On Our Radar: The Best Exhibitions in Europe Right Now

What’s on in Europe this fortnight: from Rosemary Mayer’s fabric sculptures in Berlin to Isaac Julien’s homage to Lina Bo Bardi in Rome

BY Carina Bukuts in Critic's Guides | 01 OCT 20

steirischer herbst, Paranoia TV, 2020, video still. Courtesy: steirischer herbst

steirischer herbst, Graz, Austria

The 2020 edition of Austria's steirischer herbst festival has kicked off in Graz – on site. A new online format, Paranoia TV, responds to the uncertainties of the global pandemic. Both formats include specially commissioned works by over 40 artists, including Akinbode Akinbiyi, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Ahmet Öğüt, Joanna Piotrowska and Roee Rosen. Until 18 October

Rosemary Mayer, Hroswitha, 1972-73, flannel, rayon, nylon netting, fiberglass rayon, ribbon, dyes, wood, and acrylic paint, 295 × 175 × 30 cm. Courtesy: the Estate of Rosemary Mayer and ChertLüdde

Rosemary Mayer at ChertLüdde, Berlin, Germany

One of the show-stealers at this year's Berlin Gallery Weekend was Rosemary Mayer’s ‘Rods Bent Into Bows’, at ChertLüdde. Featuring a selection of beautifully-draping fabric sculptures and drawings from the early 1970s, its the first solo exhibition in Europe of the late US artist. Until October 31

Lucy McKenzie at Museum Brandhorst, Munich, Germany

Perhaps best known for her trompe-l’oeil paintings, Lucy McKenzie’s current exhibition in Munich proves that the Glasgow-based artist can’t be categorized. As frieze's Aaron Peck writes, McKenzie is rather a maximalist than a minimalist. On view are large-scale installations, clothes from the fashion label Atelier E.B and a selection of paintings. ‘Prime Suspect’ runs until 21 February


Tarek Atoui, The Reverse Collection 2014–2016, performance documentation, Tate Modern, London, 2016. Courtesy: the artist and Tate Modern, London; photograph: Thierry Bal

Tarek Atoui, Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany

Since 2015, Paris-based artist Tarek Atoui has been recording the sounds of city ports across the world as part of his project I/E. They’re now the core of his first solo exhibition in Germany. ‘Waters’ Witness’ opens this weekend – and do check out Atoui's questionnaire from frieze's April 2020 issue. Until 17 January 2021

‘Aby Warburg: Bilderatlas Mnemosyne at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany

In a historic milestone, art historian Aby Warburg’s unfinished Mnemosyne Atlas (1924–29) has now been meticulously re-assembled. Curated by Roberto Ohrt and Axel Heil, with London's Warburg Institute, the show reveals that Warburg’s approach to visual memory has many similarities with today’s digital image encyclopaedias. Read more in frieze here on Warburg’s atlas. Until 30 November


Isaac Julien, Lina Bo Bardi – A Marvellous Entanglement, 2019, video still. Courtesy: the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice  

Lina Bo Bardi: A Marvellous Entanglement at MAXXI, Rome, Italy

Filmmaker Isaac Julien pays tribute to modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi with ‘Lina Bo Bardi: A Marvellous Entanglement’. The heart of the show is an impressive, nine-channel video installation Julien worked on for six years. The piece not only focusses on Bo Bardi’s ambitious architectural projects but also draws attention to her personal life and her migration from Italy to Brazil. Until 12 January

Merlin James, P420, Bologna, Italy

P420 presents a solo exhibition of Scottish artist Merlin James featuring James’s ethereal paintings on canvas from past decades. Until 7 November

Maria Loboda, The Dance of Inhabitants of the House of Hypatia, 2020, lightbox, stained glass,130 × 90 × 10 cm. Courtesy: the artist

Warsaw Gallery Weekend, Poland

With many art fairs and biennials disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, local decentralized events such as art weeks and gallery weekends are gaining in popularity. The 10th edition of Warsaw Gallery Weekend kicks off on Friday. Our tip: Maria Loboda’s presentation of new installations and sculptures at Wschód. ‘Her Dark Materials’ is on view until 7 November.

Stay tuned for our next round-up of exhibitions in Europe, which we'll publish on 14 October.

Main image: Tarek Atoui and Chris Watson launching Hydrophones on the beach next to Elefsina port, I/E project, June 2015; photograph: Alexandre Guirkinger

Carina Bukuts is associate editor of frieze. She is based in Berlin, Germany.