Parallax Art Fair grew out of a research exhibition held in London in 2010. It was the first entretive fair in the capital. The original exhibition looked at how viewers often see art through prejudices unknown to them. This idea is still central to Parallax today and is what makes it often challenging, confusing, open to misinterpretation, and strange to most people. Most people don’t understand Parallax because they miss that they are the subject.
Unlike other fairs that often try their hardest to sound and look radical, and yet maintain traditional approaches to thinking about objects, Parallax is a conceptual work of art as well as a fair. It is a new kind of historical event. We do not believe in outmoded prejudices, such as qualities like ‘good’ and ‘bad’ residing ‘somewhere’ in art objects. Art selection is a marketing lie and philosophically dubious. All objects are equal and all makers of those objects are equal. Art objects are materialistic too. They do not contain personality or traces of a maker’s history. This is emphasised in the presentation of the fair (often misunderstood), which also celebrates and incorporates random events.
The art industry and its educational system is old-fashioned and full of stupidities that should have changed decades ago. It is time to set us free.
At Parallax everything we do stems from questioning what art history is and whether it should condition what we think because it is an ossified and meaningless jumble of older philosophies that few would agree with today. Yet, it determines why that dealer thinks this price and not that, why that critic thinks this artist or art fair is ‘important’ and dismisses others, and why, even, some artists criticise their peers. It has a profound influence over art commerce, how we determine what is contemporary, the way exhibitions are run, how museums display collections and the way people are taught to think about art & design. And yet it is full of absurdities. But freeing ourselves means we can enjoy the present moment (no, not in some cloud of existentialism) and to respect all people and what they do. This is why we do not have a VIP department. Everyone is a VIP at Parallax.
The same philosophy influences how we seek to treat our staff, building up their confidence and skills in an industry well-known for its 'sleaze', bullying, and difficult career entry.