27 June 2017 | 15.9 °C

The Best Independent Art Exhibitions of 2015

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 18 months ago
The Best Independent Art Exhibitions of 2015
A still from Ragnar Kjartansson's nine-screen installation, The Visitors. © Ragnar Kjartansson Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik. Photo: Elísabet Davids

The major exhibitions understandably steal the limelight in London's art scene. But our city is full of smaller galleries that also put on amazing shows. They deserve our admiration as well, so here's our top picks from 2015:

1. The Visitors at Brewer Street Car Park
This 60 minute 'music video' across nine screens had us captivated throughout. We even went back for a second viewing and we still can't get the song out of our heads.

2. Jon Rafman at Zabludowicz Collection
This could easily rival some of this year's blockbuster exhibitions. Virtual reality, a ball pit and videos in cabinets gave us a glimpse of what the future of art looks like.

3. Jennifer Rubell: Not Alone at Stephen Friedman
We had to get naked, hold a glass baby and eat an egg in this wonderfully interactive show. The central theme of motherhood shone through across these diverse works.

4. Fiona Tan: Ghost Dwellings at Frith Street Gallery
The gallery was transformed into a hoarder's squat as movies played about financial crises and Fukushima. A subtle exploration of how the world can collapse around us.

5. Tadashi Kawamata: Stairs at Annely Juda Fine Art
Stairs break through the floors across three storeys of the gallery. Stretching from the store room up to the skylights. A fabulous blend of art and architecture.

6. Jason File: An ornament and a safeguard at The Ryder
Can a £1 coin be worth £10,000? This tongue-in-cheek exploration had a lot of fun in answering the question. It challenged the nature of value in art.

Surrounded by Onomatopoeia in Christian Marclay's exhibition. Photo Tabish Khan

7. Christian Marclay at White Cube, Bermondsey
We were mesmerised by a room where onomatopoeia splashes across all four walls. The words assaulted us with 'sound without sound'.

8. Gharem studio presents Ricochet at Asia House
It only lasted a week but the political weight of these Middle Eastern artists was astonishing. We were shocked these artists could return home after creating works that take a critical look at the darker aspects of religion.

9. Ydessa Hendeles at ICA
This collection of manikins is very creepy. Add in some curved mirrors and some atmospheric music and we were hooked.

10. Thomas Hirschhorn: In-between at South London Gallery
Are destruction and creation the same thing? This unsettling 'bomb site' posed the questions as radiators and toilets made an appearance in this chaotic installation.

Independent gallery of the year

William Mackrell's work was shown at The Ryder.

The Ryder
It's only been going a year and it's had some stellar exhibitions. An appearance in our top 10 and works that include mathematical equations, chasing a sunset in a fighter jet and towing a Citroen 2CV around London with two horses. This hidden-away space in Bethnal Green has shown that it's not just the established names that host great art.

Last Updated 28 December 2015