5 Exhibitions to See in October

By Kate Perutz

With a wealth of excellent exhibitions on offer this month, we pick 5 we don't want you to miss.

Sublime Smoke

Lisa Oppenheim and John Stezaker

The Annexe at The Approach

Sun 1 October – Sun 5 November 2017

Lisa Oppenheim and John Stezaker, Sublime Smoke at The Approach, 2017. Installation view. Courtesy The Approach.

Including the photographic works of John Stezaker and Lisa Oppenheim, the title, Sublime Smoke, combines the titles of the two series featured by Stezaker and Oppenheim. Stezaker’s Sublime series was made in the early 1980s using closely cropped found images of the smoke issuing from steam trains. Oppenheim’s Smoke series, begun more recently in 2013, comprises found imagery of explosions which, like Stezaker’s works, have been cropped to only show the smoke without its source. Her works have then further been inverted into positives during the printing process. The juxtaposition of these two formally similar series should evoke interesting discussions around industrialisation, source material and image making itself.

Read more: theapproach.co.uk


John Akomfrah

The Curve, Barbican Centre

Fri 6 October 2017 –  Sun 7 January 2018

John Akomfrah, still frame from Purple, 2017. Six screen film installation. © Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Lisson Gallery.

Winner of this year’s Artes Mundi prize, John Akomfrah, presents his largest installation to date in The Curve at Barbican. Marking the second installation in a quartet of films, Purple is an immersive six-channel video installation that combines hundreds of hours of footage shot across a variety of landscapes to create a meditation on the relationship between humans and the planet. The resulting film seeks to contemplate life in the Anthropocene era. 

Read more: barbican.org.uk

Cosey Fanni Tutti

Cabinet Gallery

Fri 22 September – Sat 4 November

Cosey Fanni Tutti at Cabinet Gallery, 2017. Installation view. Courtesy the Artist and Cabinet, London'

Cosey Fanni Tutti’s show at Cabinet Gallery explores the complex relationships between sex, commodity, labour and art. Two series are on show The Szabo, 2017, and Throbbing Gristle, Partner, Vol. 1, No. 9, February 1980, 1980. This pairing offers plenty of room for dialogue to emerge, particularly regarding the evolution of feminist discourse. If you fancy a bit of context before you head to the show you can check out the artist’s recently published autobiography, Art Sex Music.

 Read more: cabinet.uk.com

Natural Selection

Andy Holden & Peter Holden

Artangel and Former Newington Library

10 September – 5 November 2017

Andy Holden & Peter Holden, Natural Selection, 2017. An Artangel commission. Installation view. Photo: Marcus J. Leith.

Birds abound in this latest Artangel exhibition by artist Andy Holden and his ornithologist father, Peter Holden. The show includes video work, archival material, a selection of Peter Holden’s nest collection and a large nest-like sculpture, all of which act as metaphors to provide ways of exploring questions of class, collecting and nostalgia. The venue, the former Newington Library, is of particular interest too, it was destroyed by a fire in 2013 and is playing temporary host to arts organisations while its fate is decided. 

Read more: artangel.org.uk

Wil Murray

The Onlyes Power is No Power

Vitrine Gallery

Tues 3 October – Tues 2 January 2018 

Wil Murray, THE ONLYES POWER IS NO POWER, at VITRINE, 2017. Installation view. VITRINE, London.

Wil Murray presents a new series of large-scale prints, in Vitrine's Bermondsey Square space, which has been transformed to act as a large-scale camera. The works exhibited are a marriage of painting and photography achieved through double exposures and the application of paint directly onto negatives. This process is then mirrored by the application of black paint strokes onto the windows of the space, creating shadows that play against the works as the sun moves across them throughout the course of the day. The works are based on landscape photographs of Canada and the artist’s research into seemingly disparate narratives - Japanese bombing and a traveling circus in the area - that are brought together by their links to WWII.

Read more: vitrinegallery.com

Kate Perutz is Head of Operations for Artworks London.

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