What’s on: London Art exhibitions to visit right now
As the sun comes out in London, there is no better time to visit the city’s best art galleries. From a multimedia exhibition empowering young Black girls in art, to an immersive Afrofuturistic experience, we look ahead to June’s must see show’s in London.
Black Chapel by Theaster Gates
Serpentine South Gallery
10 Jun — 16 Oct 2022
“Designed by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates, the Serpentine Pavilion 2022 Black Chapel draws inspiration from many of the architectural typologies that ground the artist’s practice.
The structure, realised with the support of Adjaye Associates, references the bottle kilns of Stoke-on-Trent, the beehive kilns of the Western United States, San Pietro and the Roman tempiettos, and traditional African structures, such as the Musgum mud huts of Cameroon, and the Kasubi Tombs of Kampala, Uganda. The Pavilion’s circularity and volume echo the sacred forms of Hungarian round churches and the ring shouts, voodoo circles and roda de capoeira witnessed in the sacred practices of the African diaspora.
Black Chapel is a site for contemplation and convening, set within the grounds of Serpentine in Kensington Gardens. The structure’s central oculus emanates a single source of light to create a sanctuary for reflection, refuge and conviviality. The project mirrors the artist’s ongoing engagement with ‘the vessel’ in his studio practice, and with space-making through his celebrated urban regeneration projects.”
In the Black Fantastic by Ekow Eshun
29 Jun – 18 Sep 2022
“Myth, science fiction, spiritual traditions and the legacy of Afrofuturism are all sampled, reimagined and recontextualised in In the Black Fantastic.
Encompassing painting, photography, video, sculpture and mixed-media installations, the exhibition creates immersive aesthetic experiences that bring the viewer into a new environment somewhere between the real world and a multiplicity of imagined ones.
While some artists disrupt our understanding of the past, others invite us to imagine fantastical futures. In this exhibition, fantasy becomes a zone of creative and cultural liberation and a means of addressing racism and social injustice by conjuring new ways of being in the world.
In the Black Fantastic is curated by Ekow Eshun and features the artists Nick Cave, Sedrick Chisom, Ellen Gallagher, Hew Locke, Wangechi Mutu, Rashaad Newsome, Chris Ofili, Tabita Rezaire, Cauleen Smith, Lina Iris Viktor and Kara Walker.”
Little Black Girls by Christian Azolan
8 Jul – 9 Jul 2022
“‘Little Black Girls’ is Christian Azolan’s first solo art exhibition, this gilded photography, paint and mixed media series is a statement of empowerment and an open letter to representing black girls in art.
‘Black women face insecurity, low pay, underemployment, unfair treatment, discrimination and racism. Black girls need to see positive images of themselves, they need to feel empowered, they need to be treated fairly, if they are not seen and continue to be underrepresented and not celebrated in all art forms in society, these girls will enter adulthood lack self-identity, historical reference and self-worth’.
‘These girls should not have to grow up in a world where the odds are stacked against them based purely on their skin colour.’
Little Black Girls is about the importance of ethnicity, entering womanhood, the balance of power and love, being Queens, angels and religious symbolism in everyday life.”
Dappled Light by Rana Begum
25 Mar to 11 Sept 2022
“Pitzhanger presents a solo exhibition of work by artist Rana Begum RA, with striking works which explore the perception of light, colour and form and blur the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, design and painting.
Dappled Light sets up a dynamic dialogue with John Soane’s design of Pitzhanger as the works respond to the Manor’s architecture, sightlines, and intricate interior decorative schemes. Several works are displayed beyond the Gallery around the Manor, responding strikingly to its spaces.
Works on display include a newly-created large-scale suspended mesh installation which reveals soft veils and layers of colour and Rana’s first video work, which captures the fugitive light in a woodland outside the artist’s city home as it cycles through the seasons during a year of lockdown.”
Feminine power :the divine to the demonic by Belinda Crerar
19 May – 25 Sept 2022
“This exhibition celebrates the power and diversity of the divine female in world culture and belief, from the ancient world to today.
Designed to inspire visitors to reflect on the diversity of the representation of women in world belief, this exhibition explores the glory of ancient goddesses and the growing significance of the divine female today.
Objects in the exhibition are drawn from across the world and across time, to emphasise the variety and ubiquity of the divine female throughout human existence.
From monumental sculpture from ancient Greece, Egypt and India, wall hangings from Japan and China, to Western fine art, this exhibition asks: what does female spiritual power mean for individuals and societies then and now?”
From Near and Far: Collage and Figuration in the Contemporary Age by Katy Hessel
Stephen Friedman Gallery
9 June – 23 July 2022
“Stephen Friedman Gallery presents ‘From Near and Far’, an exhibition exploring the notion of collage.
Bringing together 16 contemporary female artists, the exhibition focuses on collage as a concept and an art form; from the traditional method of splicing together imagery to amalgamating figures, forms, gestures and viewpoints. The artists are united by a shared interest in figuration.
Curated by Katy Hessel, art historian and founder of The Great Women Artists, and artist Deborah Roberts, the exhibition features over twenty works, many of which have never been shown before. Gallery artists Sarah Ball, Deborah Roberts, Anne Rothenstein and Caroline Walker all present new works. Other highlights include significant, large-scale paintings by Jordan Casteel and Amy Sherald; a series of collages by Lubaina Himid that have never previously been exhibited; and new works by Kenturah Davis, M. Florine Démosthène, Genevieve Gaignard, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Chantal Joffe, Aubrey Levinthal, Martha Rosler, Betye Saar and Mickalene Thomas.”