12 Exciting New Art Exhibitions in London - Winter 2002
The capital never disappoints with its ever-changing cultural offerings and the coming winter months see a packed programme of new art exhibitions in London. A highlight this season, across the city’s museums and galleries, is the celebration of ground-breaking female creatives. There’s Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s show at Tate Britain and the Barbican’s retrospective of the pioneering Alice Neel to a dazzling exhibition featuring the work of women light artists in Marylebone. From classic to contemporary, here are the best new exhibitions in town.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Fly In League With The Night
24 November - 26 February 2023
The biggest exhibition of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s oeuvre to date – bringing together over 70 of the artist’s works, spanning from 2003 to the present day – Fly In League With The Night is not to be missed. The British artist and writer is widely considered to be one of the most important figurative painters of our time, celebrated for her large-scale oil paintings of imaginary human subjects, which appear to the viewer at once familiar and mysterious. The portraits are often coupled with wonderfully poetic titles, such as Tie the Temptress to the Trojan 2016 and To Improvise a Mountain 2018. Indeed, writing is central to Yiadom-Boakye’s practice: “I write about the things I can’t paint and paint the things I can’t write about.”
Magdalena Abakanowicz: Every Tangle Of Thread And Rope
17 November - 21 May 2023
Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930-2017) changed people’s perceptions of sculpture, creating radical works from woven fibre. Growing up in rural Poland, she took inspiration from the myth, folklore and spirits of the forest. Her Abakans, as they are known, are complex three-dimensional forms made of organic materials including horsehair, sisal and hemp rope that broke new ground in the 1960s and 70s – not just for their revolutionary shape and texture, but also because Abakanowicz was gaining international recognition despite living under the restrictions of an oppressive Communist regime. This is a rare opportunity to see more than two dozen of these sculptures, brought together for the first time in the UK.
Harland Miller: Imminent End, Rescheduled Eternally
White Cube Bermondsey
16 November - 22 January 2023
Harland Miller is both an artist and writer, whose peripatetic career has seen him spend time in both Europe and America. This solo exhibition at White Cube Bermondsey is a chance to see Miller’s new abstract letter paintings, alongside the latest works from his renowned book series in which he reimagines vintage covers with fictitious titles. All attest to Miller’s “engagement with the narrative, aural and typographical possibilities of language.” The exhibition coincides with the publication of a revised and expanded edition of a monograph on Miller, In Shadows I Boogie.
12 November - 12 February 2023
In what is a first, one of the most exciting new art exhibitions in London is devoted entirely to the pioneering female artists working in Germany in the early 1900s. Over 65 paintings and works on paper by Paula Modersohn-Becker, Kӓthe Kollwitz, Gabriele Münter and Marianne Werefkin are displayed alongside key pictures by Erma Bossi, Ottilie Reylaender and Jacoba van Heemskerck. All serve to highlight how these ground-breaking women, through their self-portraiture, still life, landscapes and urban scenes, were no less central in radical new approaches to art in early 20th century Europe as their male counterparts.
Butterfly Effect: New Works By Lily Mixe
3 November - 4 December
Paris-born, Margate-based artist Lily Mixe looks to the glory of nature and the interconnectedness of species for her exhibition at Saatchi Gallery. Butterfly Effect includes a series of works created on materials Mixe has found, including vintage bottles and furniture panels, which she juxtaposes with the depiction of sublime fauna to highlight the constant challenge humankind presents to Mother Nature. A specially commissioned 15-metre mural of a whale – first seen by the visitor from above – was created by Mixe on-site, using paint that incorporates chalk salvaged from cliff falls on the Kent coast.
Alice Neel: Hot Off The Griddle
Barbican Art Gallery
16 February - 21 May 2023
“One of the reasons I painted was to catch life as it goes by, right hot off the griddle… the vitality is taken out of real living,” the American artist Alice Neel (1900-1984) once said. This retrospective is a wonderful display – the largest to date in the UK – of Neel’s vibrant portraits and archival material. Based mainly in New York, she persisted with her figurative, expressionistic style when it was unfashionable to do so, her subjects not what was expected at the time – pregnant women, labour leaders, Black and Puerto Rican children, Greenwich Village eccentrics, civil rights activists and queer performers. This exhibition not only underscores the depth and breadth of a radical, creative artist who was undervalued for much of her six-decade career, but also sets her work in a shifting cultural context.
