The Best Shows to See Around the World Right Now

From Donna Huddleston's alien divas at Simon Lee to Ulysses Jenkins's caustic juxtapositions at the Hammer Museum, these are the shows currently on our radar

BY frieze in Critic's Guides , Exhibition Reviews | 25 FEB 22

Oscar Murillo

Fondazione Memmo, Rome, Italy

10 November 2021 – 20 March 2022

Oscar Murillo, Spirits and Gestures, 2021, installation view, Fondazione Memmo, Rome. Courtesy: the artist and Fondazione Memmo; photograph: Daniele Molajoli

During the two years in which Oscar Murillo developed ‘Spirits and Gestures’ – the longest he has ever worked on a show – time both collapsed and expanded. Whenever possible, Murillo returned to the city to absorb the weight of Rome’s history, art and architecture, ultimately devising a subtle, introspective show that paid quiet homage to two Rome-born artists: the fin-de-siècle symbolist painter Giulio Aristide Sartorio and the 20th-century painter and set designer Domenico Gnoli. – Ana Vukadin

Olu Ogunnaike

CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux, France

4 November 2021 – 26 March 2022

Olu Ogunnaike, ‘Crumbs’, 2021, exhibition view, CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux. Courtesy: the artist and CAPC, Bordeaux; photograph: Arthur Péquin

London-based artist Olu Ogunnaike has placed wood at the centre of his artistic practice. Depending on the type of lumber he selects and how it is processed, his works make exhibition spaces speak, as well as the history of the city in which his pieces are shown. ‘London Plain’, his radical exhibition at Cell Project Space in 2020, for instance, saw the gallery’s floor covered with a parquet made of plane trees. Using a crowbar and a mallet, visitors were invited to lift the planks and remove them – a destructive action revealing our conflicted relationship with nature as something we aim to control, capitalize and then dispose of. For ‘Miettes’ (Crumbs) at the CAPC in Bordeaux, Ogunnaike’s first solo exhibition in France, the artist decided to work with French pine, corresponding to the material he found in the Lainé warehouse that houses the museum. Oriane Durand

Keith Piper

New Art Gallery Walsall, UK

14 January – 24 April 2022

Keith Piper, In Search of Four Horses, 2021–22, four-screen video projection with sound. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Ilona Zielinska (Elona Photographer)

In ‘Jet Black Futures’ at The New Art Gallery Walsall, Keith Piper exhibits works that articulate narratives from race, myth, prophecy and science fiction to explore recurrent tropes used to depict the near future through the anxieties of our present. In Search of Four Horses (2021–22), for instance, reimagines Kassandra, the cursed daughter of Trojan royalty, as a self-reliant Black woman conducting objective journalistic research into how we perceive the future. Spanning the entire length of the gallery, the four-screen video is a monumental collage of an interior lockdown world of home furnishings and half-remembered outdoor landscapes. – Cathy Wade

Donna Huddleston

Simon Lee, London, UK

21 January – 26 February 2022

Donna Huddleston, Brighter, 2021, caran d’ache on paper, 148 × 81 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, London; photograph: Ben Westoby

Stepping into ‘In Person’ – Donna Huddleston’s inaugural solo show at Simon Lee, London – is like entering a miniature amphitheatre starring alien divas and Vivienne Westwood-styled punkettes. Often emerging from rainbow spears of Caran d’Ache pencil, the Irish-Australian artist’s works pervert reality with performance. Yet, where earlier drawings – such as The Warriors (2015) – depicted Earth girls in fairy-tale sportswear, here her work has respawned to resemble a screenplay on Venus. – Gabriella Pounds

Ulysses Jenkins

Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, US

6 February – 15 May 2022

Ulysses Jenkins, Two Zone Transfer,1979, film still. Courtesy: the artist and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

Ulysses Jenkins described the African American experience as ‘doggerel’ – or ‘doggereal’, as he often styled it. Now 75, the Los Angeles-based artist started out as a political muralist, then as a documentary-maker for cable television, but it is his heavily edited video performances that form the core of his work. Early video was a rough-and-ready medium that was given to distortion, flashy effects and caustic juxtapositions – it suited Jenkins' themes perfectly. ‘Ulysses Jenkins: Without Your Interpretation’, a retrospective of rarely seen work and ephemera that has travelled to the Hammer from the ICA Philadelphia, is expertly curated by Erin Christovale and Meg Onli, who offer useful context for material that was at risk of disappearing from view forever. – Jonathan Griffin

‘Maternar: Between Stockholm Syndrome and Acts of Production’

Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City, Mexico

20 November 2021 – 12 June 2022

Ai Hasegawa, Quiero dar a luz un delfín (I Want to Give Birth to a Dolphin), 2013, photograph. Courtesy: the artist and Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City

Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo showcases a terrific exhibition on motherhood, with contributions from over 30 international artists and collectives – many from Latin America. Instead of romanticizing motherhood, the artists critically discuss this topic in all its cultural, social, political and economic complexity. At the heart of the argument mounted by the exhibition is a critique of the socially accepted disparity between productive and reproductive labour. – Anna Goetz

Main image: Oscar Murillo, Spirits and Gestures, 2021, installation view, Fondazione Memmo, Rome. Courtesy: the artist and Fondazione Memmo; photograph: Daniele Molajoli

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