Art in the Diaspora

5 Exhibitions To See During Frieze Week

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Frieze Week is the time of the year in the cultural calendar when the Frieze fairs take place in London, New York and Los Angeles. It includes gallery and museum exhibitions as well as institution show openings and other associated events. Frieze Week also features a companion publication that celebrates the richness of the Frieze Art Fairs, and the concurrent cultural events that take place simultaneously across the city. 

While London consistently offers a world-class array of exhibitions throughout the year, it truly shines during Frieze Week each autumn when art enthusiasts flock to the city from around the world. This season, there seems to be an emphasis on solo exhibitions, showcasing both emerging talents and seasoned veterans. Here are a list of 5 exhibitions to look forward to during Frieze Week;

El Anatsui’s Hyundai Commission (October 10, 2023—April 14, 2024)

One of the most anticipated events during Frieze week is the annual Hyundai commission at the Tate Modern. This is because the commission is kept a secret until its grand unveiling during the busiest week in October in the art world. This is exciting because filling the Turbine Hall with a cohesive, intelligent art installation is no small feat. However, Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, who is renowned for his enormous, shimmering artworks made from recycled materials, which are often installed without specific instructions, in creative collaboration with his hosts is set to take over the Turbine Hall. 

Image courtesy of Ofoe Amegavie

Presence by Claudette Johnson (September 29, 2023 – January 14 2024)

Claudette Johnson, a key figure in the Black British Arts Movement, which emerged in the 1980s as part of the BLK Art Group is debuting her first solo exhibition at The Courtauld Gallery, a major public gallery in London. This is a significant moment because the exhibition raises important questions about the role of Black artists within the British art establishment. In her aspiration to tell a different story about black presence in the country, Johnson’s large-scale drawings depict friends, family, as well as herself, using pose, gaze, color, and scale to create a soft yet powerful impact. The exhibition is open from.

Standing Figure with African Masks, 2018, Image courtesy of Tate.

Frank Walter: “Artist, Gardener, Radical“ (October 4, 2023 – February 25, 2024)

Those looking to escape London’s gloomy skies can find solace in the vibrant landscapes of Antiguan artist Frank Walter. This exhibition at the Garden Museum features over 100 of Walter’s paintings and sculptures, created later in his life when he dedicated himself to his creative endeavors until he passed on in 2009. These artworks are used by the museum to explore the artist’s environmental and social activism. Apart from his artistic endeavors, Walter made history as the first Black man to manage a sugar plantation in Antigua and authored political manifestos advocating for progressive policies, including police training and support for small farms and fisheries.

Man Climbing a Coconut Palm and View of Red Canoe and Boat in Harbour, Undated, Image courtesy of Frank Walter Family and Kenneth M. Milton Fine Art.

Soft ground by Trevor Yeung (September 28, 2023 – December 18, 2023)

“Soft ground” Trevor Yeung’s first solo show in the U.K. is an immersive experience that demands your complete attention and engages all your senses. This exhibition was inspired by Yeung’s research on London’s gay cruising areas during his residency at Delfina Foundation. The dimly lit gallery space offers a gateway into the social and emotional complexities of this hidden cultural phenomenon. From scents that could trigger memories of past lovers, familiar sounds, or the sight of a large tree trunk, reminiscent of the notorious one in Hampstead Heath, known for embodying sexual desires, this body of work was crafted to be savored.

“Soft ground” research image, 2022–23, Image courtesy of the artist.

Hiroshi Sugimoto (October 11, 2023 – January 7, 2024)

The Japanese artist and architect Hiroshi Sugimoto is renowned for his photography, despite recent attention for adding his 69-feet-tall “Point of Infinity” installation to the San Francisco skyline. His photographs, predominantly black-and-white works, are currently showing at the Hayward Gallery. His subjects range from lifelike wax figurines to modernist architecture, lightning, old-school cinemas, seascapes, and the serene aura of Buddha statues adorning a 12th-century temple in Kyoto.

Lightning Fields 225, 2009, Image courtesy of Sugimoto Studio.
Author

Joy Adeboye is a creative writer and visual storyteller. She is a graduate of the Department of English and Literary Studies at Obafemi Awolowo University. She is currently a Writer for Art News Africa.

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