Every six weeks, members of Art Basel’s Editorial team pick their favorite exhibitions across the globe. Here are eight shows not to miss this February.
Collaborative exhibition of 50 galleries in 23 spaces, London
Until February 17, 2024
Condo was launched in 2016 by a group of London-based gallerists interested in fostering a new model of collaboration. The idea was rather simple: Local galleries would invite peers from other cities and regions to stage exhibitions in their spaces, eventually offering colleagues from across the world an opportunity to showcase their program to a new audience. The concept proved to be a success, and grew in scope. Over the years, editions of Condo took place in Shanghai, New York, and Mexico City, among other cities, always with exciting participants. After a 3-year hiatus, the initiative returns to its birthplace, bringing together 50 galleries showing across 23 spaces in London.
Unexpected discoveries and pairings are what makes Condo such an exciting project. Sadie Coles HQ, for example, has invited Tokyo’s Kayokoyuki to present four Japanese artists from different generations, including Emi Otaguro, who uses chewing gum and quail eggs as materials. At greengrassi, visitors can discover the vibrant works of Iranian artists Haydeh Ayazi and Mostafa Sarabi, brought to London by Tehran’s Delgosha Gallery. At Project Native Informant, Seoul’s P21 presents a suite of humorous paintings and sculptures by Taewon Ahn depicting the adventures of a shapeshifting cat, while Vienna’s Gianni Manhattan chose to exhibit the phantasmagoric paintings of French artist Ibrahim Meïté Sikely, bridging philosophical musings and urban art elements. Seeing all the shows on view might be challenging, but that very challenge serves as a welcome reminder that the British capital’s gallery scene remains as resilient and creative as ever. K.C.
‘Jeffrey Gibson: DREAMING OF HOW IT’S MEANT TO BE’
Stephen Friedman, London
Until February 24, 2024
Brits won’t have to wait until the Venice Biennale to enjoy the work of Jeffrey Gibson. The Colorado-born, New York-based artist – whose American pavilion is one of the most eagerly awaited in this year’s edition – is kicking off 2024 with not one but two shows in the UK. Following his debut at London’s Stephen Friedman gallery, Gibson is set to unveil another solo show at the Sainsbury Center in Norwich, near England’s East Coast. Gibson’s unique blend of dayglow hues, paired with beadwork and leatherwork techniques inspired by his Choctaw-Cherokee heritage, are a tonic for the soul. Playful, tactile, poetic, and subtly political, his paintings and sculptures champion a sense of togetherness that has never felt more needed. C.M.
‘Nou ak sa n pa wè yo (Nous et les Invisibles)’
Shneider Léon Hilaire
Until March 16, 2024
Shneider Léon Hilaire’s paintings are a plunge into Haitian Vodou and folklore. The young painter’s work explores Haiti’s oral tradition via dark, ethereal paintings that reflect the island-nation’s myths, legends, and religious practices. In Hilaire’s dreamlike paintings, it seems beings don’t die: Instead, they become invisible and watch over the living. Creatures such as owls and turkeys are encountered in the night and ceremonies establish contact with spirits. The artist uses a limited palette, focusing on a faithful representation of night skies and working with shades of white to create spectral, transparent figures. J. A.
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles
Until February 17, 2024
What exactly happens during an out-of-body experience? Do our souls transcend, while our bodies linger in this world? The group exhibition ‘Disembodied’ attempts to explore this subject, presenting a diverse range of sophisticated works exuding ecstasy and sensuality. Isabelle Albuquerque’s series of bronze sculptures represent fragmented parts of eroticized bodies, Rae Klein’s eerie paintings portray candelabras, plates, cups, and flowers suspended in the sky – a floating feast – while Liang Fu’s canvases disrupt the conventional perception of time, capturing human faces in the transition between absence and presence. One risks getting lost in this parallel universe, but is guided through darkness and the unknown by the wise visions of these artists. P.S.
Haus am Waldsee, Berlin
Until May 5
Expressing serious research through scripted films made with the aesthetics of pop cultural phenomena, American artist Jenna Bliss offers incisive explorations of historic events from differing perspectives. For this exhibition – the artist’s first solo institutional show in Germany – the focus is on New York City, specifically through works dealing with 9/11 and the 2008 financial crash. In the eight-channel video work Professional Witnesses (2021), eight actors recall their ‘experiences’ of 9/11, following scripts Bliss wrote based on existing accounts of the morning from various archives and sources. With a style reminiscent of Errol Morris fused with retail ads of the early aughts, the work is simultaneously sobering and humorous, offering various points of view on the tragic day. True Entertainment (2023), meanwhile, is a critically humorous take on both the art world and economic crisis: at 30 minutes long, it takes the shape of a reality TV episode set within a booth at “the world’s most prestigious art fair” in 2007. E.M.
‘Chéri Samba, in the collection of Jean Pigozzi’
Musée Maillol, Paris
Until April 7, 2024
A retrospective of Congolese painter Chéri Samba, covering 40 years of his work, presents over 50 paintings from the Jean Pigozzi collection. With bold strokes, vivid colors, and sometimes even glitter, Samba brings to life satirical canvases that only seem naïve. Racism in the art world, child soldiers, epidemics, imperialism, confinement, and climate change are just some of the subjects addressed by the artist in his radiant paintings. Another feature of Samba’s work is the inclusion of text, a habit he retained from his past as a comic-book author and street artist. J.A.
‘Aria Dean: Abattoir’
Institute of Contemporary Art, London
February 8 to May 5, 2024
How much killing must go on to prop up the status quo? What invisible arrangements enable dominion, and who falls foul of the established order? The New York-based writer and artist Aria Dean probes these questions with forensic ferocity in ‘Abattoir’. Centered on an immersive film installation, the show homes in on the structures that facilitate subjugation and systemic violence against minorities in general and Black people in particular, in the US and beyond. Generated using the gaming software Unreal Engine, the film installation Abattoir, U.S.A.! (2023) takes viewers into the bowels of a fictional killing machine, flooded with the blood of its unseen victims. While Dean has garnered much critical acclaim across the Atlantic, she was yet to make a significant outing in the UK. Abattoir, U.S.A!, commissioned by The Renaissance Society in Chicago, will no doubt soon be considered a milestone in the trajectory of an artist with a stellar career ahead of her. C.M.
‘VALIE EXPORT: Retrospective’
C/O Berlin, Berlin
Until May 22, 2024
Amidst the postwar ennui of late-1960s Austria, VALIE EXPORT appeared in public space in crotchless pants, walked fellow artist Peter Weibel through the streets of Vienna on a leash like a dog, and otherwise provoked Austrian society’s conservative status quo. This retrospective pays tribute to the artist’s provocative filmmaking, photography, installations, drawings, performance, and media-based work (including her ideas of ‘expanded cinema’), showing pieces made from 1966 to 2009. Focused on the importance of photography to her practice, the exhibition also underscores the continued relevance of EXPORT’s groundbreaking, feminist, socio-critical stance. K.B.
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