Swings And Animal Explosions: London's Best Exhibitions To See Right Now

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 77 months ago

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Last Updated 15 February 2018

Swings And Animal Explosions: London's Best Exhibitions To See Right Now

Looking for a dose of culture? Want to know what's hot on London's exhibition scene? Read on. We've roughly split the list by London regions to make it easier to navigate.

Photo Joel Searles.

North & East London

ANIMAL EXPLOSION: A deer, a zebra, a crocodile and a wild boar are entwined together using steel wire in a structure that seems to be exploding outwards — as if a metallic explosion has hit London Zoo. These massive sculptures are visually stunning and can be read as a reference to our destruction of the environment, and humanity's throwaway treatment of other species — or you can just be bowled over by the spectacular nature of the works.  
Nancy Rubins: Diversifolia at Gagosian, 6-24 Britannia Street (King's Cross). Until 14 April 2018, free. ★★★★☆ (Tuesday-Saturday)

DRESS YOURSELF: Grab four different dresses off a rack and arrange them into a composition of your choosing — anyone can be responsible for curating part of this exhibition. In other works, pieces of clothing become part of the art as they inhabit a space in between the flat world of painting and the 3D world of fashion. Upstairs the monochromatic paintings are not as effective, but that doesn't stop this being a fun exhibition overall.
Here & There: Paintings by Lisa Milroy at Parasol Unit, 14 Wharf Road. Until 18 March 2018, free. ★★★☆☆ (Tuesday-Sunday)

© Jorge Pardo. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro

STEP INTO THE LIGHT: These stunning lamps bridge the nexus of art, design and architecture. Each one is beautifully crafted from natural and industrial materials to keep the light concealed within. Stand over them, under them and walk around to create a different view each time. The paintings downstairs have a similar shimmering effect as the laser cut gaps means the light shifts as we do. If beautiful works are what you're after, this should be top of the list.
Jorge Pardo at Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road. Until 24 March 2018, free. ★★★★☆ (Tuesday-Saturday)

Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

REBUILDING A CITY: Agadir in Morocco was largely destroyed by a devastating earthquake and had to be rebuilt from scratch. Artist Yto Barrada looks at this process of re-invention through personal stories and the politics involved in re-building a city. It's a dense and complex subject matter told through a massive mural the length of the gallery, a video and furniture. What really brings the space to life is a script involving a king, a cook and a trade unionist debating about the future of the city. It's acted out by fantastic performers who really know how to engage with the audience through eye contact, making the topic more relatable.
Yto Barrada: Agadir at Barbican, Curve. Until 20 May 2018, free. ★★★☆☆

South London

© Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. © The Estate of David Milne

INVERSE IMPRESSIONISM: This is Impressionism but not as you know it. Milne takes the colour palette and flips it on its head. Outdoor scenes leave whole areas white as if they are unfinished paintings, yet it captures the light perfectly. Still lifes have all the colour stripped out of them so forests and flowers are dull greys and browns. Dulwich Picture Gallery is gaining a great reputation for pulling out artists we're not familiar with and with Milne it delivers a refreshing and original take on landscape painting.
David Milne: Modern Painting at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Until 7 May 2018, £15.50. ★★★★☆ (Tuesday-Sunday)

SWINGERS: If the swings at Tate Modern are too busy then head for a relaxing rock back and forth in Deptford. Artist Amanda Mostrom sees the Tate's swings and raises them by including two types of swings in her work, and a pixellated dog in the tiling on the back wall. Mostrom is asking us to be curious and playful when engaging with art — we're more than happy to take her up on that offer.
Amanda Mostrom: Doing it in the park, doing it after dark at Castor Projects, 50 Resolution Way. Until 17 March 2018, free. ★★★★☆ (Friday-Saturday)

Image courtesy White Cube

PINK & PERSONAL: The gallery is aglow with pink lighting as Eddie Peake invites you into his formative years. The gallery reflects the recreation ground in Finsbury Park, and Peake has brought in another hit of nostalgia by inviting Cool London radio station to broadcast from the gallery. Peake himself will be performing in the space throughout the duration of the show to add that extra personal touch. We've not liked Peake's work in the past, but this feels a more focused effort than his previous shows. The fact that he's relegated his trademark nudity to a small part of the exhibition suggests he's maturing as an artist.
Eddie Peake: Concrete Pitch at White Cube, 144-152 Bermondsey Street. Until 8 April 2018, free. ★★★☆☆ (Tuesday-Sunday)

Central London

Artworks copyright Glenn Brown. Photo: Lucy Dawkins.

GOOD, BAD & UGLY: Multiple beautiful heads are combined in these Indian ink drawings. Based on the paintings of Old Masters, they are superb. Artist Glenn Brown does the same for oil paintings, giving his subjects garish colours and clownish features — the results are ghastly. This is possibly the most divided we've been within a single show.
Glenn Brown: Come to Dust at Gagosian, 20 Grosvenor Hill. Until 17 March 2018, free. ★★★☆☆ (Tuesday-Saturday)

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.

ROYAL TRAPPINGS: Charles I's collection has been brought back together after some of it was sold after his beheading. The collection includes beautiful works by master painters such as Titian, Rubens and Van Dyck. Given there is a Charles II exhibition at Queen's Gallery and many works from a similar era at The National Gallery, the acid test is what can this exhibition offer beyond those two. The standouts are nine massive works showing the triumphal parade of Caesar and some huge tapestries, but the rest is beautiful yet offers very little we haven't seen before. Other critics may be fawning over it, but we're lukewarm.
Charles I: King and Collector at Royal Academy of Arts. Until 15 April 2018, £20. ★★★☆☆

THAMES ON THAMES: A meticulously researched exhibition about the Thames, aptly situated in the terrace rooms of Somerset House that overlook it. The floors are covered with glorious old maps of the area we're standing in and there's a great photograph of a cross section through the Rotherhithe Tunnel as it was being constructed. Hawser uses this as inspiration to create a working vortex and a model of Bazalgette's sewers as sounds from the Thames Clipper play over the exhibition. The second half of this show links these ideas of water to blood circulation throughout the human body, though this section felt less effective than the Thames focused par.
Eloise Hawser: By the deep, by the mark at Somerset House, Terrace Rooms. Until 22 April 2018, free. ★★★☆☆