does this.”

Special projects planned include a large-scale drawing installation by the London-based artist Aleksandra Mir while the London institution, the Drawing Room, will present a new display of portraits. The fair organisers will also present work from the 2018 Contemporary Drawing Prize established in association with Le Cabinet des amateurs de Dessins de l’École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.