Raffael Bader: Roam Inaccessible Paths
10 - 20 November
BWG Gallery – aka Brushes with Greatness – in Shoreditch is a gallery and visual artist agency that supports emerging and established artists through exhibitions, commercial projects and cultivating creative connections. Next up is German artist Raffael Bader, whose new works across painting and drawing explore “the ‘self’ in relation to the natural world.” And so you have stunningly bold, bright canvases of oceans, seas, volcanoes and plateaus, at once depicting nature as a place of interconnectivity, beauty and symbiosis as well as danger and chaos. Bader has also created a site-specific viewing bench installation for reflection.
Spain And The Hispanic World
21 January - 10 April 2023
A fascinating deep dive into the story of Spanish and Hispanic art and culture, from antiquity to the 20th century. This is the first time that the collection from the esteemed Hispanic Society Museum & Library in New York has been displayed in the UK – and it promises to be quite a show. From masterpieces by the greats – Goya, Velázquez, Zurbarán and El Greco – to paintings, sculptures, silk textiles, ceramics, precious jewellery and silverware, maps (including the famous World Map of 1526 by Giovanni Vespucci), drawings and lacquerware from Latin America, all offer visitors the chance to understand the cultural and religious influences that shaped Spanish culture.
14 - 25 November
A former Georgian residence in Marylebone – now SoShiro gallery – will be bathed in light this November, with a sparkling exhibition featuring the work of six female light artists from the UK and Europe. Each artwork has its own room in the gallery inviting the visitor to fully immerse themselves. Expect neon, LED and film projections from luminaries Taman Frank, Chila Singh Burman, Karolina Halatek, Kate McMillan, Jacqueline Hen and Lauren Baker. The exhibition has been curated by Light Collective, a UK-based lighting consultancy, that previously launched the global project, Women in Lighting, creating a community of women around the world working with light within architecture, art and other sectors.
Mohammed Sami: The Point 0
Camden Art Centre
27 January - 28 May 2023
This is the first institutional solo exhibition for Baghdad-born artist Mohammed Sami. It brings together ten major new paintings, alongside important works from the previous four years. Sami has drawn on his own experiences – first as an artist co-opted by the Ba’ath regime to create propaganda images and later as a refugee granted asylum in Sweden – to create a series of highly charged, large-scale works that “explore memory in relation to time and conflict”. There are abandoned interiors, barricaded windows, claustrophobic cityscapes and haunting depictions of everyday objects, and though conflict and trauma are never directly conveyed they simmer just below the surface.
White Cube Mason’s Yard
23 November - 14 January 2023
A heady mix of science and magic, science fiction and gothic romanticism, David Altmejd’s portrait heads and busts of hybrid humans and animal characters make up this fantastical exhibition at White Cube Mason’s Yard. Here the hare takes centre stage, appearing in many guises: cartoon-like or with human features, sometimes with his ears reduced to stumps or disproportionately enlarged. All the works encompass uncanny naturalism, portraying decay with regeneration, the exquisite with the grotesque. “A perfect object for me”, the artist has said, “is something that is extremely seductive and extremely repulsive at the same time”.
Hernan Bas: The Conceptualists
18 November - 14 January 2023
Hernan Bas is revered for works that are loaded with double meanings – when “the ordinary becomes the extraordinary”. Here, it’s the other way around with Bas’s protagonists indulging obsessive passions that – perhaps strange under everyday circumstances – might be rationalised when considered as ‘conceptual art’. These “Conceptualists” indulge their pursuits obsessively as they construct their self-made worlds, from chewing gum every minute of the day to gilding the leaves of dying house plants. “What before might have been seen as a rogues’ gallery of “weirdos” is now, under the guise and cover of ‘art’, a series of portraits of intellectuals. The humour I hope these works convey is intentional…” explains the artist.