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Tesfaye Urgessa

Spring Awakening: London’s Best Exhibitions on View Now at Pilar Corrias, White Cube, and More

London’s spring exhibitions offer a rich tapestry of artistic expression, each show presenting a unique perspective on contemporary issues and timeless themes.

Spring has always been synonymous with renewal, growth, and vibrant displays of life. London’s art scene mirrors this natural cycle, offering a plethora of exhibitions that challenge, inspire, and provoke. This season, five standout shows capture the essence of contemporary creativity and the ever-evolving discourse of art. From the futuristic visions at Pilar Corrias to the introspective reflections at Saatchi Yates, here’s an in-depth look at London’s Best Exhibitions this spring.

Lina Iris Viktor: Solar Angels & Lunar Lords

Pilar Corrias 

Lina Iris Viktor Pilar Corrias Gallery presents Lina Iris Viktor’s solo exhibition “Solar Angels and Luna Lords.”

June 5—July 13, 2024

51 Conduit Street, London W1S 2YT, United Kingdom

Pilar Corrias Gallery presents Lina Iris Viktor’s solo exhibition “Solar Angels and Luna Lords,” a golden glistening show featuring Viktor’s latest pieces including paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. Meshing together West African artistic cultures of the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Benin with contemporary Modernist African influences, Viktor’s latest collection seamlessly incorporates her heritage with her refined artistic sensibility. This exhibition is a testament to the gallery’s commitment to cutting-edge, forward-thinking art.

Viktor’s consistent usage of gold in her pieces contrasts with her less immortal black and white textiles, generating a broader image of light versus darkness. With this juxtaposition, each piece achieves a timeless quality that greets viewers with an ethereal sense of sacredness intertwined with a distinctly modern perspective. Viktor’s pieces are not only visually alluring but also conceptually rich, as they prompt introspection about viewers’ own places in the world.

What we loved: As Viktor’s first solo show at Pilar Corrias, the exhibit features all new works that depict her gilded journey of artistic experimentation.

Tesfaye Urgessa

Saatchi Yates

Tesfaye Urgessa Tesfaye Urgessa, “Zahlen und Daten 1,” 2024, oil on canvas, 199 x 179.5 cm, courtesy of the artist and Saatchi Yates.

May 1–June 16

14 Bury Street, St. James’s, London SW1A 1HA, United Kingdom

At Saatchi Yates, Tesfaye Urgessa’s solo exhibition provides a powerful, introspective journey into identity, heritage, and the human condition. Urgessa, an Ethiopian-born artist, creates works that are deeply personal yet universally resonant.

Urgessa’s paintings are characterized by their vivid colors and abstracted human forms, which often convey a sense of movement and emotion. His work is a dialogue between his Ethiopian roots and his experiences in the West, blending traditional African art motifs with contemporary European styles. This hybridity is evident in pieces like “The Last Supper,” where the familiar biblical scene is reimagined through the lens of Ethiopian iconography and modernist abstraction.

The exhibition is a profound exploration of cultural duality and the artist’s quest for identity in a globalized world. Urgessa’s use of bold, expressive brushstrokes and layered textures invites viewers to delve into the complex narratives embedded within each canvas. His art does not offer easy answers but rather encourages contemplation and self-reflection.

What we loved: This self-titled exhibition aligns with Urgessa’s representation of Ethiopia in its inaugural installment at La Biennale di Venezia 2024, highlighting how his work grapples with his personal culture and the politics of identity.

The Secret Life of Plants

The Gallery of Everything

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, “Untitled,” c. 1947, clay, paint, 8.9 x 8.9 x 3.8 cm, courtesy of Gallery of Everything.

May 12—July 7, 2024

4 Chiltern Street, London W1U 7PS, United Kingdom

“The Secret Life of Plants” at The Gallery of Everything is a whimsical, thought-provoking group exhibition that celebrates the unseen and often overlooked aspects of the plant kingdom. This show is a delightful blend of science, art, and mysticism, featuring works that range from botanical illustrations to fantastical sculptures.

One of the highlights is a series of intricate drawings that reveal the microscopic beauty of plant cells. These works, created by a contemporary artist with a background in botanical science, are both educational and aesthetically pleasing. They remind us of the complex inner lives of plants and their crucial role in the ecosystem.

Another fascinating piece is a kinetic sculpture that mimics the movement of plants responding to sunlight. This installation uses light sensors and motors to create a lifelike dance of metal leaves and stems, offering a mechanical interpretation of natural processes. It’s a poetic reflection on the interplay between nature and technology, highlighting the ingenuity of plants and their ability to adapt and thrive.

What we loved: The exhibition’s name is drawn from the 1973 text The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, who explored the potentially spiritual relationship between plants and humans–a theme that is similarly explored in these five artists’ works.

Georg Baselitz: A Confession of my Sins

White Cube

Georg Baselitz Georg Baselitz, “Jenseits Peddigrohrsofa in Wellenform Artauds Schlafzimmer (Beyond the Rattan Sofa in Wave Form,” 2023, courtesy of the artist and White Cube.

April 10—June 16, 2024

144–152 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TQ, United Kingdom

White Cube’s presentation of Georg Baselitz’s “A Confession of my Sins” is a masterclass in the power of contemporary painting. Baselitz, a towering figure in the art world, is known for his bold, expressive style and his ability to convey raw emotion through his work.

This exhibition focuses on his recent paintings, which continue to push the boundaries of form and content. Baselitz’s signature technique of inverting his subjects challenges viewers to see the world from a different perspective, both literally and metaphorically. His works are rich with symbolism and often draw from historical and cultural references, creating a dialogue between past and present.

One of the standout pieces is a large-scale painting that features a fragmented human figure rendered in vibrant, almost aggressive brushstrokes. The inversion of the figure adds a layer of complexity, forcing the viewer to engage with the painting on a deeper level. Baselitz’s use of color and texture is masterful, conveying a sense of movement and emotional intensity that is both captivating and unsettling.

What we loved: In some of his featured paintings, Baselitz explores depicting himself and his wife on the canvas, a newer focus that has become a foundational aspect of his latest productions.

Eric Oglander: Do Nothing Machine

Bernheim Gallery

Eric Oglander Installation view of Bernheim Gallery’s “Do Nothing Machine” by artist Eric Oglander.

April 5—July 5, 2024

1 New Burlington Street, London W1S 2JF, United Kingdom

Finally, the Bernheim Gallery’s “Do Nothing Machine” by artist Eric Oglander offers a refreshing departure from the hustle and bustle of modern life. This exhibition is an exploration of idleness and the concept of doing nothing as an art form. It’s a thought-provoking commentary on our productivity-obsessed culture and a celebration of the beauty of stillness.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is a large, mechanical contraption that serves no practical purpose other than to exist. This “Do Nothing Machine” is a whimsical, Rube Goldberg-like device that performs a series of pointless actions, delighting viewers with its absurdity. It’s a playful yet profound reminder of the value of slowing down and appreciating the moment.

Accompanying this machine are a series of minimalist sculptures and meditative paintings that encourage contemplation and relaxation. Oglander’s works create a serene environment that contrasts sharply with the frenetic pace of the outside world, offering a sanctuary for reflection and introspection.

What we loved: Oglander’s first Bernheim show also marks his first presentation of his sculpture in London.

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