Daniel Blau is pleased to show at the launch of the “ Collections” section of Frieze Masters. Exhibited here for the first time together, Blau’s impressive collection of Pacific fish hooks can be admired alongside David Bailey’s stunning Uncharted photographs.
“A great catch” is, as we all know, a difficult feat. It is always supported by knowledge, skill and technology. In the Pacific though, it is about survival. The people of the Pacific Islands refined their fishing technique, making it an art form. Their craftsmanship evolved through many generations perfecting how, where and when to catch a particular fish at any given moment. The elegance of these hooks is astonishing: they can all be distinguished by fascinating, sometimes minute, variations in detail as every hook is designed for a specific type of fish. The hook itself is the mesmerisingly inviting bait which, by virtue of its sublime design and material, entices the fish to seize it. Distinctive in their production, the hooks are made using only local materials available to the isolated island societies. Most of the hooks presented here were made without any use of metal since metals had only been introduced to the islands after the first European explorers’ arrival in the last quarter of the 18th century. Unfortunately this ancient knowledge, craftsmanship and skill has become increasingly rare since the introduction of metal fish hooks. As the traditional ways of life on the islands give way to a globalised, 21st century standard of living - these hooks remain impressive and important examples of the distant Pacific Island Cultures.
Bailey’s collection of fragmented Uncharted prints, characterised by their torn edges, gives us insight into his artistic ingenuity and distinctive ability to create unique photographs, despite photography’s inherent reproducibility. Famous for his iconic portraits and inventive fashion photography, this collection of Uncharted prints shows another facet of Bailey’s œuvre. Torn before printing, the rough borders of these prints accentuate specific details whilst omitting others.Bailey makes his compositional choices in the brief magical moment of darkness between focus and exposure, releasing the unpredictable laws of chance in the creation of these fragments of his genius.