Art To See During The Holidays: The London Edition

There are plenty of reasons you might be stuck in London this Christmas: whether you’re a local or you have just missed your flight to get home in time for the holidays, here are some art shows that might cheer you up and give you a little inspiration this holiday!


© Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Photo: Jack Hems

© Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Photo: Jack Hems

Anni Albers in her weaving studio in Black Mountain College, 1937. Photo by Helen M. Post Modley. Courtesy of Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

Anni Albers in her weaving studio in Black Mountain College, 1937. Photo by Helen M. Post Modley. Courtesy of Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

If you live in the city, you might have heard of … Tate Modern. The Anni Albers exhibition is still showing until the end of January and it is absolutely worth seeing it, whether you are into weaving art or not; it is a great piece of history for design women. If you’re looking for a free entry show, head over to the Jenny Holzer artist room for a dive into contemporary political art.

Yim Sui-Fong,  Blackbird Island  , 2017, HD Video, sound, colour. Courtesy the artist

Yim Sui-Fong, Blackbird Island , 2017, HD Video, sound, colour. Courtesy the artist

If you’re more keen to visit the East area of London, don’t miss the new exhibition Musa paradisiaca, Yim Sui-Fong, Le Xuan Tien at Whitechapel Gallery. Selected by Artists’ Film International, the three clips combine sound and moving image to pinpoint different situations. Musa paradisiaca is a collaborative duo named after a hybrid banana species. Their film, Masters of Velocity (2017), looks at objects and their environments, utilising dialogue and music to imagine how ‘a chain of events breeds moving thought’.
In Black Bird Island (2017) Yim Sui-Fong (b. 1983, China) observes the pigeon colonies of Hong Kong following the 1997 handover of the island from Britain to China, linking the history of the birds and Hong Kongers through ‘bird’s eye’ and ‘people’s eye’ views. Le Xuan Tien (b. 1995, Vietnam) sources videos and images from the less visible edges of the internet in Untitled.mp4 (2017) to construct a montage of sometimes disturbing and surreal scenarios that may or may not have taken place.

(L) Anonymous, Hans Arp with Nabel-Monokel, 1922 (R) Nic Aluf, Sophie Taeuber-Arp with Dada Head, 1920. Credit: (L) © Stiftung Arp e.V., Berlin/Rolandswerth. DACS 2018. Image courtesy Galerie Berinson, Berlin. (R) Siftung Arp e.V., Berlin/Rolandswerth

(L) Anonymous, Hans Arp with Nabel-Monokel, 1922 (R) Nic Aluf, Sophie Taeuber-Arp with Dada Head, 1920. Credit: (L) © Stiftung Arp e.V., Berlin/Rolandswerth. DACS 2018. Image courtesy Galerie Berinson, Berlin. (R) Siftung Arp e.V., Berlin/Rolandswerth

Showing until the end of January, Modern Couples at Barbican is a must-do, perfect for a couple day-date or if you want to dig more into the history of renowned art couples like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The exhibition explores relationships across the creative industries: photography, sculpture, paintings and so on. Tip: give yourself a couple of hours at least as it is a lengthy one.

© Martin Creed, All rights reserved, DACS 2018

© Martin Creed, All rights reserved, DACS 2018

Martin Creed is showing at Hauser & Wirth until 9 February and if you have seen work by him before you know you’re in for a good one. His new exhibition Toast includes new sculpture, painting, drawing, tapestry, video, live action and music. Creed has become known for hugely varied work which is by turns uncompromising, entertaining, shocking and beautiful.

© Maureen Paley, London 2018

© Maureen Paley, London 2018

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You might want to take this holiday time to visit some of the galleries that have been pioneers in the London art scene. Maureen Paley, one of the first to present contemporary art in London’s East End, is currently showing the first exhibition by Filipe Baeza: the work presented at the gallery explores ideas surrounding his interest in migration, queerness, and anthropology through the use of both collage and printmaking.

© 2018 WHITE CUBE

© 2018 WHITE CUBE

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Lastly, a bit of a playful one: Time Will Tell by Darren Almond at White Cube Bermondsey. Focusing on the idea of time and how it is articulated through the language of numbers, he draws attention to the way time can frame, structure and inform our understanding of the world. Consisting of a grid formed from rectangular panels, the paintings depict fragmented digits in a utilitarian font, such as are found in the urban landscape – typically in and around transport hubs, in their signage, timetables and clocks. The compositions become a field of partial forms that appear to float across the surface of the paintings, emerging and disappearing.