Free art in London

See great free art in London without splashing the cash on an admission fee
By Time Out London Art |
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Looking at great art needn't cost the same as buying great art. With a shed-load of free art exhibitions in London, wandering through sculptures, being blinded by neon or admiring some of the best photography in London needn't cost a penny. Here's our pick of the best free art exhibitions this week and beyond.

RECOMMENDED: explore our full guide to free London

Free art exhibitions in London

Courtesy the artist. Commissioned by Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art. Photo: Mark Blower.
Art

Kris Lemsalu: 4LIFE

icon-location-pin Goldsmiths CCA, New Cross
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Kris Lemsalu has converted this gallery into a little shop of psychedelic horrors. It’s filled with bodies caught in the middle of mutating, metamorphosing and transmogrifiying into bizarre, twisted new shapes. The Estonian artist combines glistening ceramics and intricate fabrics into shocking tableaux. 

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courtesy of the artist and LUNGLEY Gallery
Art, Contemporary art

Michael Pybus: Soft Play

icon-location-pin Lungley Gallery, Trafalgar Square
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Michael Pybus has had enough of the internet. The liking, the fav-ing, the selfies, the retweets, the anger, the call-outs and the witch-hunts. He’s sick of it. This show is a reaction to all of that, and it’s a sucker punch. 

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Christine Ay Tjoe 'The Comrade' (2018) © the artist. Photo © White Cube (Theo Christelis)
Art

Christine Ay Tjoe

icon-location-pin White Cube Bermondsey, The Borough
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In the past, Christine Ay Tjoe’s artworks have often been notable for their use of wine-stain reds and sugar-mice pinks. This new series of paintings and drypoint etchings at White Cube goes in an entirely different direction, almost exclusively relying on black and dark brown. The resulting images look like they’re made from old tobacco stains or flakes of crumbling, burnt wood. 

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'Portrait, Martin Creed'. Image courtesy of Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Hugo Glendinning
Art

Martin Creed

icon-location-pin Hauser & Wirth, Mayfair
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Martin Creed operates in binary. Everything is either one thing or another. Like his Turner Prize-winning installation ‘Work No. 227: The Lights Going On and Off’: it’s just some lights, you know, going on, and then off. You can read all the nauseating waffle you want into that, but really, it’s just a light going on and off. And that’s a good thing. His art is at its best when it does one thing simply, dumbly, directly, when you look at it and get the punchline.

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Chiharu Shiota, Me Somewhere Else, 2018, Installation view, Courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern, Photo Peter Mallet (5)
Art

Chiharu Shiota: Me Somewhere Else

icon-location-pin Blainsouthern, Mayfair
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When the internet first became popular, people sometimes referred to it as the ‘world wide web’. The ‘www’ bit emphasised how this technology linked together companies and communication across the globe, creating a lacy doily of virtual threads. For her latest exhibition, ‘Me Somewhere Else’, artist Chiharu Shiota has created the human, non-digitised version of that early utopian world wide web, a complex and beautiful series of artworks based on our connections to each other and to all the pre-internet parts of this planet.

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Copyright the artist, courtesy Carlos/Ishikawa
Art, Contemporary art

Korakrit Arunanondchai

icon-location-pin Carlos/Ishikawa, Stepney
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A glowing rock garden throbs and pulsates with green light, shooting lasers across the room. Surrounding the rockery, three screens show images of a retirement home, those Thai boys rescued from that cave and a bunch of wackos engaging in some kind of laser rave séance as an androgynous nude cyborg shoots light out of its mouth. It’s a little nuts, a little ridiculous, but very, very good. 

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Rachel Maclean 'The Queen' (2013) © Rachel Maclean
Art

Rachel Maclean: The Lion and The Unicorn

icon-location-pin National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
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The Scottish independence referendum of 2014 was a nexus point where all of our bizarre inter-national consternation came to the fore. Its fraught lead-up was also the inspiration for Scottish artist Rachel Maclean’s 2012 film, ‘The Lion and the Unicorn' and the series of images on display here. The whole show is a beautifully costumed, perfectly surreal and ultra-sardonic takedown of the Anglo-Scottish relationship.

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Photo : Philippe Servent. Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London · Paris · Salzburg © Robert Rauschenberg/DACS
Art

Robert Rauschenberg: Spreads 1975-83

icon-location-pin Thaddaeus Ropac, Mayfair
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Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) was a man of a million ideas. He managed to be at the forefront of pop, conceptualism, performance art, and any other important twentieth century movement you can think of – and he became one of the most important artists of the past hundred years in the process. Sure makes you think about how proud you were of yourself for filling in that budget spreadsheet on time this month, huh? 

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© National Galleries of Scotland
Art

Landseer's The Monarch of the Glen

icon-location-pin National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
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Some paintings become bigger than themselves. Not many, admittedly. But a tiny minority slip out of the frame, drip off the canvas and enter public consciousness. Most paintings are things you see on a wall somewhere, and that’s all they are. But paintings like Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, the ‘Mona Lisa’ or Warhol’s ‘Soup Cans’ end up on tea towels and pencil cases, they get used in films, referenced in poetry, worn on T-shirts and they becoming cultural commodities way beyond works of art.

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Bojan Šarčević, AHTParis250/Differentcorner, detail, 2018, freezer, ice, audio. © Bojan Šarčević. Courtesy: the artist & Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London
Art

Bojan Šarčević: Sentimentality is the Core

icon-location-pin Modern Art, Globe Town
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Defrosting the freezer is topped as an undesirable household chore only by ‘unblocking the plughole’ and ‘eliminating black mould’. But with Bojan Šarčević’s installations, the eventual removal of huge chunks of ice from a set of freezers will probably be worth it. Using farmed ice crystals, the Belgrade-born artist has filled the industrial units with a mass of solid white frost that, thanks to the humidity of the gallery, with continue to grow throughout the exhibition’s run.

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