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London Art Fair: The Insider’s Guide

The London Art Fair, now in its 28th year, takes place at the Business Design Centre on Upper Street, Islington and brings together some of the finest contemporary art galleries currently at work in the UK. It runs between January 20 and 24.

Ahead of this year’s event, we caught up with Benjamin Kempton – Interiors Editor at Large at Wallpaper*, and one of SideStory’s very own Insiders – to get the lowdown on what to see and do once you’re there.

What is the London Art Fair?

With 95 galleries involved in the main fair and 31 attached to the associated art projects, it’s easy to see why Harper’s Bazaar described the event as, “the best of contemporary art… all under one roof”. It is generally recognised as the first big event of the annual international art calendar, and attracts a healthy crowd of art fans, collectors, journalists, movers and shakers.

There’s no need to feel intimidated by the fair – it isn’t so hifalutin as to be prohibitive. All you need is a healthy interest in contemporary art, as well as the energy required to heave yourself around the London Business Design Centre.

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What should I look out for? 

With so many galleries to visit and peruse, not including the must-see Photo 50 – a 50-strong collection of photos curated by Federica Chiocchetti around the subject of feminine masculinity – we thought it best to pick the brains of someone with his finger on the pulse of London’s creative scene. Here we present five picks from Benjamin Kempton, editor and Insider.

Benjamin on artists… 

“Tobias Till is a wonderful artist, whose paintings and drawings take inspiration from the streets of London. You can see his work at Tag Fine Arts (stand 45).”

Tobias Till

“Simon Gaiger creates beautifully sculptural pieces in metal, wood and stone. He’ll be showing work at Knight Webb Gallery (stand G2).”

Simon Gaiger 'Mistress-Of-The-West' 50 x 40 x 40 cm, painted steel

Benjamin on galleries… 

“Two galleries I often borrow paintings and artworks from for interior projects and Jonathan Clark Fine Art (stand 7) and Osborne Samuel (stand 32). Together, they boast some of the best British contemporary art collections in London, with work by celebrated artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Peter Blake and Paul Nash.”

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Benjamin on lunch…!

“There’s a lovely spot for lunch, off the main Upper Street stretch, called Sunday. You’ll find it at 169 Hemingford Road N1. Highly recommended.” (Extra SideStory inside info: the banana bread is about the best you’ll find in London!)

Sunday Upper Street Islington

Tickets to the London Art Fair 2016 can be booked here, costing £20 for a day ticket and £40 for a six-day ticket.

For more info on SideStory, the immersive travel people, take a look at our homepage. Book an Insider Experience with Benjamin and get to the very heart of London’s design community in the company of a true expert.