The 5 Best Exhibitions in the EU Right Now

From Liv Schulman’s new video installation at CRAC Alsace to Anne Turyn’s genre-defying periodical, Top Stories, at Kunstverein, Amsterdam, these are some of the best exhibitions on in EU right now

BY frieze in EU Reviews , Exhibition Reviews | 19 MAY 21

As museums and galleries tentatively start to open across Europe, now is a great time to catch up on this month's must-see shows.

Emma Kunz, work no. 333, undated, coloured pencil and oil pastel on blue graph paper, 106 × 105 cm. Courtesy: Emma Kunz Stiftung, Würenlos 

Emma Kunz Cosmos

Aargauer Kunsthaus

Despite being the author of around 500 works on paper, Swiss healer and researcher Emma Kunz, who died in 1963, didn’t consider her large-scale drawings – currently the focus of a group exhibition at Aargauer Kunsthaus – to be art. Rather, she created them using a pendulum and consulted their geometric patterns during healing sessions with clients in a bid to divine the causes and treatments of a variety of illnesses. Also known for creating tinctures and preparations from plants, herbs and minerals, Kunz’s holistic and cross-disciplinary practice, as this extensive exhibition shows, strikes a chord with a generation of contemporary artists interested in alternative knowledge and histories. – Chloe Stead

Pomes, xiprer, barca, barranc, (Apples, Cypress, Boat, Ravine, 2021), desiccated fruit, wood and earth, 110 x 40 cm each. Courtesy: the artist and Centre d’Art La Panera, Lleida

David Bestué 'Pastorial'

Centre d’Art La Panera, Lleida

‘Pastoral’, the title of David Bestué’s exhibition at Centre d’Art La Panera in Lleida, is intended as somewhat ironic. Although it may seem idyllic, the countryside around the city has a history of distress: not only was it the scene of some of the most brutal episodes of the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), but intensive farming and irrigation, especially for fruit cultivation, has also steadily industrialized its steppeland in recent decades. Like the derelict buildings that pockmark Lleida’s urban fabric, Bestué’s exhibition summons a terrain that is barely held together, on the verge of becoming undone. – Max Andrews

Liv Schulman, Eurropa, 2021, installation view, CRAC Alsace. Courtesy: the artist and CRAC Alsace; photograph: Aurélien Mole

Liv Schulman 'Eurropa'

CRAC Alsace

Argentine artist Liv Schulman is known for making videos with narratives that explore subjects as diverse as the economy, the conditions of creation and the processes of alienation. For last year’s edition of steirischer herbst, for instance, she produced Brown, Yellow, White and Dead (2020) – a four-part video series addressing the phenomenon of the prosumer. In ‘Eurropa’, Schulman’s current exhibition at CRAC Alsace, the artist responds to Altkirch’s location on the border of three European countries: France, Germany and Switzerland. – Oriane Durand

‘Cassandra Press – New Publications’, 2021, Luma Westbau, Zurich, installation view. Courtesy: Cassandra Press; photograph: Nelly Rodriguez

'Cassandra Press – New Publications'

Luma Westbau, Zurich

Luma Westbau has been temporarily converted into a reading room and bookshop on the occasion of ‘New Publications’, the first institutional exhibition dedicated to Cassandra Press, an artist-run publishing imprint and pedagogical platform founded in 2016 by Kandis Williams. Named after the Trojan princess who was blessed with the ability to prophesy the future, but cursed to never be believed, Cassandra Press issues autoethnographic readers on the aesthetic and semiotic codes underpinning cultural phenomena such as Black horror, essentialism, labour and performativity. – Olamiju Fajemisin 

'Top Stories', 2021, exhibition view, Kunstverein, Amsterdam. Courtesy: the artist and Kunstverein, Amsterdam 

Anne Turyn 'Top Stories'

Kunstverein, Amsterdam

Currently the subject of an eponymous exhibition at Kunstverein, Amsterdam, Top Stories (1978–91) was a series of chapbooks made by the writer and photographer Anne Turyn. Reflecting the artistic milieu of Hallwalls – an alternative art space in Buffalo, New York, where Turyn co-programmed events – each issue of the periodical was entirely dedicated to a single female writer and included short works of autofiction, with second-wave feminism, the AIDS epidemic and the rise of the internet as recurring themes. Originally sold for US$1 per issue, Top Stories is now a collector’s item, reflecting a renewed interested in the era’s progressive artists and writers, including Kathy Acker, Constance DeJong and Pati Hill – all of whom had issues dedicated to them. – Julia Mullié 

Contemporary Art and Culture