The Top 5 Exhibitions to See in the EU This July

From Sylvie Fleury’s playful survey show in Italy to Liesel Burisch’s first solo institutional exhibition in Denmark

BY frieze in EU Reviews , Exhibition Reviews | 08 JUL 22

Sylvie Fleury

Pinacoteca Agnelli, Turin, Italy

27 May – 15 January

Sylvie Fleury, Wild Pairs, 2022, installation view. Courtesy: the artist 

How better to reopen the newly female-led Pinacoteca Agnelli – relaunched in May under the directorship of Sarah Cosulich – than with a survey of Sylvie Fleury? Home to Gianni Agnelli’s (predominantly male) art collection, the museum is housed within Turin’s converted Lingotto building: the former Fiat car factory famed for its rooftop test track, which now sits, halo-like, atop a shopping mall. Since the 1990s, Fleury has humoured the aesthetics and advertising of luxury goods, paying particular note to how women are targeted commercially. Appropriating liberally from fashion and retail, the artist also has an eye for the erotica of sleek car design. From the outset – the double entendre of the exhibition’s title, ‘Turn Me On’, reads as both arousal and ignition – Fleury posits the libidinal as the baseline of consumerism. – Saim Demircan

Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa

M Leuven, Belgium

6 May – 30 October

Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, The House at Kawinal, 2018, installation view. Courtesy: Mendes Wood DM, Brussels/New York/São Paulo, Sies + Höke, Dusseldorf, and Proyectos Ultravioleta, Guatemala; Photo: Miles Fischler

On the short train ride from Brussels to Leuven, I learn from my companion, Canadian-Guatemalan artist Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, that cacaxte is a term of Nahuatl origin used in Latin America to designate a large wooden frame for transporting goods. Indigenous populations employed cacaxtes long before European colonizers ‘hijacked’ the device – using local people as bearers – for their inland extractivist expeditions. I am travelling with the artist to his current survey show at M Leuven, in which he presents work that considers both the cacaxte’s mythical significance and its connection to the persistent impact of colonial oppression in the region. – Fernanda Brenner

Sven Johne

Galerie Nagel Draxler, Cologne, Germany

21 May – 20 August

‘Nabel der Welt’, exhibition view, Galerie Nagel Draxler, Cologne. Courtesy: Sven Johne and Galerie Nagel Draxler, Berlin/Cologne/Munich; photograph: Simon Vogel

In August 2020, Sassnitz, a small port town on Rügen Island in the Baltic Sea, made international headlines after US senators threatened to impose sanctions to prevent the completion of the Russian-German Gazprom pipeline, Nord Stream 2. The US administration was outspokenly hostile about the project, due to fears that Russia could abuse rising gas sales as a tool for geopolitical blackmail in Europe. Prompted by the pipeline dispute, Berlin-based artist Sven Johne spent four weeks interviewing the citizens of Sassnitz with screen-writer Sebastian Orlac in autumn 2021. Following this field study, Johne produced Nabel der Welt (Navel of the World, all works 2022), a large-format digital collage comprising 15 bird’s-eye views of the town and its port. But what can we really learn about Sassnitz from floating above its surface at a safe distance? – Kito Nedo

Liesel Burisch

O—Overgaden, Copenhagen, Denmark

11 June – 7 August

Karin Salathé for Liesel Burisch, Never Stop, 2022, production still. Courtesy: the artist and O—Overgaden

Two friends are entwined on a bed, sipping champagne. There’s anticipation in the air as the duo, clad in faux leather and snakeskin, laugh and talk. ‘What is missing in your life?’ performance artist Jesseline Preach (aka Fathoeburger) asks. ‘Everything … and, in a way, nothing,’ fellow artist and singer Don Jegosah replies. This is the kind of question asked in those in-between moments – before and after a party – when you’re coming up or coming down and the performative armour of the night is absent. It’s these instances that form the focus of Liesel Burisch’s exhibition, ‘Bring Time’. – Alice Godwin

Lili Reynaud-Dewar

Layer, Vienna, Austria

9 June – 30 July

Lili Reynaud-Dewar, What's your relationship with money?, 2022, print on Dynajet foil mounted on aluminium frame, 90 × 140 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Layr Vienna

‘I invited men into my hotel room and asked them very personal questions about their lives’ is an exhibition that positions speech as the primary means of sexual differentiation. Lili Reynaud-Dewar is the titular hostess, her likeness reproduced 14 times in ten mounted, aluminium-framed prints and four cylindrical, printed-silk lampshades (all 2022). Here, continuing a decade-long practice of representing her body unclothed yet painted, Reynaud-Dewar’s naked skin is coloured a shade of vermillion. The scale used in these images is slightly less than that of real life, with the resulting impish quality of the red figure recalling Anne Carson’s winged monster Geryon in her 1998 novel Autobiography of Red, but without any of the queer, adolescent angst. Instead, the artist guarantees the figures’ self-assuredness through the act of questioning: each of the wall prints are underscored by a ‘very personal’ question, printed below each image – for example, ‘How do you relate to masculinity?’, ‘What are your views on private property?’ and ‘Do you own real estate?’ – Miriam Stoney

Main Image: Karin Salathé for Liesel Burisch, Never Stop, production still, 2022. Courtesy: the artist and O—Overgaden

Contemporary Art and Culture