Top Exhibitions to See from Around the Globe

Whether you’re holidaying in Europe or the US, here are the best exhibitions to visit across the continents this summer

BY frieze in Critic's Guides , Exhibition Reviews | 06 JUL 22

Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa
M Leuven, Belgium 
06 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.

Ramírez-Figueroa often defines his artistic practice as one of storytelling and prop-making, which is often informed by, but distinct from, theatre. In the installation Deus Ex Machina (2021), for instance, he refers to a trope in ancient Greek theatre, in which a god comes down to resolve an apparently unsolvable problem for mortals. In these plays, the divinity would often appear hanging from ropes. Here, however, Ramirez Figueroa hangs a bronze branch in place of a deity, which is surrounded by masks that refer to the saints and gods who, in Guatemalan folklore, represent the protection of nature. – Fernanda Brenner  

‘Afro-Atlantic Histories’
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., US 
10 April – 17 July 

Samuel Fosso Self‐Portrait (as Liberated American Woman of the ’70s), 1997, printed 2003 chromogenic print The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by Nina and Michael Zilkha © 1997 Samuel Fosso, courtesy JM. Patras / Paris
Samuel Fosso, Self‐Portrait (as Liberated American Woman of the ’70s), 1997, printed 2003, chromogenic print. Courtesy: the artist, National Gallery of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and JM. Patras / Paris

In a 2018 article for this magazine, I argued that Toyin Ojih Odutola’s portraits of a fictional Nigerian aristocracy were radical for depicting their protagonists at leisure, cementing a Black experience entirely devoid of struggle or oppression. Four years on, ‘Afro-Atlantic Histories’ is setting a similar benchmark, arguing for an art-historical narrative that defies its non-Black viewers to walk away thinking – however beautiful or terrible an experience for Black people it might represent – that it has nothing to do with them. – Chase Hall 

The 12th Berlin Biennale
Various venues, Berlin, Germany 
11 June – 18 September 

Mai Nguyễn-Long, Vomit Girl (Berlin Cluster), 2022 (front) and Etinosa Yvonne, It’s All In My Head, 2019–20 (back), installation view, 12th Berlin Biennale, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin. Courtesy: the artists and Berlin Biennale; photograph: Silke Briel

One of the Biennale’s curatorial threads examines the ways in which the generational trauma of French colonialism is metabolized in the body, most notably in Tuan Andrew Nguyễn’s four-channel video installation The Specter of Ancestors Becoming (2019) about the descendants of Senegalese tirailleurs who took Vietnamese wives. Also of note are Mai Nguyễn-Long’s delightful Vomit Girl (Berlin Cluster) (2022), clay sculptures inspired by Vietnamese Dinh architecture, and her unnerving installation of doll parts and plants in jars that recall specimens of Agent Orange-affected organs and foetuses (Specimen, 2014). – Rahel Aima 

Lili Reynaud-Dewar
Layr, Vienna, Austria 
09 June – 30 July 

Lili Reynaud-Dewar What's your relationship with money ?, 2022 Print on Dynajet foil mounted on aluminium frame 90 x 140 cm
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. – Miriam Stoney

Douglas Gordon 
Dundee Contemporary Arts
29 May – 07 August 2022

Douglas Gordon
Douglas Gordon, ‘k.364’, installation view. Courtesy: the artist, Gagosian, London, and Kamel Meenour Gallery, Paris; photograph: Ruth Clark

In one sense, the presentation of Douglas Gordon’s k.364 (2010) at Dundee Contemporary – its first showing at a UK public institution – marks a homecoming for the influential Scottish artist. This seems appropriate for a film that centres on personal and artistic return: what does it mean to go back? How can the story of such a journey be represented? – Helen Charman 

Main image: Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Patrick Potot, Hotel du Pré, Room 506, Paris, March 2022, 2022, video, edition of 2 plus 1 artist's proof. Courtesy: the artist and Layr Vienna

Contemporary Art and Culture