BY frieze in Critic's Guides | 20 OCT 23

The Top 5 Exhibitions to See in Europe This Autumn

From a group show at Fondation Pernod Ricard, Paris, exploring the marginalized and transient to Frank Sweeney’s 1970s bedroom at EVA International in Ireland

BY frieze in Critic's Guides | 20 OCT 23

Max Cegielski and Janek Simon

Cukrarna, Ljubljana, Slovenia

15 September 2023 – 14 January 2024

Max Cegielski and Janek Simon, One Man Does Not Rule a Nation, 2023
Max Cegielski and Janek Simon, One Man Does Not Rule a Nation, 2023, exhibition view. Courtesy: the artists and MGLC Archive; photo: Jaka Babnik

One Man Does Not Rule a Nation (2023), a collaborative research project by Max Cegielski and Janek Simon, centres around a monument dedicated to Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of post-independence Ghana. This monument, designed by Polish sculptor Alina Ślesińska and unveiled in Winneba, Ghana in 1965, was dismantled the following year during a CIA-endorsed coup to remove anti-imperialist Nkrumah from office. The installation comprises a comprehensive amalgamation of archival materials, newly conducted interviews with eyewitnesses, and a model of the monument itself. This interdisciplinary research sketches many interwoven points of correlations between the Eastern European and West African trajectories. The artists’ aim was not only to draw attention to this story but also to expose how it continues to influence the present. One Man Does Not Rule a Nation is a compelling instance of an investigative endeavour that finds space for its fullest expression within the flexible contours of the contemporary art sphere. – Ben Livne Weitzmann

Nora Turato

Sprüth Magers, Berlin, Germany

16 September – 7 November 

Nora Turato, ‘NOT YOUR USUAL SELF’, 2023
Nora Turato, ‘NOT YOUR USUAL SELF’, 2023, installation view. Courtesy: the artist, LambdaLambdaLambda, Pristina, Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich and Sprüth Magers, Berlin; photograph: Ingo Kniest

In ‘NOT YOUR USUAL SELF?’ at Sprüth Magers, Turato repurposes stock-phrases, rendered by hand on seven hand-painted enamel panels, which hang over another text-work, a huge cobalt-blue wall painting reading undefine yrself (all works 2023). Each work – in a new serif font developed in collaboration with Sam de Groot and Kia Tasbihgou – carries emotionally ambiguous wording such as not yourself?/ what have you done to yourself? or this place is sick / always something. On each, a wiry grid summons a tunnel or wormhole. – Pablo Larios

Frank Sweeney

Belltable, Limerick, Ireland

31 August – 29 October

Frank Sweeney, Few Can See, 2023
Frank Sweeney, Few Can See, 2023, installation view. Courtesy: EVA International

Frank Sweeney’s Few Can See (2023) is one of the six pieces commissioned for EVA International under the theme of citizenship. The work delves into the historical impact of censorship on Irish and British broadcasts during the Northern Ireland conflict of the late 1960s–90s. It attempts to reconstruct content expunged from state archives due to censorship, drawing from oral history interviews with individuals who experienced censorship and those employed by state broadcasters at the time. The film plays on a compact television placed within a recreated living room, complete with the orange and brown interior design characteristic of the 1970s. The room’s walls are adorned with posters and photographs from that era, serving as a deliberate effort to authentically capture the atmosphere of the time. Through Sweeney’s attention to detail, the reconstructed footage effectively immerses viewers in the tumultuous period when Northern Ireland was wracked by an ethno-nationalist conflict that grappled with the complexities of colonial histories and ideas of nationhood. – Nadia Egan

‘Do You Believe in Ghosts?’

Fondation Pernod Ricard, Paris, France

12 September – 28 October 

Eden Tinto Collins, Souvenir Transparent, 2023.
Eden Tinto Collins, Souvenir Transparent, 2023, 'Do You Believe in Ghosts?'. Courtesy: the artist and Ka Libre Ensemble

Showing works by the six young artists nominated for the 24th Fondation Pernod Ricard Prize – selected by Brazilian curator Fernanda Brenner – ‘Do You Believe in Ghosts?’ explores the marginalized and transient. For instance, Pol Taburet’s paintings, such as Rain Appeal (2023), unpack representations of Black culture in contemporary France, while Ana Vaz’s film interrogates the experiences of immigrant railway workers in Paris. Eden Tinto Collins’s audiovisual installations and printed textiles reverberate with the early internet vaporwave aesthetic, while Anne Bourse’s mirrored pink plexiglass maquettes juxtapose futuristic architectures with archaic newspaper classifieds. Alluding to Jacques Derrida’s concept of hauntology from Specters of Marx (1993), this exhibition investigates how hegemonic culture polices society and how we are little more than ghostly symbiotes within it. – Andrew Hodgson

Nan Goldin

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

7 October – 28 January 2024

Nan Goldin, Memory Lost, 2019–21.
Nan Goldin, Memory Lost, 2019–21, featuring My Horse, Roma, Valley of the Queens, Luxor, Egypt, 2003. Courtesy: © Nan Goldin

In Goldin’s first major work, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1982–2022), she declared her commitment to an unabashedly autobiographical project, culling images from her life. Goldin would add more photographs to the series, and, with fame, new interiors, hotel rooms, landscapes, yet always many of the same faces, reliable, often troubled friends who are, in the worst of times, her lifelines.

Memory Lost recalls the all-night parties of The Ballad of Sexual Dependency; Goldin’s addiction; rehabs; friends’ anguish and deaths. It moves from pristine shot to blurred image, every frame a memory. Goldin may not remember as much as she once did, but the photographs do. – Lynne Tillman 

Main image: Nora Turato, it's all in your head / what's in your head? (detail), 2023, vitreous enamel on steel, 2.4 × 1.9 m. Courtesy: the artist, LambdaLambdaLambda, Pristina, Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich, and Sprüth Magers, Berlin; photograph: Ingo Kniest

Contemporary Art and Culture