The Sluice Art Fair took place last weekend in Mayfair, London, one of a number of satellite events taking place during Frieze week. Set up, by Karl England and Ben Street, with an emphasis on artist run/not-for-profit spaces and dialogue. I had been looking forward to the event, and not just because it was a chance to catch up with, and see the work of, real-world and virtual friends.
The overall impression is that it was fresh, and response from people I spoke to was very positive. I made an observation to Karl that there didn't seem to be any larger-scale works, but I was wrong - there were. In retrospect I realise that simply because some of the stands represented several artists, and these tended to be smaller works, it was that - combined with the open-plan nature of the space, that made me think otherwise. Had more of the stands been 'boothed' it may have given a very different impression, but I found the atmosphere unstuffy - and engaging with people came easily. I'm not going to single out any of the participants for particular work because pretty well everyone had something that interested me, but my prize for balls goes to George and Jørgen for exhibiting just 3 works.
One person described the event as 'scrappy' in a comment I read. He is a dick, frankly, overlooking the nature and spirit of the event and the fact that it was free entry. The significance of the latter was likely lost on him because he was almost certainly given a complimentary ticket for Frieze. Personally I only have a couple of regrets - one is that I missed seeing a couple of people, the other is that I wasn't able to attend the scheduled panel discussions. Here's to Sluice 2012.