9 Gallery Shows to See in London During Frieze Week, From a Ron Mueck Retrospective to a Motley Crew of Ominous Skeletons
Oct 12, 2021
It’s Frieze week in London, and ahead of the fairs opening to VIPs tomorrow, here’s our pick of what’s on view beyond The Regent’s Park across a selection of galleries in London.
Installation view, Elizabeth Neel, “Limb after Limb,” at Pilar Corrias. Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London.
In “Limb after Limb,” Elizabeth Neel presents a new body of work made in isolation on her family’s farm in rural Vermont. The large-scale paintings on canvas echo the natural environment and the physical and psychological tolls of isolation through a process of abstraction. Also on view is a short documentary about the artist by her brother, Andrew Neel, which explores her practice and fraught experience living as an artist within the legacy of her grandmother, Alice Neel.
“Limb after Limb” is on view at 2 Savile Row, London, W1S 3PA.
Installation view, Simeon Barclay, “England’s Lost Camelot,” at Workplace.Courtesy of the artist and Workplace, London.
The U.K. artist Simeon Barclay has created new multimedia works and an installation for “England’s Lost Camelot,” on view at Workplace’s West End gallery. Taking its cue from Arthurian legends and the persistence of the figure of the gallant knight in British folklore and iconography, he follows this medieval legend through popular culture as well as his own personal biography, unpacking how these tropes play a role in determining notions of class, race, and gender.
“Simeon Barclay: England’s Lost Camelot” is on view at 40 Margaret Street, London, W1G 0JH.
Özgür Kar, Death with flute (2021). Photo: Stephen James. © Özgür Kar, courtesy of the artist and Emalin, London.
In “Storage Drama,” his first solo outing with Emalin, Turkish artist Özgür Kar presents three of his eerie “Death” sculptures, minimally animated drawings of musically inclined skeletons that ruminate on the nature of existence with humor and heft. There’s a timelessness to the anxiety expressed, evoking at once medieval manuscripts and plague traditions, but also the banal phrases of online exchanges and our contemporary moment of global disease. Scored by improvised woodwind riffs on an ominous tritone known as the “Devil’s Interval,” viewers might find themselves in a bit of a trance. As one of Kar’s characters puts it: “You either get the vibe or you don’t.”
“Storage Drama” is on view at 1 Holywell Lane, London, EC2A 3ET.
Ron Mueck, Dead Dad (1996–97). © Ron Mueck, courtesy of Thaddaeus Ropac, London, Paris, Salzburg, and Seoul.
Spanning 25 years of Ron Mueck’s career, this historical exhibition at Thaddaeus Ropac features some of the Australian sculptor’s most celebrated pieces plus never-before-exhibited works. Mueck’s famous sculpture Dead Dad (1996–97) is on view in the U.K. for the first time since it shocked in the Royal Academy’s storied 1997 “Sensation” exhibition, as is a new, as-yet-unseen cast-iron outdoor sculpture of a skull, Dead Weight (2021), which clocks in at a whopping one tonne. A moving figure of a young Black man with a stab wound, Youth (2009/2011), speaks to the urgency of addressing urban crime. From the small-scale to the monumental, the works on view evoke the gamut of human emotions and experiences.
“Ron Mueck: 25 Years of Sculpture 1996–2021” is on view at 37 Dover Street, London, W1S 4NJ.
Clara Hastrup, Untitled (Leek) (2021). Courtesy of LAMB Gallery, London.
This lively group exhibition explores everyday objects and the role they play in shaping and holding onto identity, asking whether, in a digital age, the physical carries more significance, or less. Curated by Roya Sachs, it places blue-chip names such as Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Erwin Wurm, and Isa Genzken in dialogue with works by emerging artists, such as Clara Hastrup’s photographs of “Perishable Sculptures,” to ask how we relate to objects, from throwaway items to functional commodities to treasured tokens of memory.
“Sorry It’s a Mess, We Just Moved In!” is on view at 32 St. George Street, London, W1S 2EA.
Noah Davis, 40 Acres and a Unicorn (2007). © The Estate of Noah Davis, courtesy of the Estate of Noah Davis and David Zwirner.
Curator Helen Molesworth has selected works by the late U.S. artist Noah Davis that span his brief but bright career for the first presentation of the artist’s dreamlike, figurative paintings in the U.K. The show is a follow-up to an acclaimed exhibition at David Zwirner in New York in January 2020, and while there are some repeats, most of the works on view will be different. Significantly, the London edition imports a version of the artist’s ambitious social-practice project, the Underground Museum, installed in the gallery’s upper level. Headquartered in an underserved Black and Latinx neighborhood in Los Angeles, the initiative is a Black-owned and -run art space that shows museum-quality work. Highlighting the importance to Davis of community, the show includes a sculpture by the artist’s widow, Karon Davis, and the film BLKNWS, by his brother, Kahlil Joseph, famed in his own right.
“Noah Davis” is on view at 24 Grafton Street, London, W1S 4EZ.
Issy Wood, The sides (2021). © Issy Wood. Courtesy of the artist; Carlos/Ishikawa, London; and JTT, New York.
The young painting sensation Issy Wood’s exhibition “Trilemma” at Carlos/Ishikawa will scratch your brain—and not just because all the paintings are on velvet. The artist created this series of ‘depression’ paintings during lockdown in response to her contracted surroundings, and in works based on snippets of screenshots from the films and TV shows she was watching, there is an eerie sense of nostalgia for a world that once was. The show also includes a foray into installation with a suite of painted, velvet-upholstered Carlo Scarpa furniture entitled What if you showed up (2021) installed in the middle of the gallery.
“Issy Wood: Trilemma” is on view at Unit 4, 88 Mile End Road, London, E1 4UN.
Installation view, “Social Works II,” at Gagosian Grosvenor Hill, London. Courtesy Gagosian.
This group exhibition on view at the gallery’s Grosvenor Hill location is the sequel to recently-appointed director and curator Antwaun Sargent’s inaugural show at Gagosian in New York. It places front and center artists of the African diaspora whose projects extend beyond the walls of the gallery and into social practice. From architect Sumayya Vally’s wall fragment that functions as a site for research and ritual to historical collages by Black Arts Movement pioneer (and Turner Prize–winner) Lubaina Himid, the exhibition probes the ways that geography informs identity and perception in different communities and spaces.
“Social Works II” is on view at 20 Grosvenor Hill, London, W1K 3QD.
New Spring (2017). Photo: Juriaan Booij. Courtesy of COS x Studio Swine.
The Tokyo- and London-based duo A.A. Murakami—made up of Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves from Studio Swine—has been tapped to debut Superblue in London, following the global launch of the experiential art powerhouse in Miami in May.
For “Silent Fall”—on view at Pace’s former Burlington Gardens space—the pair is presenting a new, Instagram-friendly multi-sensory experience that immerses audiences in a seemingly infinite forest of glowing trees. Their branches emit misty bubbles, which unleash different scents of nature, from pine to moss, when they burst. It’s part of the artists’ “ephemeral tech” installations, which use sophisticated technology to recreate organic experiences, and offers a glimpse of a future world in which we are trying to recreate a sense of the sublime in a nature that is lost.
“Silent Fall” is on view at 6 Burlington Gardens, London, W1J 0PE.