On Our Radar: The Best Exhibitions in Europe Right Now

From Angela Davis in Dresden to Dadaist antics at Zürich's Cabaret Voltaire

BY Carina Bukuts in Critic's Guides | 15 OCT 20

Carrie Mae Weems, Josephine Baker, from the series 'Slow Fade to Black', 2009–2011, digitial print on paper, 125 × 94 × 4 cm. Courtes: the artist, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, and Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin

‘1 Million Roses for Angela Davis’ at Kunsthalle Lipsiusbau, Dresden, Germany

Fifty years ago, the GDR organized ‘A Million Roses for Angela’ (1970–72), a postcard solidarity campaign that called for the release of activist Angela Davis, who at the time was being held on terrorism charges in the US. At Dresden’s Kunsthalle Lipsiusbau, the exhibition ‘1 Million Roses for Angela Davis’ looks at the relationship between the GDR and the Black activist and how her calls for social justice influenced discussions about racism in Germany. The show includes works by Ellen Gallagher, Arthur Jafa, Julie Mehretu, Senga Nengudi, Ahmet Öğüt and Julia Phillips. Until 24 January 2021

Vivian Suter, 'Bonzo’s Dream', 2020, exhibition view, Brücke-Museum, Berlin. Courtesy: the artist, Gladstone Gallery, New York /Brussels; House of Gaga, Mexico City; Karma International, Zurich and Proyectos Ultravioleta, Guatelama City; photograph: Roman März. 

Vivian Suter at Brücke Museum, Berlin, Germany

Elisabeth Wild at Karma International, Zurich, Switzerland

‘Swiss artists who aren’t from Switzerland; a mother and daughter who function almost like a monad; artists who left Europe to be alone and ended up together,’ writes Pablo Larios in his profile on Vivian Suter and the late Elisabeth Wild, both of whom are now the focus of solo exhibitions in Europe. While Adam Szymczyk has curated a beautiful show of Wild’s colourful, geometric collages at Karma International, which is on view until 24 October, Suter’s large abstract unstretched canvases currently fill the galleries of Berlin’s Brücke Museum. ‘Bonzo’s Dream’ continues until 14 February

Agnes Scherer, 'The Teacher', 2019, exhibition view, Kinderhook & Caracas, Berlin. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Vasileios Zarifopoulos

Agnes Scherer, Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, Switzerland

Since 2015, Berlin-based artist Agnes Scherer has been staging mesmerizing operettas. The Teacher (2019), a puppet play about didactics and power relationships, is currently on view at Zurich’s infamous Cabaret Voltaire. Known as an artistic nightclub founded by Hugo Ball in 1916, Cabaret Voltaire is now a cultural centre which looks at the Dadaists’ radical artistic and political ideas from today’s perspective. With Scherer’s unique approach bringing together performance, stagecraft and painting, there couldn’t be a better place to see her operetta than the birthplace of Dadaism. To learn more about Scherer’s work, read Stanton Taylor’s review here. The Teacher’ runs until 3 January with performances on 8 and 10 December

Pati Hill, Alphabet of Common Objects, 1977-79, installation view, Air de Paris. Courtesy: Air de Paris and Pati Hill Collection, Arcadia University

Pati Hill, Air de Paris, Paris, France

In the 1970s, Pati Hill started using the photocopier as an artistic tool to create works that explored the relationship between text and image while drawing attention to the domestic labour of women. Having been underrepresented in art museums and galleries for years, Hill’s work is finally garnering some long-overdue attention. Following an exhibition at Kunstverein München in March (read a review here), which travels to Kunsthalle Zürich this winter, Air de Paris is currently hosting the first exhibition in France of Hill’s work since her death in 2014, a highlight of which is the series ‘Women and Vacuum Cleaners’ (1962–2014). Until 17 October

Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Stuart’s Way (a work in Progress), 2020, installation view, Manifesta 13, Marseille. Courtesy: the artist and Manifesta 13;  photograph: Jean-Christophe Lett

Manifesta 13, Marseille, France

‘Traits d’union.s’ (Hyphens), this year’s edition of the European nomadic biennial Manifesta, is being held in Marseille and presents six different narratives of the city. ‘The Refuge: Waiting for New Beginnings’ at Musée Cantini draws attention to Marseille’s importance during World War II, when many European intellectuals fled here – including Anna Seghers, who began writing her exile novel, Transit (1942), while living in the city. Featuring historical works by artists such as André Breton and Max Ernst, as well as contemporary pieces by Marc Camille Chaimowicz and Reena Spaulings, this exhibition looks at the ways in which artists explore isolation and refuge. Until 29 November

Tetsumi Kudo, Cultivation by Radioactivity in the Electronic Circuit, 1968, mixed media. Courtesy: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art ©Tetsumi Kudo Adagp, Paris 2020 / VISDA  

Tetsumi Kudo, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark

In the 1960s and ’70s, Tetsumi Kudo created peculiar sculptures, resembling small hothouses or birdcages, which featured fake flowers, thermometers and cast-resin body parts. These works are now the focus of the Japanese artist’s retrospective at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Given our increasing concern about the dangers of global climate change, now is the perfect time to revisit Kudo’s belief in a new ecological model, in which the human and the organic are in symbiosis with technology. Read Steven Zultanski’s review of the exhibition here. Until 10 January 2021

Stay tuned for our next round-up of exhibitions in Europe, which we'll publish on 28 October.

Main image: '1 Million Roses for Angela!', 1971, postcard campaign. Courtesy: Verlag 8. Mai GmbH/Junge Welt

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