Five Exhibitions to See in Europe This August

From Edita Schubert’s performative paintings at Galerie Molitor, Berlin, to Sin Wai Kin’s new video installation at Fondazione Memmo, Rome

BY frieze in Critic's Guides , Exhibition Reviews | 18 AUG 23

Margaret Raspé

Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany

22 July – 17 September

Margaret Raspé, Kondensation, 1984/2023, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Galerie Molitor, Berlin

Four kettles emit piercing whistles, releasing steam onto canvases leant against the walls and transforming water-soluble pigments into drops of red paint. Re-created for the opening of her solo show ‘Automatic’, Margaret Raspé’s 1984 performance and installation Kondensation (Condensation) envelops the gallery with an intense soundscape. Much like the delirium of modernity that engulfs Giuliana (Monica Vitti) in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Red Desert (1964), there is no escaping the high-pitched noise that fills the Badischer Kunstverein, before materializing as red circular stains on the white canvas surfaces. – Ben Livne Weitzman

Sin Wai Kin

Fondazione Memmo, Rome, Italy

3 May – 29 October

Sin Wai Kin, Dreaming the End, film still, 2023. Courtesy: © the artist and Fondazione Memmo, Rome

‘Not one single day of our lives is not a play,’ declares Sin Wai Kin in the captivating titular video installation of their solo exhibition, ‘Dreaming the End’, at Fondazione Memmo. In this introspective showcase, the artist tiptoes between authenticity and performance, delving into the complex layers of identity and binary constructs that forcibly permeate our existence. As a non-binary artist who recently transitioned to using their Cantonese name from their Western one, Sin’s body of work is an intimate extension of their personal encounters with the categorizations that seek to regulate and define them. – Nadia Egan

Edita Schubert

Galerie Molitor, Berlin, Germany

7 July – 31 August

Edita Schubert, Perforated Canvas (Performed), 1978, acrylic and medical tape on canvas, 2.3 x 1.4 m. Courtesy: Galerie Molitor, Berlin

Can a performance endure within a painting? This question circles around Edita Schubert’s ‘Self-Portrait Behind a Perforated Canvas’ at Galerie Molitor. It is the first solo exhibition in Germany dedicated to the artist, who exhibited mainly in her native Croatia before she died in 2001. The presentation features a selection of Schubert’s cut-out canvases from the 1970s, as well as photographs in which she activates these works. This compact show suggests that the artist’s use of her own body can be seen in dialogue with her work as an anatomical draughtsperson at the University of Zagreb’s School of Medicine where she also had her studio. Talia Kwartler

Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien

Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France

16 June – 10 September

Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien, Ofititi, 2022, Musée Carnavalet, weaving, sewing, engraving, ceramic, painting on silk, sculpture, variable dimensions. Courtesy: the artist and Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, © Adagp, Paris

The objects in Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien’s latest exhibition, ‘L’être, l’autre et l’entre’ (Being, the Other and Between), appear restless, insistently pushing against the confines of the space. Wall-hung tapestries extend out into the gallery, pebbles coat an expanse of the floor and a voice-over of Manlanbien reading aloud her own poetry gently reverberates around the room. The experience is one of totality – a microcosmic world in which things overflow and become entangled with one another. Zoë Hopkins

P. Staff

Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland

9 June – 10 September

P. Staff, Bloodheads (Kunsthalle Basel) (detail), 2023, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Kunsthalle Basel; photograph: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel

The piss-yellow light that flows out of the entrance of Kunsthalle Basel is the first of several details that trigger involuntary bodily responses. As your eyes adjust to the haze, daylight pouring through the windows will appear unnaturally green. Strung just below the ceiling, an electrified net, normally used to control livestock, hums threateningly (Afferent Nerves, all works 2023). If Michael Asher’s 1970s excavations of gallery spaces focused attention on the walls of the white cube in order to expose their ideological contingencies, P. Staff’s work performs a similar operation by directing our gaze where we rarely look – up – and, in turn, invoking the ways institutional architecture can oppress those seeking to shatter its metaphorical ceilings. – Evan Moffitt

Contemporary Art and Culture