The Best Shows to See in the UK This March

From a groundbreaking group exhibition of Black ceramicists to Rachel Jones’s suite of colourful, new paintings

BY frieze in Exhibition Reviews , UK Reviews | 11 MAR 22

Rachel Jones 

Chisenhale, London 

12 March – 12 June 2022 

Rachel Jones
Rachel Jones, say cheeeeese, 2022. Courtesy: © the artist and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac; photograph: Eva Herzog

Rachel Jones’s say cheeeeese (2022) – one of a series of new paintings, all of which bear the same title – offers a visual riposte to a central philosophical problem: how do we distinguish the self from others? It is a colourful, multi-layered painting composed of dynamic, rhythmic gestures loosely girded by recurring motifs that relate to, but do not dominate, the landscape background. The large, drooping flowers prominent near the top of the painting move between, and interact with, the rows of teeth found in the lower half of the work, while the profusion of richly coloured, abstract forms hints at a mode of unbounded expression beyond language. – Gazelle Mba

John Stezaker 

The Approach, London 

24 February – 26 March 2022 

John Stezaker
John Stezaker, Double Shadow from the series ‘Double Shadow’, 2021, collage, 20 × 21 cm. Courtesy: the artist and The Approach, London; photograph: Alexander Brattell

John Stezaker’s ‘Double Shadow’ works allow traces to be detected in the aftermath of the cut. Look closely and you can see the frayed edge of a skinny white margin that would once have been buried in the spine of the publication that the page has been ripped from. Whispers of features persist – eyelashes, a strand of hair, a sliver of pale skin – around the removed silhouette. In the page from which a juxtaposed image has been cut, you might see a nose or a chin emerging from a missing face, the space of an empty forehead or the nape of a neck. Sometimes, a shadow lingers on the wall of a pictured interior, a cigarette between two absent fingers, a white glove still grasping the rail of a balcony. – James Lawrence Slattery 

‘Body Vessel Clay’

Two Temple Place, London

29 January – 24 April 2022 

Body Vessel Clay
Bisila Noha, Two Legged Vessels, 2020. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Thomas Broadhead for OmVed Gardens

The first thing you see upon entering ‘Body Vessel Clay: Black Women, Ceramics & Contemporary Art’, a striking new exhibition at Two Temple Place, is Ladi Kwali and Kiln, a black-and-white photograph taken in the early 1960s. Wearing a sleeveless dress, a patterned headscarf and some jewellery, Ladi Kwali – a celebrated Nigerian potter, who died in 1984 – stands with one of her celebrated water jars at her feet. Growing up in Nigeria, curator Jareh Das knew Kwali’s name but nothing about her life. A slippery shuffle between presence and absence characterises this show, which explores the evolution of one of the world’s oldest art forms and how over the past 70 years it’s been reimagined by Black women artists. ​​​​​​​– Chloë Ashby

Julien Creuzet

Camden Art Centre, London 

14 January – 25 March 2022

Julien Creuzet
Julien Creuzet, ‘Dim lights of distant stars LEDs of warning lights indulge ...’, 2019, exhibition view, Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Courtesy: the artist, High Art, Paris/Arles, and Palais de Tokyo, Paris; photograph: Aurélien Mole

There’s also a nexus of beautiful symbols in the Caribbean that triggers my imagination. In my show at Camden Art Centre, I try to think about how this is drawn out while also asking some very specific questions: what is the history behind the flag? How did an oil barrel become a musical instrument? How did Rastafarianism evolve into a global, counter-cultural movement embraced by young people in one place in time? – Julien Creuzet 

Keith Piper 

New Walsall Art Gallery 

14 January – 24 April 2022

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

Keith Piper has installed the monumental banner Searching for a Jet Black Future (2021), on which a Black man’s hands cradle a mobile phone as he scrolls through the Google search results for ‘young + black + male’. The results speak to the hostility that exists within the pathologization of news reports, policing and governance. Searching for a Jet Black Future offers a reminder of the power that regional galleries have in engaging us with artists’ practices that speak beyond the confines of the exhibition to address the commonalities of our shared present. – Cathy Wade 

‘Decriminalised Futures’ 

ICA, London 

16 February – 22 May 2022 

Tobi Adebajo
Tobi Adebajo, ẹjẹ (Blood), 2022, triptych panel, digital collage. Courtesy: © the artist and ICA, London

Visibility is not something you proudly bestow on people – it is something that you make possible for others to take as they want. ‘Decriminalised Futures’ achieves a careful balance between allowing people to create art around the theme of sex work without exposing their exact proximity to this experience. If you set out to exhibit sex workers and decide only those who are happy to be visibly identified as such can contribute, you create a dangerous precedent. The ICA and the exhibition co-curators devised a flexible model in which fluidity between sex work and allyship allowed expression without unconsenting exposure. – Babeworld 

Main image: Vivian Chinasa Ezugha, Uro, performance documentation, 2018. Courtesy: SPILL Festival; photograph: Guido Mencari.

Contemporary Art and Culture