The Best Shows to See Around the World in December

From Alexandre Diop’s Berlin-inspired exhibition at Spinello Projects, Miami, to Mikołaj Sobczak’s riotous institutional solo at Kunsthalle Münster

BY frieze in Reviews , Reviews Across The World | 05 DEC 22

Maxwell Alexandre

The Shed, New York

26 October 2022 – 8 January 2023

Maxwell Alexandre
Maxwell Alexandre, Não foi pedindo licença que chegamos até aqui (We didn’t get here by apologizing, 2018), latex, grease, henna, bitumen, dye, acrylic, vinyl paint, graphite, ballpoint pen, charcoal, oil stick and chocolate drink package on brown kraft paper. 3.2 × 4.7 m. Courtesy: the artist and MAC Lyon; photograph: Blaise Adilon

Experiencing Maxwell Alexandre’s work involves more than looking at it: we must also move through it. Installed in two parts, ‘Pardo É Papel (The Glorious Victory and New Power)’ at The Shed draws us into a labyrinth comprised of monumental paintings suspended from the ceiling by an apparatus of translucent string and binder clips. A former inline skater, Alexandre embeds the sport’s exacting weave patterns into the gallery space, entangling visual encounter with corporeal movement. He asks us to search for the paintings with our bodies: they reveal themselves slowly, each one layered between and partially or fully obscured by another. – Zoë Hopkins 

Alexandre Diop

Spinello Projects, Miami

28 November 2022 – 14 January 2023

Alexandre Diop, The Dead Artist
Alexandre Diop, The Dead Artist, Thoiaroye 44, 2022, mixed media on wood, 1.8 × 1.25 m. Courtesy: the artist and Spinello Projects; photograph: Jorit Aust

‘[My work] screams,’ Alexandre Diop said in a 2022 interview with Reiffers Art Initiatives. ‘It’s trap music, it’s punk, it’s noise. But there is harmony.’ Diop is a musician and artist, and his massive works are imbued with a kind of intense and explosive spontaneity. Though he often works quickly, the pieces are methodical, communicative, speaking of both hope and violence, comprised of objects Diop collects in streets and scrapyards (animal hair, rope, car parts, wood), pages torn from books, and, sometimes, his own blood. For his show at Spinello Projects, the Franco-Senegalese artist finds inspiration in Berlin, the city where, he said in an interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist for the Rubell Museum, he began drawing and painting in earnest. There, in a studio in the Reinickendorf district, he immersed himself in a punk environment that might be reflected in the frenetic brushwork of the works such as The Dead Artist, Thoiaroye 44 (2022), a diptych depicting scrawled figures and words. – Monica Uszerowicz

Elizabeth Price

Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow

11 November 2022 – 16 April 2023

Elizabeth Price
Elizabeth Price, UNDERFOOT (detail), 2022, two-channel video projection. Courtesy: © the artist

Elizabeth Price’s first solo exhibition in Scotland, ‘UNDERFOOT’, is something of an institutional event: a collaboration between Price, Dovecot Studios, the Hunterian Art Gallery, Fiona Jardine of the Glasgow School of Art and curatorial arts organisation Panel. It is comprised of a two-screen video work – the eponymous UNDERFOOT (all works 2022) – and SAD CARREL, a tufted rug designed by Price, which re-creates the kind of booth in which you might listen to a record in a public place. The pieces stem from research undertaken in the Stoddard-Templeton Collection in the archives of the University of Glasgow, a record of the activities of James Templeton & Co Ltd and Stoddard International plc, two of Scotland’s most significant and influential carpet designers and manufacturers. Carpets produced by these companies can be found across the city, with the most immediately recognizable being those that furnish the Mitchell Library, the largest public library in Glasgow and the primary focus of Price’s film. – Helen Charman

Aarati Akkapeddi

The Photographers' Gallery, London

07 October 2022 – 19 February 2023

A-kin Kolam
Aarati Akkapeddi, 'A·kin', 2022, detail. Courtesy: the artist and The Photographers' Gallery

Algorithmic, ordered, overlapping history: for ‘A·kin’, the artist’s current solo show at The Photographers’ Gallery, Aarati Akkapeddi employs an image-classification algorithm to arrange photographs in the form of a Kolam: the pattern drawn by women in Tamil culture to welcome all that is good into a place. Ordered into clusters, the photographs are represented by a solitary composite image that averages all the images in a given cluster. Sourced from both Akkapeddi’s own family albums and the stars.archive of South Indian studio photography (all of which were taken between 1880 and 1980), the images testify to the strength of familial bonds and evolutions in generational customs. In one composite image, a woman gazes into the camera, hands by her side, her partner a hazy outline. Merging the digital with the personal, ‘A·kin’ resurfaces disparate histories. – Matthew Maganga

Mikołaj Sobczak

Kunsthalle Münster, Münster

16 October 2022 – 22 January 2023

Mikołaj Sobczak’s ‘Leibeigene’
Mikołaj Sobczak, Upiór, 2022, film still. Courtesy: the artist and Polana Institute, Warsaw. Photo: Volker Renner

Developed in dialogue with the French historian Daniel Beauvois, Sobczak’s recent works cast a critical eye on relations between Poland, Ukraine and Russia. For Harem (2022), he revisits Eugène Delacroix’s Women of Algiers (1834) using traditional Ukrainian costumes to represent the 19th-century harem of the wealthy Polish count Mieczysław Potocki. Women’s Rebellion (2022), which features a monumental female figure marching towards the viewer, infant baby in one hand and raised axe in the other, references brutal peasant uprisings against tyrannous masters described by Beauvois in his book Trójkąt Ukraiński (Ukrainian Triangle, 2005) about Volhynia, Podolia and Kiev. – Krzysztof Kościuczuk

Mapa Teatro

Museo de Arte Miguel Urrutia, Bogotá

20 October 2022 – 6 March 2023

‘Mapa Teatro: Laboratorio de la imaginación social’, exhibition view, Museo de Arte Miguel Urrutia, Bogotá. Courtesy: © Banco de la República; photograph: Oscar Monsalve

Founded in 1984 in Paris by Colombian-Swiss siblings Heidi and Rolf Abderhalden, Mapa Teatro relocated to Bogotá in 1986, and a year later, adapted Julio Cortázar’s short story Casa Tomada (House Taken Over, 1946), in which a brother and a sister are gradually driven out of their family home. The narrative’s central mystery is who, or what, compelled them to leave. These themes of displacement, loss, domesticity made uncanny, and the haunted moments that infiltrate and shape our reality permeate the exhibition’s two floors of trans-disciplinary works. – Jennifer Burris

Main Image: Main Image: ‘Mapa Teatro: Laboratorio de la imaginación social’, exhibition view, Museo de Arte Miguel Urrutia, Bogotá. Courtesy: © Banco de la República; photograph: Oscar Monsalve

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