The 5 Best Exhibitions to See in Europe this July

From Lydia Ourahmane lockdown-inspired exhibition at Triangle – Astérides to Marcin Dudek's deconstruction of his football firm past at Harlan Levey Projects, here's what not to miss 

BY frieze in EU Reviews , Exhibition Reviews | 09 JUL 21

Lydia Ourahmane, 'Barzakh', 2021, exhibition view, Triangle - Astrides, Marseille. Courtesy: the artist and Triangle - Astrides, Marseille; photograph: Aurlien Mole

Lydia Ourahmane

Triangle – Astérides, Marseille, France

Throughout her practice, Lydia Ourahmane has co-opted administrative apparatus to question the legitimacy of borders and their outsized influence on colonial subjects. For her degree show at Goldsmiths University of London, for instance, the Saïda-born, London-raised artist succeeded in legally exporting the first work of art from Algeria since the country declared independence in 1962 (Third Choir, 2014). Earlier this year, Ourahmane had the entire contents of her flat in Algiers, which she had occupied since 2018, transported to Europe for ‘Barzakh’, a collaborative exhibition project by Triangle – Astérides and Kunsthalle Basel. The artist’s possessions, totalling around 5,000 objects, even included the double entrance door, 21 Boulevard Moustapha Benboulaid (entrance) (1901–2021), which, with its nine locks added during the 1990’s ‘black decade’, stands as an unequivocal testament to the Algerian Civil War (1991–2002). – Oriane Durand

Januário Jano, Prayer, 2019, inkjet on cotton fine art paper rag, 44 × 58 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Jean Claude Maier, Frankfurt am Main

Januário Jano

Jean Claude Maier, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

The title of Januário Jano’s first solo exhibition in Germany, ‘Arquivo Mestre’, translates from Portuguese as ‘the master(’s) archive’ or ‘master file’. Concerned with colonial subjectivities and their wider implications – particularly in Angola, where the artist was born – the show skilfully connects the seemingly unrelated dots between Christianity gained and textile cultures lost, the opacity of restitution and processes of extractivism, environmental degradation and ecological transformation. – Eric Otieno Sumba

Matthew Angelo Harrison, Reservoir Master, 2021, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Kunsthalle Basel; photograph: Philipp Hänger

Matthew Angelo Harrison

Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland

Matthew Angelo Harrison lives in Detroit, surrounded by the shuttered factories of the automobile industry where his mother worked on the General Motors production line. He grew up in a community forever changed by the gradual diminution of the city’s main industry – once one of the largest in the world. In his most recent body of work, shown this summer at Kunsthalle Basel in ‘Proto’, his first European institutional solo exhibition, Harrison has taken objects from his mother’s time in the factories – work gloves, jackets, helmets and placards from a 2007 strike – and encapsulated them in resin. It is unusual to encounter objects associated with blue-collar labour in American art and those artists who have addressed this subject – such as LaToya Ruby Frazier, Fred Lonidier and Allan Sekula – tend to work with film and photography. Harrison’s turn to this material brings his own history into his art in a more poignant way than before. – Mark Godfrey

Cecilia Germain, Le Jardin de Griot, 2021, cardboard print. Courtesy: the artist and Botkyrka Konsthall; photography: Hanna Ukura

Cecilia Germain

Botkyrka Konsthall, Sweden

Inside the ‘Therapeutic Zone and Community Herbarium’, installed on Botkyrka Konsthall’s second floor, I learn from a book called Hoodoo Medicine (1978) by Faith Mitchell that enslaved Africans used okra blossoms to cure sores that wouldn’t heal. It’s an apt metaphor for Afro-Swedish artist Cecilia Germain’s ‘The Dream Keeper’, a tender yet complex presentation of new work in which ethnobotanical research and (self-)care combine to make innovative use of the Black historical archive. – Matthew Rana

Marcin Dudek, 'Slash & Burn II', 2021, exhibition view, Harlan Levey Projects, Brussels, Belgium. Courtesy: the artist and Harlan Levey Projects; photograph: Damon De Backer

Marcin Dudek

Harlan Levy Projects, Brussels, Belgium

The chaotic period that followed Poland’s transition from communism to capitalism is an important thematic backdrop to Marcin Dudek’s exhibition ‘Slash & Burn II’ at Harlan Levey Projects’s new space in the Heyvaert district of Brussels. In this powerful show – which comprises installation, drawing and performance – the Polish artist explores his own experience of coming of age in the 1990s as a working-class football fan in a country with crumbling infrastructure, dysfunctional governance and a traumatic history of being caught in the crossfire of successive European conflicts. – Wilson Tarbox

Head image: Periwinkle Path (detail), 2021, installation view, Botkyrka Konsthall, Sweden. Courtesy: the artist and Botkyrka Konsthall; photography: Hanna Ukura

Thumbnail: Marcin Dudek, Passage (detail), 2020, installation view, Harlan Levey Projects, Brussels, Belgium. Courtesy: the artist and Harlan Levey Projects

Contemporary Art and Culture