With 16,000 visitors, 200 - 350 independent exhibitors (from around the world) and often 7000 products on display, Parallax 'Art' Fair is not only the most important of its kind in London, it is also the largest in the UK and Europe. It is family-owned and not run by a portfolio-corporate firm. It is also managed by artists and designers. It is an event for everyone whether you are young or old, black or white, rich or poor, 'educated' or not. There are no barriers or expectations about how much you are to know about art/design.
This unique approach to the idea of an art fair grows out of its original and long-standing association with new ideas in the practice of Art History. Parallax 'Art' Fair was conceived by the artist Dr C G Barlow in late 2009, but took shape in early 2011. The first fair took place in July 2011. However, it was originally an exhibition called 'Parallax', which opened in November 2010 in London following two pre-exhibitions. Critical essays were contributed to the catalogue by Dr C G Barlow, Professor Donald Preziosi, Professor Alun Munslow and Dr Paul Gladston. One interpretation of the exhibition was that it attempted in a gallery setting to demonstrate how the discipline of History determines what a viewer assumes about contemporary art and the market. The exhibition also introduced the important phenomenon of 'idem sonans'. The fair continued this research aspect with 'lectures' by Donald Preziosi and Alun Munslow in 2011 and 2012. The fair has always been thought of as a type of 'idem sonans' (or an art work) in relation to the contemporary art industry and art fairs. When visitors walk through the fair today they often do not realise that they are walking through an art work and that they themselves are part of the show. In 2018, the fair moved to Kensington Town Hall and Dr C G Barlow curated three shows of Setsuko Ono’s work at Asia House, Daiwa Foundation and PAF18. In July 2018, the fair grew to 350 exhibitors for the first time in its history with three exhibition spaces at Kensington Town Hall. In 2019, Dr Barlow will publish a book on the concept of the fair.