Culture Fix: 6 Essential Autumn Exhibitions
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Gosh darn there are a lot of exhibitions vying for your attention all of a sudden. And, despite how you might sometimes feel, there's only one of you. This edition picks out six major art shows around town that we think you ought to get to or, at the very least, you ought to give the impression you're going to see. It's autumn and here's some art!
Sometimes what we’re after is a show with an immediate impact on the ol’ senses, and that’s exactly what this is: big sculptures that look to alter, disrupt, or fuck with our sense of space. Featuring Anish Kapoor, Yayoi Kusama and Larry Bell, 20 artists put their slippery creations amongst the brutalist surrounds of Hayward Gallery: optical illusions that are technically dope but also playful and enjoyable to look at.
Taking the piss out of society is such a fundamental part of the contemporary artistic process that it’s a wonder it hasn’t already been made into a compulsory module over at Slade. At this free show at Saatchi, the references to Charlie Brooker’s eponymous dystopian masterpiece aren’t particularly overt (no pig shagging here); instead there's a focus on 26 artists who challenge power structures and visualise political unrest in a wry, satirical manner.
Set in the brand new Science Gallery, this show takes a considered look into the stigmas surrounding addiction and recovery, bringing together artists and scientists with people who have lived to tell their tales of addiction. The films and installations on display are powerful reminders that addiction can affect us all, and we reckon watching Rachel Maclean’s terrifying pastel coloured pieces about technology’s grip on our psyches will give you a deeper insight into why you look at your phone so obsessively (refreshing Dojo for new content is fine though).
After 2016's breathtaking Infinite Mix, and 2017's significantly less breathtaking Everything at Once, the vast brutalist space at The Store is once again bringing an autumn audio-visual bonanza to their concrete labyrinth. This time they're partnering with one of America's hottest institutions, New Museum, who are presenting the works of 21 radical filmmakers and video artists.
Their aim, in case you're interested, is to 'weave images and sounds into polyphonic, dreamlike compositions, blending the present with memories of the past and premonitions of the future'. And we rather like the sound of that kind of engrossing escapism. This should be a pretty captivating way to spend a couple of hours.
Food, drink, exercise, sleep, codeine - we’ve gradually learnt that these things all have an impact on our health. Well it’s time to add buildings to the enigmatic equilibrium of good living. This major show examines the positive and negative influence the built environment has on our physical and mental health.
As ever with the Wellcome Collection, they go in deep with the research, travelling from the slums of 19th-century London to the bold experiments of postwar urban planners, to therapeutic spaces for people affected by cancer. It’s a fresh take on what a building is capable of, featuring art works alongside installations and design.
The abandoned pool at the Whitechapel Gallery tells the story of a formerly beautiful civic space slowly falling into disrepair under Thatcherite government fuckery. The empty carcass represents the lost dreams of a generation, now being reverted back to its former glory as part of a redevelopment of private luxury flats.
This fictional story might have been devised by Elmgreen and Dragset - the finest Scandinavian duo since Alphabeat - but set in a rapidly gentrifying Whitechapel, this tale is all too real. Expect this playfully deep insight from the artists to continue across three galleries in which sculptures tackle social and sexual politics, and the invisible power structures embedded in designs all around us.