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Installation view of Takuro Kuwata, at Strange Clay: Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy the Hayward Gallery.
Installation view of Takuro Kuwata, at Strange Clay: Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy the Hayward Gallery.

Top 10 art exhibitions in London

Check out our critics’ picks of the ten best art shows coming up in the capital at some of the world’s best art galleries

Written by
Eddy Frankel
&
Time Out London Art
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This city is absolutely rammed full of amazing art galleries and museums. Want to see a priceless Monet? A Rothko masterpiece? An installation of little crumpled bits of paper? A video piece about the evils of capitalism? You can find it all right here in this city. London’s museums are all open as normal again, and the city’s independents are back in business. So here, we’ve got your next art outing sorted with the ten best shows you absolutely can’t miss. 

The ten best art exhibitions in London

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Fitzrovia

Ever wanted to become so entwined with someone that you become one person? Rats know all about that desire. There’s the cryptid myth of the Rat King, a mass of rats whose tails have become knotted together, creating one giant, many-headed, dreaded, inseparable (and dead) mega-rat. Now that’s love, that’s togetherness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Bankside

An ancient petrified forest has creaked forebodingly into life at Tate Modern. Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz’s huge, towering forms hover around you as you walk around this show of her work, enormous fabric sculptures that have emerged from some bog, and now hang in the dark, threatening to envelop and smother you. 

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Soho

Chris Killip might not be as well known as Martin Parr or have the cult kudos of Tony Ray-Jones, but the work he produced in the 1970s and ’80s arguably stands above either of them. Killip was born on the Isle of Man and returned there after quitting commercial photography in the early 1970s to concentrate on the communities he grew up amongst.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Finchley Road

Memories are hazy, foggy things. The mind twists its own images and narratives with the passage of time. Iraqi-born artist Mohammed Sami is trying to make sense of that fog in his work. The paintings here are re-worked, rehashed, re-cooked memories of life in war ravaged Iraq, of being co-opted to paint propaganda images, of fleeing, of life in a Swedish refugee camp.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Barbican

The Barbican Curve is full of ghosts, the spectres of bold, creative, amazing women from pre-revolution Iran, captured on fragile vellum in painstaking detail by Soheila Sokhanvari. These 28 cultural figures worked, created, lived and loved with a freedom that was taken away with the 1979 revolution, and still hasn’t been won back. 

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Chalk Farm

In video games, you can be whoever you want to be. By day, you might be Tim from accounts, but once you get home, you’re an ancient assassin, a Norse god, an orc or an elite Marine. You can create an avatar, you can choose a new body, a new nose, a new gender. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Millbank

A cheeky smile can get you pretty far in life, and even further in art. Just ask Mona Lisa, her semi-smirk has helped make her the most famous painting ever. That’s because that smile is enigmatic: we don’t know why it’s there or what it represents. English painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye pushes that idea – the enigma of the portrait – to an extreme.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Dulwich

‘Nationalism’ is a right can of worms, and the term ‘nationalist art’ should have all right-thinking people putting on their coats and hurrying to the bus stop. But to not appreciate the yearning for a country, language, people and culture to call your own is to miss a lot of the impact of this strange, intense and magical show.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • South Kensington

The V&A’s ambitious new exhibition is a triumphant attempt to complete the near-impossible task of capturing an entire continent through its fashion. Incorporating textiles, design and still and moving images, ‘Africa Fashion’ takes visitors on a compelling journey from the 1960s to the present day in a bid to reshape existing geographies and narratives of style.

 

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