I went to the London Art Fair today, a serried chaos of wonders brightly arrayed inside the old Royal Agricultural Hall which is now called the Business Design Centre, because sure.
Art dealers in designer spectacles perched on Aerons and Phillipe Starck Ghost chairs and elm ladderback antiques. 500gsm business cards and an iPad. Art students with huge-lensed DSLRs and chic silver-haired women in fitted puffer coats and understated sterling Jensen. A woman on a mobility scooter with a utilitarian haircut and a purple turtleneck with a brooch at the throat hums from one booth to the next. She is Someone -- the dealers' eyebrows leap like acrylic caterpillars on a string and then smooth into nonchalance while she looks at what they have.
Paintings, paintings, paintings, copper-plated concrete, a stuffed magpie very well-done, pity about the pocket-watch in its beak. A vitrine with bees hanging on fishing line. Things painted on aluminium. That's painted on aluminium, people say to one another. Floppy-haired Oxbridge boys selling Pasmore to men in waxed coats with their heads to one side, exquisite double-handful of Moore bronze with a red dot over the year's salary on the little white label.
Neon billboard canvases like the side of a tent, massive mega-meta 3D photographs of Hirst's shark which move as you walk past, like the bookmarks with lion cubs on them at the tills in bookshops. Eardley Townhead portraits to fit in a shoebox with the ransom money. Coffee and a portuguese custard tart.
I come home with an oil on board of a jug and a glass, alive alive-o as though it knows things about the lives of a jug. She paints behind a curtain in a corner of her house in Bath, the dealer tells me. I believe it.