Five Shows to See this Week in Europe

From Jumana Manna's solo exhibition at M HKA, Antwerp, to a retrospective of the late artist Chiara Fumai at Centro Pecci, Prato, these are the institutional shows not to miss in the Schengen area 


BY Chloe Stead in Critic's Guides , EU Reviews , Exhibition Reviews | 21 AUG 21

Chiara Fumai, Chiara Fumai reads Valerie Solanas, 2013 (detail), installation view, 'Chiara Fumai. Poems I Will Never Release 2007-2017', Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art, 2021. Photo: © Ela Bialkowska

Chiara Fumai 

Centro Pecci, Prato, Italy 

8 May – 7 November 2021 

‘Chiara Fumai: Poems I Will Never Release 2007–17’, focuses, as the exhibition title suggests, on the last decade of the late Italian artist’s life. Adding to her international renown as a performance artist, video-performances such as Chiara Fumai Reads Valerie Solanas (2012–13) – dedicated to the infamous artist and writer who shot Andy Warhol in 1968 – are shown alongside collages, installations and wall paintings. Highlights include a room dedicated to the 31 days Fumai spent as artist in residence at the Oostereiland Penitentiary of Hoorn in the Netherlands in 2008, where she sewed together prison curtains with clothes from her own wardrobe to create a 12-metre escape rope.

Jumana Manna, 'Thirty Plumbers in the Belly', 2021, exhibition view 

Jumana Manna

M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium 

21 May – 12 September 2021

Titled ‘Thirty Plumbers in the Belly’, Jumana Manna’s solo exhibition at M HKA features a new body of sculptures that, according to the exhibition literature, move between ‘the worlds of sewage, digestion and building sites’. As such, the exhibition has a provisional feel, with works from two ceramic series – one featuring industrial pipes, the other rotten bread – scattered around the floor or placed on makeshift plinths. Writing on Instagram ahead of the opening, the artist spoke of the ‘unruly potential’ of these enigmatic sculptural objects, which she sees as a celebration of temporary structures or systems that ‘arise as bittersweet forces of creativity’.

Anna Bella Geiger, ‘Native Brazil / Alien Brazil’ (detail), 1976–77. Courtesy: the artist

Anna Bella Geiger

S.M.A.K, Ghent, Belgium 

29 May – 7 November 2021 

Produced in collaboration with the São Paulo Museum of Art, ‘Native Brazil / Alien Brazil’ is the first retrospective dedicated to the Brazilian multidisciplinary artist Anna Bella Geiger. Born in 1933, Geiger is perhaps best known for the titular series of works from 1976–77, in which she used members of her own family to re-create nine postcards featuring indigenous peoples of Brazil. Commonly sold on newsstands at tourist destinations, these highly exoticized images were often taken by white photographers to create an idealized view of a country then under military occupation. At S.M.A.K., this series joins more than 170 works from the 1960s to today, including EW18 with Africa Map (2014) – landmasses in pale yellow thread against a black sea – which is emblematic of the artist’s career-long interest in cartography and geographical borders.

Vincent Fecteau, Untitled, 2020. Courtesy: the artist and Galerie Buchholz, greengrassi and Matthew Marks Gallery

Vincent Fecteau 

Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany 

3 April – 5 September 2021 

Since the 1990s, US artist Vincent Fecteau has been making intricate sculptures that combine simple materials, such as clay and papier-mâché, with found objects in subtle yet visually engaging combinations. For his first institutional exhibition in Germany, at Kassel’s Fridericianum, Fecteau has selected more than 60 works, created between 1993 and 2020, which are variously placed on plinths and low platforms around the edges of the space or installed directly on the walls like paintings. This simple presentation allows viewers to concentrate on the formal qualities of these abstract objects, which in the literature for his exhibition at Galerie Buchholz last year, the artist described as ‘falling apart’ and ‘coming together’ multiple times during their creation.

Laura Grisi, Subway, 1967, neon, plexiglas, aluminium, sliding panel. Photograph: Carlo Favero

Laura Grisi

Susch, Switzerland

5 June – 5 December 2021

Featuring large-scale immersive installations that haven’t been shown since they were first exhibited in the 1960s and ’70s, ‘The Measuring of Time’ is an impressive tribute to Italian artist Laura Grisi, who died in 2017. Set in the Swiss alps, Muzeum Susch is a fitting location for these environments – such as La stanza della pioggia (Rain Room, 1968) – which were dedicated to natural elements. Grisi was an early adopter of neon, using it in her installations as well as in her ‘Neon Paintings’ and ‘Variable Paintings’ (1966–68), which comprised sliding panels made from painted canvas, coloured Plexiglas, neon, metal and wood. In the museum’s main gallery, two works from the latter series, Omaggio a Constable (Homage to Constable) and Omaggio a Gainsborough (Homage to Gainsborough) – first shown at the 1966 Venice Biennale as a mobile diptych that the audience could change by means of ‘sliding wings’ – exemplify Grisi’s interest in variation and interaction.

Two additional must-see shows:

In Arles, France, 'Laura Owens & Van Gogh' at the Van Gogh Foundation pairs works by the American artist with seven paintings by the Dutch postimpressionist (until 31 October). While at MACRO, Rome, Tony Cokes's solo exhibition 'This isn't theory. This is history' showcases three decades of the artist's works in a 2000m2 hybrid space, which combines the white cube of the gallery with the black box of the cinema (until 17 October).

Main image: Tony Cokes, 'This isn't theory. This is history', 2021, exhibition view. Courtesy: the artist, Greene Naftali, New York, Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles, and Electronic Arts Intermix, New York; photograph: Simon d'Exéa

Chloe Stead is assistant editor of frieze. She lives in Berlin, Germany.