As London’s busiest art week begins on the 12th October this year, so do a number of must-see exhibitions that are showing long after the world-renowned contemporary art fair leaves town. Here are our five top picks for Frieze Week and beyond, selected by Harriet Lloyd-Smith, Arts Editor of Wallpaper* Magazine.
Royal Academy of Arts, Until 11 December 2022
William Kentridge is South Africa’s most influential and celebrated contemporary artist. His major show at the Royal Academy of Arts, the artist’s largest in the UK to date, is nothing short of a multisensory masterpiece. Capturing the complexity of humanity and the brutality of Apartheid, the show spans 40 years of Kentridge’s expansive practice – including drawing, writing, collage, film, animation, theatre, dance and music, with many works unseen or created specifically for the show. As Kentridge described in a recent Wallpaper* interview, ‘It’s very much a view from the studio outwards…the studio is the central point.’
Universal Everything: ‘Lifeforms’
180 The Strand, 12 October – 4 December 2022
Staged in the industrial subterranean labyrinth that is 180 The Strand, ‘Lifeforms’ is the largest show to date for Sheffield-based digital art collective, Universal Everything. Mining from the Futurists’ take on the body in motion, their otherworldly, hyperreal creatures fuse a spectrum of human behaviours with the diversity of the natural world. Presented and commissioned by 180 Studios, the exhibition will bring together 14 individual ‘lifeforms’ that exist in ‘habitats’ imagined by Ab Rogers Design. Universal Everything’s deft use of cutting-edge generative technology means that each visitor will be offered an entirely distinctive experience.
Amy Sherald: ‘The World We Make’
Hauser & Wirth, 12 October – 23rd December 2022
One of the leading contemporary portrait artists in the US, Amy Sherald’s largest European show to date marks a major moment. ‘The World We Make’ sees both smaller-scale and monumental canvases set against bold, block-coloured backgrounds triumphantly capture the lives of Black Americans, who have long been excluded from the canon of traditional portraiture. Her show is a deeply human celebration of queer love, everyday moments, and a re-contextualisation of key pieces in contemporary art and culture, from Alfred Eisenstaedt’s V-J Day in Times Square (1945) to Giorgio de Chirico’s Lady in Leopard Coat (1940).
Adrian Ghenie: ‘The Fear of NOW’
Thaddaeus Ropac, 12 October – 22 December 2022
As its title suggests, Romanian artist Adrian Ghenie’s new show, ‘The Fear of NOW’ delves into our collective fears in the digital era. His gestural take on portraiture captures the contemporary human condition through Francis Bacon-esque gestural brushstrokes and visceral colour. His new paintings are a potent commentary on the transformation of society now: figures gyrate behind screens, bodies hunch over laptops – even Marilyn Monroe is depicted (and distorted) in a dystopian series penetrating the superficiality of celebrity culture. Ghenie’s paintings, at once grotesque and captivating, chronicle the new era of body language.
Cecilia Vicuña: Hyundai Commission
Tate Modern, 11 October 2022 – 16 April 2023
Chilean artist, poet, filmmaker and activist Cecilia Vicuña has spent the last 50 years upending the art canon with radical work exploring global ecology, femininity and social justice for marginalised communities. Following her Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement award at the 2022 Venice Biennale, a major survey show at the Guggenheim in New York, and now, a commission to dominate the vast Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, she is, at last, receiving overdue recognition. Vicuña’s Hyundai Commission will comprise a monumental, mulltilayered fibre installation that dangles from the colossal ceiling of the hall, an ode to her country’s Indigenous history, culture and craft.