All eyes are on London as Frieze London and Frieze Masters open next Wednesday. Drawing the world's most influential artists, critics and curators, the fair provides an unparalleled platform for modern and contemporary art. Curated by Christy Lange (frieze magazine) and Gregor Muir (ICA, London), this year's talks will for the first time focus largely on a single, critical theme: that of ‘borders' – from the geographic and political to the social and psychological. Addressing issues such as Brexit, the ongoing migration crisis and identity politics, artists and others discuss the real and imagined borders that we construct and fight to break down.
The frailty of borders that we attempt to construct is central to the work of Juliette Losq, whose hauntingly beautiful watercolours explore forgotten urban spaces. Seeking places neglected by urban development, where flora reclaims now derelict structures, Losq illustrates “borderlands” throughout the UK, from the disused railway line that once joined Finsbury Park and Highgate to the graffiti-strewn old sewage beds known as the Feltham Circles. To Losq these places embody the notion of ‘The Clearing', a space cleared by man within nature, ‘where wilderness and chaos oppose civilisation and order, and in which beauty and neglect are interchangeable.'
Punctuated by graffiti and the wild growth of vines, Losq's liminal landscapes hold a sense of both danger and intrigue. These are places on the edge of urban order, where the unkempt gives way to the illicit and where beauty emerges in bright lettering and tangled growth. Exploring the fear and fascination that shrouds the unknown, Losq's work draws on the Gothic, which similarly plays on the tenuous boundaries of what is real. The Sublime also emerges in her work, evoked in fragile boundaries that hint at a world beyond our comprehension. Confronted by Losq's modern-day ruins, we sense the beauty of a world that is not built on limits, but which rather holds both order and chaos, self and other, and a dimension that we will never fully know.