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IK Prize 2015 | Sensorium, Tate Britian, 24/08/2015 | Courtesy of Tate Britain
IK Prize 2015 | Sensorium, Tate Britian, 24/08/2015 | Courtesy of Tate Britain

The Best UK Exhibitions Of 2015

Picture of Danielle Wood
Updated: 24 April 2017
Can you believe 2015 is drawing to an end and London has turned on their Christmas lights? Neither can we. The Culture Trip believes that ’tis the season to reflect and rejoice over the best art exhibitions that have graced our city this year; without further ado, here are our favourites.

 

Tate Sensorium

Tate Sensorium was a riveting experience of sensory art. Galleries are inherently visual but the brain understands the world by collecting what it receives from all five senses. In a bid to change the way we ‘see’ art, the Tate Sensorium exhibition took four of the Tate’s featured 20th century British paintings to propel the visitors experience of sounds, tastes and smells by reviewing and recording their physiological reactions to the immersive display. Francis Bacon Figure in a Landscape, David Bomberg In The Hold, John Latham Full Stop and Richard Hamilton Interior II were the four collectable works which encouraged us to interpret art from a technological stance.

IK Prize 2015 | Sensorium, Tate Britian, 24/08/2015 | Courtesy of Tate Britain

IK Prize 2015 | Sensorium, Tate Britian, 24/08/2015 | Courtesy of Tate Britain

Human Rights Human Wrongs

In Spring we were captured by the significance of Human Rights Human Wrongs featured at The Photographers’ Gallery. Image after image allowed us to cast our minds to understanding the severity of human rights through the gallery’s 200 original press prints, drawn from the Black Star collection of 20th-century photo reportage. The photographs on display raised awareness to the historical aspect of international conflict dating from 1945 to the early 1990s. Images of major political upheavals, war and struggles against racism were apparent throughout the photographic exhibition. Human Rights Human Wrongs was a harrowing look at humanity’s dark side and its cause for concern. Highlights of the exhibition were photographs of the acclaimed movement events, such as Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, along with a selection of portraits of Nobel Peace Prize winners.

 

Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal

In the words of Yves Saint Laurent, ‘Fashion fades, style is eternal’. For the fashionistas amongst us, the Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal exhibition was the first retrospective of its kind to hit British soilA collaboration between The Bowes Museum and the Foundation Pierre Berge, Yves Saint Laurent was a display of the French fashion designer’s work and life; his vision and significant influence defined the way we understand women’s wardrobe. On display were 50 garments including iconic pieces from the Russian collection, the Mondrian dresses and Tuxedo. His timeless collections became the extravagant dialogue of the exhibition while exploring themes from art, lace, transparency, and ,asculine-feminine. The creative career of YSL spans different eras and styles, abundantly demonstrating his fashion intellect and diversity.

 

Ai Weiwei

The bold visionary Ai Weiwei houses some of his most important works at The Royal Academy of Arts this Autumn until the 13th of December. Curated in collaboration with Ai Weiwei from his Beijing studio, the RA displays new works created specifically for their galleries, and a construction of a large-scale installation appearing in their courtyard. The Chinese master of art showcases pieces from 1993 to present. In his innovative style, Ai Weiwei explores a number of challenging themes: creative freedom, censorship, human rights and contemporary Chinese art and society. We first fell head over heels for China’s greatest export Ai Weiwei’s works at the Tate Modern in 2010; since then we have followed his illustrious career. We were awestruck by his latest London endeavour.

Ai Weiwei, Straight, 2008-12 | Steel Reinforcing Bars | Lisson Gallery, London | Image courtesy of Ai Weiwei (c) Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei, Straight, 2008-12 | Steel Reinforcing Bars | Lisson Gallery, London | Image courtesy of Ai Weiwei (c) Ai Weiwei

Revealed

Curated by Pablo Picasso’s grandson, Oliver Widmaier Picasso, Revealed was an exhibition of behind-the-scenes photographs taken of the world’s greatest contemporary artists in their intimate work spaces and homes. The 30 hand-selected (from nearly 1000) photographs came from the exclusive archives of Paris Match magazine; the Spanish painter himself was spotted in images using his natural ability to pose in order for the photographer to draw the best of him for the scene. Following successful runs in Sofitel Luxury Hotels across North America and Europe, Revealed descended upon Sofitel London giving us a striking look at candid and directed images of Frank Sinatra, Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau.

 

Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots

Tate Liverpool explored Jackson Pollock’s lesser known – yet extremely influential – practise of black pourings in the first exhibition in over 30 years titled Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots. Jackson Pollock, one of America’s most provocative artists, made a deliberate shift from his drip to pour technique; such a change marked a turning point in Pollock’s styling. Focussing on Pollock’s work from 1951 to 1953, Tate Liverpool’s collection depicted the largest number of Pollock’s never-before-seen black pourings staged in the UK. Viewers were taken on a voyage through the artist’s famed career to discover a deeper importance of ‘blind spots’ throughout his practice.

Jackson Pollock, 1950 | Photograph by Hans Namuth | Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona © 1991 Hans Namuth Estate

Jackson Pollock, 1950 | Photograph by Hans Namuth | Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona © 1991 Hans Namuth Estate

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Savage Beauty was a celebration of the talented British designer, Alexander McQueen, at London’s V&A museum. With more than 480,000 tickets sold for the £3 million exhibition, Savage Beauty was officially the most popular show to date in the museum’s history. McQueen’s unfailing technical artistry and dramatic intensity demonstrated the unique spirit of the designer. The consistent note of freedom of thought and expression could be felt throughout the show’s eye-catching creations made in wool, feathers and shell materials. From his early days at art school to becoming an assured global designer, McQueen’s works had the feeling of being at the forefront of a fashion revolution.

By Danielle Wood