London is one of the world’s great art cities and there’s always a fantastic choice of visual art exhibitions no matter when you visit. But in October, led by the annual art fair Frieze, the capital is bursting with art, often in unusual and exciting locations. It can be difficult to choose what to see so here are five highlights, most extending on past October.
1.LUX: New Wave of Contemporary Art ,180 Studios, 180 The Strand, London Until 18 December Tickets: £18/£13
Curated by SUUM, in collaboration with Fact and 180 Studios, LUX features captivating video art from twelve international artists, presented in the cavernous spaces of 180 the Strand. Showcasing thirteen large-scale installations, the exhibition features the UK premieres including: Renaissance Generative Dreams by Refik Anadol, a series of dynamic AI data paintings that have transformed Renaissance painting, sculpture, architecture, and literature into multi-dimensional art pieces; Hito Steyerl’s brilliant work of digital flowers generated by neural networks, This is the Future (first shown at the 2019 Venice biennale); Transfiguration by Universal Everything; and a’strict’s mesmerising multi-sensory depiction of waves crashing in Starry Beach.
2.Pollen Collective, Circle, 44 Great Russell Street London WC1B 3PA – until 16 October
Twenty-two, mostly mid-career, artists and writers formed a collective last year to collaborate and share ideas and have been showing in various temporary locations throughout London. Founded by ex-advertising creative Kate Lowe, the group has a studio in west London and pay an annual fee to belong to the collective but retain all sales of their own artworks. Their latest exhibition, Circle, involves all the members of the collective and is on show in a lovely historic Bloomsbury townhouse across from the British Museum. Collaboration is always at the forefront of the collective’s exhibitions and this show began with a poem by sent to two artists. The first two artists created something and forwarded their work to the next two, with each subsequent artist producing work inspired by the previous piece. The works include painting, photography, sculpture and poetry and it’s fascinating to see how the pieces have influenced each other. It will be interesting to see what this clever new collective does next.
3.Emanuel Unaji, paintings in three locations
Talented artist and fashion designer Emmanuel Unaji always has multiple projects on the go and this month, you can see his artwork in three exhibitions: The Hari hotel (until 1 November), Magistrates Association at D Contemporary Gallery (until 23 October) and at the law firm, Mayer Brown (until 20 October). His art combines fashion and fine art, where he cleverly deconstructs the images and identities that the media offer up to us. His collages take as his subjects fashion models, cultural and political icons, he explores the distance between the perception and reality and attempts to explore what lies beneath the images that we consume. Princess Diana and singer Joyce Bryant (often dubbed “the black Marilyn Monroe”) are two of his latest subjects.
4.Care, Contagion, Community at Autograph gallery, Rivington Street, EC2A Until 12 February 2022
Ten UK-based visual artists – Mohini Chandra, Poulomi Desai, Joy Gregory, Othello De’Souza-Hartley, Sonal Kantaria, Ope Lori, Dexter McLean, Karl Ohiri, Silvia Rosi and Aida Silvestri were commissioned to create new work responding to the wider contexts of Covid-19, looking closely at their immediate environments. Using primarily photography and video, the artists reflect both carefully and critically – and often very personally – on the impact of the pandemic, exploring ideas of loss, family, home, belonging and diaspora while considering different lived experiences and the inevitability of change.
5.Damien Hirst at Claridge’s ArtSpace
Claridge’s first permanent art space, an impressive two floor venue behind the hotel designed by John Pawson, has opened with a colorful collection of work by Damien Hirst entitled ‘Sunshine’, presented by HENI. The works are on show together for the very first time and include a series of the artist’s pipe cleaner animals and examples of his colour chart series.