Five Shows to See in the UK and Ireland This Summer

From KJ Abudu’s reckoning with the ghosts of Africa’s past at Pace, London, to a harrowing Howardena Pindell survey at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge

BY frieze in Exhibition Reviews , UK Reviews | 29 JUL 22

David Batchelor 

Compton Verney, Warwickshire 

25 June – 02 October

David Batchelor
David Batchelor, Magic Hour, 2004-2007, found steel and aluminium light boxes, found steel support. Courtesy: © the artist and Compton Verney

‘Colour Is’, David Batchelor’s first large-scale survey, foregrounds direct engagement with his practice by reversing chronology, layering works densely and utilizing the interpretation panels to establish candid, first-person conversations with the viewer. The wall texts become additional works in the rooms, underpinning how the exhibition draws from the model of the studio and the artist’s primary sources of inspiration. – Cathy Wade 

Penny Goring 

Institute of Contemporary Art, London 

09 June – 18 September 

Penny Goring
Penny Goring, I was a Visionary for Boudica, 2015, digital collage. Courtesy: the artist and Arcadia Missa, London

‘Penny World’, the artist and poet Penny Goring’s first solo institutional exhibition, is her testimony to surviving a hellish existence through creation. This is a romantic idea, but one Goring fully embodies, having overcome personal trauma, poverty and mental illness through 30 years of compulsive artmaking. Entering Goring’s world feels like creeping into the depths of her brain; there is a sense that she produced this work to be viewed privately. – Ella Slater 

The Otolith Group

Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin

07 July – 12 February 2023

The Otolith Group
The Otolith Group, ‘Xenogenesis’, installation view, IMMA, 2022. Courtesy: the artists and IMMA, Dublin; photographer: Ros Kavanagh

Founded in London by Sagar and Kodwo Eshun in 2002, The Otolith Group’s project traces moments of ideological formation and breakdown. Their work, primarily in film, draws connections at different scales – from the formal inventions of marginalized avant-garde figures (The Third Part of the Third Measure, 2017) to material cultures of anti-colonial independence movements (In the Year of the Quiet Sun, 2013) and fantasies of control on a planetary level (Sovereign Sisters, 2014). – Chis Hayes 

‘Living With Ghosts’

Pace Gallery, London 

08 July – 05 August 

Bouchra Khalili Living With Ghosts
Bouchra Khalili, Foreign Office, 2015, film still. Courtesy: Mor Charpentier, Paris and the artist 

Expanding on four years of research, ‘Living with Ghosts’ argues that Africa is the central staging ground for global modernity’s ongoing, five-century-long drama, evident from the fundamental role the continent has played in shaping world-historical events, from the transatlantic slave trade to colonialism to corporatized neo-colonialism. This second iteration urges us to consider that we cannot think about the spectres that inhabit contemporary Africa and its diasporas without considering the ways in which these ghosts haunt the wider world. – KJ Abudu (in conversation with Vanessa Peterson) 

Howardena Pindell 

Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge 

02 July – 30 October 

Howardena Pindell
Howardena Pindell, Free, White and 21, 1980, film still. Courtesy: the artist, Garth Greenan Gallery and Victoria Miro

‘A New Language’ is the first exhibition I have visited that offers an after-care plan of grounding exercises. In the post-show reflection space, I scribble absent-mindedly on multi-coloured paper circles – oversized versions of those in Pindell’s work – my words unclear through tears. I return to Songlines: Connect the Dots (2017), a cloud-like collage in Gallery 2, before leaving. The wall text describes it as ‘an intense relief, a kind of visual healing, some distance from what you have seen’. A momentary dissociation from a nightmare. – Lauren Dei 

Main image: Howardena Pindell, Rope/Fire/Water, 2020, film still. Courtesy: the artist, Garth Greenan Gallery and Victoria Miro

Contemporary Art and Culture