Happiness isn’t hip. We like tortured artists, not happy ones. Think of the countless millions of sad songs about loneliness, heartbreak and misery. Then think of the happy ones. It’s ‘Walking on Sunshine’ and that’s it. Well, the Wellcome Collection doesn’t care, it absolutely loves Katrina and the Waves, and its new shows are all about happiness. ‘Tranquility’ comes first and you’re immediately confronted by Jasleen Kaur’s yoga-critical installation made of giant crystals and palo santo, taking aim at the exploitative, culturally insensitive practices of the wellness industry. It’s followed by old Taoist, Buddhist and German images of quiet, contemplative isolation, and sci fi master Octavia E Butler’s notes to self, filled with pleas of empowerment, before you find a thirteenth century book about centering the body that reads like it’s straight out of a 2018 juice bar. You then get to sit silently in Chrystel Lebas’ immersive installation of photographs of ancient forests as the sound of a river burbles by. It’s forest bathing as photography. It’s calm, tranquil, but you can’t help thinking: do we really need an artist’s recreation of a forest when we can just, you know, go to a forest? Upstairs, the ‘Joy’ exhibition tackles ideas of ecstatic happiness. Harold Offeh’s dancers in yellow are isolated but trying to lose themselves. David Shrigley does his usual wry, sardonic thing with drawings of rants and skulls and thumbs. Then there are ancient illustrations of whirling
Don't let your cash flow, or lack of it, get in the way of having a banging weekend. Read our guide to free things to do in London this weekend and you can make sure that your Friday, Saturday and Sunday go off with a bang, without eating up your bucks. After all, the best things in life are free.
If that's whetted your appetite for events and cultural happenings in London, get planning further ahead by having a gander over our events calendar.
RECOMMENDED: Save even more dosh by taking a look at our guide to cheap London.