The Top 5 Exhibitions to See in Europe this September

From Samuel Fosso’s thousand faces at The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, to a Heidi Bucher retrospective at Muzeum Susch, Zernez

BY frieze in EU Reviews , Exhibition Reviews | 09 SEP 22

Heidi Bucher

Muzeum Susch, Zernez, Switzerland

6 July – 4 December 2022

Heidi Butcher
Heidi Bucher, ‘Metamorphoses’, 2022, exhibition view. Courtesy: © Muzeum Susch / Art Stations Foundation; photograph: Federico Sette

Bucher’s richly articulated retrospective ‘Metamorphoses’, curated by Jana Baumann, is presented by Muzeum Susch. The museum occupies an old monastic brewery carved out of mountain rock, the intimate size of many rooms allows for close encounters with the more than 70 works exhibited. The selection includes several installations, sculptures and works on paper, plus sketches, archival photos and newly restored films, such as Skinning of Gentlemen’s Study (1978) and Skinning of Small Glass Portal (1988), which shows the artist energetically peeling off the thick layers of gauze and latex she has applied to different surfaces, similar to the strappo technique. After drying, Bucher would hang those negative imprints in their original position, as if to reconstruct the room, but also to let it ‘fly. It must get away, far away from reality’, as she explained in a 1978 interview with her son Indigo, quoted in the exhibition’s excellent catalogue. – Barbara Casavecchia

Human Brains: It Begins with an Idea

Fondazione Prada, Venice, Italy

23 April – 27 November 2022

Human Brains
‘Human Brains: It Begins with an Idea’, installation view, Fondazione Prada Venice. Courtesy: the scientists and Fondazione Prada; photograph: Marco Cappelletti

The exhibition chronicles millennia of thought about thought itself and includes more than 100 historical objects from across the world that trace humanity’s attempts to understand the brain. Staged in a black labyrinth of illuminated display cases, these items include ancient medical and philosophical texts that advance theories about the ‘seat of the soul’ – as René Descartes, who believed it to be the pineal gland, defined the mind in Dioptrics (1637) – as well as charms, devices and instructions for understanding epilepsy, mental illness and dreams. – Laura McLean Ferris

Samuel Fosso: The Man with a Thousand Faces

The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany

29 May – 20 November 2022

Samuel Fosso
Samuel Fosso, ‘The Man with a Thousand Faces’, 2022, installation view, The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm. Courtesy: the artist and The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm

The title of Samuel Fosso’s travelling retrospective, ‘The Man with a Thousand Faces’, has more basis in fact than viewers might initially expect. The Cameroonian-born, Nigerian artist’s monumental series ‘SIXSIXSIX’ comprises no less than 666 Polaroid self-portraits taken in his Paris studio between October and November 2015. Exhibited at The Walther Collection as a video slideshow, the series disrupts the mundane archetype of ID-style photographs through subtle changes of expression in each frame. The vast range of emotion on display, indicative of a life marked by death and disruption, renders this work a fitting – even necessary – introduction to Fosso’s five-decade career. – Eric Otieno Sumba 

Anka Au Cas Par Cas

CAPC Musée d’art Contemporain de Bordeaux, France

23 June – 31 December 2022

Anka au cas par cas
Edward Krasiński, Intervention, Zalesie, Poland, 1969. Courtesy: Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, © Anka Ptaszkowska Collection; photograph: Eustachy Kossakowski, Eustachy Kossakowski Archive

In 1973, Anka Ptaszkowska invited Vincent D’Arista to do a show at Galerie 1–36 in Paris. He asked for absolute freedom to do as he wished with the space; she accepted and didn’t flinch when he requested that she rent a bulldozer. The artist eventually abandoned his plan to destroy the gallery and, instead, presented only a photo portrait of his host, which now hangs at the entrance of ‘Anka Au Cas Par Cas’. The embodiment of a memorable anecdote, it makes the best introduction to the exhibition’s protagonist: Ptaszkowska has been an art critic, a curator, a gallerist and a teacher, but, first and foremost, she has been a loyal friend and companion to many radical artists in Poland and France. – Vincent Simon

Nancy Holt: Inside Outside

17 June 2022 – 29 January 2023 

Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden

Nancy Holt: Inside Outside
Nancy Holt, ‘Inside Outside’, 2022, exhibition view. Courtesy: © Holt/Smithson Foundation and Bildmuseet, Umeå

‘Inside Outside’, Nancy Holt’s first major European retrospective, is an expansive survey that raises under-explored questions about the artist’s work. Most closely associated with the land art movement, Holt is best known for her large-scale earthworks, including the monumental Sun Tunnels (1973–76): four concrete cylinders which frame the rising and setting sun during the winter and summer solstices installed in Utah’s Great Basin Desert. Although these works are well represented, it is the artist’s lesser-known pieces that surprise and show the full extent of her inquiry into systems, time, space and location. – Matthew Rana

Main image: Heidi Bucher, Skinning Herrenzimmer, 1978. Courtesy: The Estate of Heidi Bucher; photograph: Hans Peter Siffert

Contemporary Art and Culture