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 Björk , 'Stonemilker VR' at Somerset House's 'Bjork Digital' Exhibition|© Andrew Thomas Huang/Somerset House
Björk , 'Stonemilker VR' at Somerset House's 'Bjork Digital' Exhibition|© Andrew Thomas Huang/Somerset House
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The Must-See Exhibitions In London This September

Picture of Harriet Clugston
Updated: 11 September 2016
Last month was a quiet one in the art world, but the back-to-school period also sees London‘s museums getting back down to business. Alongside an exciting series of festivals, September brings a host of great exhibition openings; the month’s highlights include a dose of pioneering video art, groundbreaking virtual reality experiences, and an exciting recreation of the Woodstock Festival of 1969 in the heart of South Kensington.

Bjork Digital

Get seriously up close and personal with Icelandic superstar Bjork in Somerset House’s incredible digital exhibition, the result of the singer’s collaboration with the world’s leading visual artists and programmers. Filled with enveloping video works and immersive, 360-degree virtual reality experiences that utilise the most cutting-edge technology available, Bjork Digital is a bizarre, boundary-pushing, often erotically-charged experience — at times unsettling, at others disorientating, but always potent — presenting a new vision of how performers can connect with their audiences one-on-one.

1 September 2016 – 23 October 2016

Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA, UK, +44 20 7845 4600

'Notget VR'| ©REWIND VR/Somerset House
‘Notget VR’ | ©REWIND VR/Somerset House

The Infinite Mix: Contemporary Sound and Image

The Hayward Gallery has teamed up with The Vinyl Factory to produce The Infinite Mix, their only major off-site exhibition during the two-year refurbishment of their Southbank home; it sees a brand new creative space on the Strand taken over by a collection of pioneering audiovisual installations courtesy of some of the world’s leading artists, with 3D-cinema, multi-screen installations, and a deceased opera singer brought to life by a haunting holographic illusion. Each of the ten immersive installations to be found tucked away in the recesses of this labyrinthine building aim to encourage their audiences to reflect on the relationship between what they see and what they hear, raising thought-provoking questions on the very nature of the mediums themselves, mixing the staged and the real to deconstruct our notions of what constitutes fiction versus documentary.

9 September 2016 – 4 December 2016

The Store, 180 The Strand, London, WC2R 1EA, UK

© DACS/ Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Esther Schipper, Berlin
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, ‘OPERA (QM.15)’, 2016 | © DACS/ Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Esther Schipper, Berlin

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970

The V&A’s headline exhibition for 2016, You Say You Want a Revolution? is a mammoth, musical journey into the era-defining counterculture of the late sixties. Examining the way in which youth culture took root across a multitude of arenas, from music to fashion to design, the exhibition guides us through the explosive optimism, infectious sense of freedom, and tumultuous, often violent, political discourse that blossomed in the Western world. Visitors don a pair of Sennheiser headsets that use innovative audio guide technology sensitive to your position in the exhibition to create a custom soundtrack that follows you as you go. The exhibition is divided into sections that explore some of the key issues and environments of the revolutionary era, from Carnaby Street to alternative communities in the US, even transforming a double-height gallery space into the utopian Woodstock festival of 1969.

10 September 2016 – 26 February 2017

Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL, UK, +44 20 7942 2000

Image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum
Image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Turner Prize 2016

Never without controversy, the Turner Prize is perhaps one of the best known art prizes in the world, and this exhibition at Tate Britain is your chance to see this year’s shortlisted artists. The prize was designed to bring about interest in contemporary art among the wider world, and nobody could accuse it of failing on that front, even if the ensuing attention has not always been for the right reasons. It’s awarded annually to an artist under 50 (either British-born or working primarily in Britain) on the basis of any outstanding exhibitions or presentations of their work that have taken place in the previous year. This year’s looks likely to be as contentious as ever; among the installations on display are Anthea Hamilton’s colossal, lewd sculpture, Project for Door (After Gaetano Pesce), already sparking controversy, and Michael Dean’s large-scale sculptures and installations constructed with mundane items.

27 September 2016 – 2 January 2017

Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG, UK, +44 20 7887 8888

‘Project for Door (After Gaetano Pesce)’ by Anthea Hamilton, 2015 installation view, Anthea Hamilton: Lichen! Libido! Chastity!, SculptureCenter, 2015, courtesy of the artist|©Kyle Knodell/Tate Britain
‘Project for Door (After Gaetano Pesce)’ by Anthea Hamilton, 2015 installation view, Anthea Hamilton: Lichen! Libido! Chastity!, SculptureCenter, 2015, courtesy of the artist | ©Kyle Knodell/Tate Britain

Abstract Expressionism

As the first major exhibition on abstract expressionism the UK has seen in almost six decades, this Royal Academy event is definitely one not to be missed. Seeking to dissipate simplistic groupings and analysis that have pervaded in earlier years, the Royal Academy will re-evaluate the artistic movement, re-rendering it as a diverse, complex, multi-faceted, and fluid phenomenon. Over 150 pieces of work will be on display, featuring important figures such as Arshile Gorky, Philip Guston, Joan Mitchell, Jackson Pollock, and Franz Kline, while, significantly, nine major works by Clyfford Still will be presented in a dedicated gallery, after the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver agreed to loan them for the first time.

24 September 2016 – 2 January 2017

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD, UK, +44 20 7300 8090

'Water of the Flowery Mill' by Arshile Gorky, 1944, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York |©ARS, NY and DACS/ The Metropolitan Museum of Art
‘Water of the Flowery Mill’ by Arshile Gorky, 1944, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York | ©ARS, NY and DACS/ The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year

The out-of-this-world exhibition is back at the Royal Observatory Greenwich for its eighth year. Over 4,500 entries were received in this year’s competition from amateur and professional photographers right around the world, and the stunning, celestial images are a mix of sights captured from deep within our solar system and the wider universe — stars being born in the clouds of faraway nebula, storms raging across Jupiter, the colourful wisps of a remnant supernova that exploded 8,000 years ago — as well as breathtaking, dramatic views of the night sky above planet Earth — meteor showers cascading over mountaintops, the magical display that is the Aurora Australis, and stunning shots of nature cast in ethereal moonlight. This year’s winners will be announced at a ceremony on the 15th, with the public getting the chance to see all the star entries free of charge from the 17th.

17 September 2016 23 December 2016

Royal Observatory, Blackheath Avenue, London SE10 8XJ, UK, +44 20 8312 6565

'Just Missed the Bullseye' by Scott Carnie-Bronca.The International Space Station (ISS) appears to pierce a path across the radiant, concentric star trails seemingly spinning over the silhouettes of the trees in Harrogate, South Australia|©Scott Carnie-Bronca/Royal Observatory Greenwich

‘Just Missed the Bullseye’ by Scott Carnie-Bronca. The International Space Station (ISS) appears to pierce a path across the radiant, concentric star trails seemingly spinning over the silhouettes of the trees in Harrogate, South Australia | © Scott Carnie-Bronca/Royal Observatory Greenwich