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Installation view of Glenn Brown 'Come to Dust' at Gagosian Gallery, Grosvenor Hill, Jan 2017 | Artworks © Glenn Brown. Photo: Lucy Daw​​​​​​​​​​​​kins
Installation view of Glenn Brown 'Come to Dust' at Gagosian Gallery, Grosvenor Hill, Jan 2017 | Artworks © Glenn Brown. Photo: Lucy Daw​​​​​​​​​​​​kins

The Best Exhibitions to See in London This Week

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 20 February 2018

We’ve rounded up the very best exhibitions you can see for free around the city, from pop-up showcases to extended commercial gallery shows.

Yto Barrada at The Curve

As part of the Barbican’s 2018 season The Art of Change, Barrada’s Curve commission considers how a city can be reinvented after a natural disaster. Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine’s surreal 1967 text, Agadir, forms the starting point for Barrada’s significant installation that emulates thee defiance and innovation of the modernist Moroccan city through a mural, live performances, sculpture and a film commission.

Yto Barrada: Agadir, is at The Curve, Barbican Centre, Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS until May 20, 2018.

Yto Barrada: Agadir

Installation View of Yto Barrada: Agadir with performer Nick Armfield The Curve, Barbican Centre | Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Glenn Brown at Gaogisan

Taking inspiration from a song in Cymbeline by William Shakespeare, Glenn Brown’s show draws upon various art historical references including Rembrandt, the American sublime and renaissance craftsmanship. Continuing to explore the illusory scope of oil paint; Brown’s new painted drawings transform lines into hybrid beings and his sculptures mutate the liquid form into a pliable media that smothers bronze figures with parasitic oil-paint growths.

Glenn Brown: Come to Dust is at Gagosian, 20 Grosvenor Hill, Mayfair, London W1K 3QD until March 17, 2018.

Glenn Brown 'Come to Dust' Gagosian Gallery, Grosvenor Hill, Jan 2017

Installation view of Glenn Brown: Come to Dust (2017) at Gagosian Gallery Grosvenor Hill | Artworks © Glenn Brown. Photo: Lucy Daw​​​​​​​​​​​​kins

Commissions from Performa’s Archives at Whitechapel Gallery

You don’t have to cross the Atlantic to be able to experience the plethora of amazing performance commissions made for the celebrated Performa Biennial in New York. For the first time, Performa’s archive of exceptional documentary recordings of various time-based art by artists including Mika Rottenberg, Candice Breitz, and Elmgreen and Dragset can be viewed at Whitechapel Gallery. From Robin Rhode’s performance of Austrian opera Erwartung to Mike Kelley’s comedic musical staged at Judson Church in 2009, this is the perfect space to immerse yourself in the spectacle of live art.

Commissions from Performa’s Archives at Whitechapel Gallery, Gallery 4, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX until March 4, 2018.


Lydia Ourahmane at Chisenhale

The young Algerian artist presents her first solo institutional show with a new commission at Chisenhale that explores sense of place, the act of displacement, the psychological and political potency of materials and collective experience. The show includes a sound recording from Ourhmane’s home in Oran, Algeria, a gold tooth that references the artists’s grandfather’s extraction of his own teeth as an act of resistance to military service during the French occupation of Algeria and interactive black gallery doors that will revert back to silver from visitor and staff hand impressions.

Lydia Ourahmane: The you in us is at Chisenhale, 64 Chisenhale Road, London E3 5QZ until March 25, 2018.

Lydia Ourahmane at Chisenhale Gallery_01 copy

Lydia Ourahmane, Doors, 2018 | Commissioned and produced by Chisenhale Gallery. Photo: Andy Keate.

Rhythm & Reaction at Two Temple Place

Discover the vibrancy of jazz and how it influenced British art and design, home life and society in this striking exhibition that marks 100 years of jazz in the UK . The neo-Gothic mansion of Two Temple Place is the ideal backdrop for the eclectic display that varies from early copies of Melody Maker, archive film footage of post-War dancehalls, William Patrick Roberts’ paintings of enthused dancers, examples of bar shoes circa 1920s and Carlton Ware ceramics.

Rhythm & Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain is at Two Temple Place, London WC2R 3BD until April 22, 2018.

William Patrick Roberts

William Patrick Roberts, The Dance Club (The Jazz Party), 1923 | © Estate of John David Roberts. By permission of the Treasury Solicitor, courtesy of Bridgeman Images

Eloise Hawser at Somerset House

The Somerset House Studios artist looks at the physiological makeup of humans as well as the city, by considering the connections between the River Thames and London’s underground networks with the flow of liquid in the body. Bringing together a seemingly disparate collection of archival media including a brilliant photograph of the Rotherhithe Tunnel and medical hardware with her work, Hawser maps the overlooked infrastructures that govern our lives.

Eloise Hawser: By the deep, by the mark is at Somerset House, Terrace Room until April 22, 2018.

8. Construction of the Rotherhithe Tunnel © Science Museum copy

Construction of the Rotherhithe Tunnel | © Science Museum

Bridget Riley at David Zwirner

Long before Damien Hirst dreamed up his spot paintings there was Bridget Riley exploring the parameters of op art through geometric forms. For her third exhibition at David Zwirner the acclaimed 86-year-old painter continues her study of the disc and using a monochrome palette with new immersive wall paintings and canvases.

Bridget Riley: Recent Painting 2014-2017 is at David Zwirner, 24 Grafton Street, London, W1S 4EZ until March 10, 2018.

Bridget Riley

Bridget Riley in her London studio, 2017 | Courtesy David Zwirner

Sriwhana Spong at Pump House Gallery

Inspired by her research into a 12th-century language Lingua Ignota invented by abbess Hildegard von Bingen at Disibodenberg monastery in Germany, the London-based New Zealand artist speculates if this ancient mystical language was in fact intended for future generations in her new film, a hook but no fish. Spong also references Balinese Gamelan traditions to look at how sound can index place and custom.

Sriwhana Spong: a hook but no fish is at Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park, London, SW11 4NJ until April 1, 2018.

Sriwhana Spong, a hook but no fish, 2017. Courtesy the artist, Michael Lett, Pump House Gallery. Photo_ Damian Griffiths copy

Sriwhana Spong, a hook but no fish, 2017 | Courtesy the artist, Michael Lett, Pump House Gallery. Photo: Damian Griffiths

Michael Armitage at South London Gallery

The London-based, Kenyan-born artist, Michael Armitage explores the boundaries between folklore and religion in his new large-scale paintings that play with the gallery’s chapel-like structure. Inspired by his own experiences of Kenya, as well as recent and historical news stories and ‘internet gossip’, Armitage blends multiple source material into a world of spectral surreal scenarios.

Michael Armitage: The Chapel is at South London Gallery, 65-67 Peckham Road, London, SE5 8UH until February 23, 2018.


Want to see more art in London? Here at the best photography exhibitions to see