BY frieze in Exhibition Reviews | 24 NOV 23

What to See in London This Winter

From Richard Prince’s nightmarish appropriations at Gagosian to Lisetta Carmi’s recently rediscovered photographs at Estorick Collection

BY frieze in Exhibition Reviews | 24 NOV 23

Lutz Bacher

Raven Row, London

5 October – 17 December

Lutz Bacher, Untitled (Diana), 1997
Lutz Bacher, Untitled (Diana), 1997, video still. Courtesy: Estate of Lutz Bacher and Galerie Buchholz

The graphic in the corner reads ‘LIVE’ but the story is done, the action passed. The princess is dead. VHS, the medium on which the footage was recorded, is defunct too, and the world of broadcast media changed drastically since this event: the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in London’s Westminster Abbey in 1997.

In Lutz Bacher’s Untitled (Diana) (1997), a short clip of the broadcast plays on loop. In it, Diana’s coffin glides into the Abbey like a barge. The angle of the camera shifts, so the object of vision lurches and slides strangely. I had to watch many times to clock the moment when the background transitions from chipped stone stairs to a sea of black and white tiles. A cross carried ahead of the procession bobs at the edge of the frame; at times, the coffin seems about to catch up to it, but never quite does. – Matthew McLean

Richard Prince

Gagosian, London

5 October – 22 December

Richard Prince, Untitled (Fashion), 1983
Richard Prince, Untitled (Fashion), 1983, chromogenic print. Courtesy: © Richard Prince and Gagosian, London; photograph: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd 

Richard Prince has always seemed like an unknown quantity, and the sum of his work often diverts efforts to form a coherent image of the artist. Despite his proficient writing, he endures in a tight-lipped gloom somewhere in the vicinity of New York. What is known about his early years reads like gonzo fiction: he was born in 1949 in the Panama Canal Zone to an arms dealer father who meddled in Cuba. At age 18, he was allegedly told by the author J.G. Ballard that he was ‘living inside an enormous novel’. Later, in mid-1970s New York, he clipped pictures for Time and Life magazines, where he hit on the idea of rephotographing advertisements and reprinting them as his own work. Ever since, he has stalked the image world like a vampire – the wooden stakes of several copyright lawsuits having so far failed to stop his heart. At Gagosian, ‘Early Photographic Work 1977–87’ revisits this first, ambitious period. – Andrew Durbin

Marina Abramović 

Royal Academy of Arts, London

23 September – 1 January 2024

Marina Abramović, Nude with Skeleton, 2005
Marina Abramović, Nude with Skeleton, 2005, performance for video. Courtesy: Marina Abramović Archives. © Marina Abramović

On a low, coffin-sized screen in London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA), silent footage plays of Marina Abramović lying back against a gallery floor, a human skeleton resting face-up atop her naked body. The pioneering Serbian performance artist gurns and groans as though her pale, bony burden were an assailant or perhaps a lover, her theatrically laboured breathing making it rise and fall in a trembling imitation of life. This video documents her durational work Nude with Skeleton (2002), which is re-enacted on a shelf installed above the screen by a young live performer trained by Abramović. Unlike the artist, her proxy doesn’t chew the scenery. A calm, almost meditative presence, she appears to have made peace with the heavy memento mori resting on her ribcage. Perhaps she’s simply learned to blot out all exterior stimuli until she can sit up and stretch. The work’s running time is 16 minutes. By the standards of Abramović’s performances – which can famously last days, weeks, even months – this is a mere blinking of the eye. – Tom Morton

Lisetta Carmi

Estorick Collection, London

20 September – 17 December 

Lisetta Carmi, I Travestiti,  Audrey, Genoa, 1965–70. Courtesy: © Martini & Ronchetti and Archivio Lisetta Carmi

The first British museum exhibition of Italian photographer Lisetta Carmi, who died last year aged 98, focuses on two of her series – one of which grew out of the other. Carmi’s interest in documenting the industrial landscape and the working conditions at the steelworks in her native Genoa during the mid-1960s led her to meet a group of trans women, and to capture not just their clandestine gatherings but their everyday lives. Perhaps because they’re both shot in the same city, the two series unexpectedly complement each other, united by Carmi’s sensitive, humanist attitude to her subjects and their social conditions, but also by her expert eye for light and shadow. Originally published in black and white in 1972, ‘I Travestiti’ (The Transvestites) here explodes into colour with recently rediscovered images that bring a completely different atmosphere to her work. – Juliet Jacques

Marianne Keating 

The Showroom, London

13 October – 13 January 2024

Marianne Keating, An Ciúnas / The Silence, 2023
Marianne Keating, An Ciúnas / The Silence, 2023, film still (detail), 'Irish women protest in New York, while British officers await transportation to Jamaica'. Courtesy: Central News Photo Service, 1920, University College Dublin Archives

Over the last ten years, artist Marianne Keating has investigated colonial histories linking Ireland and Jamaica, particularly narratives of Irish migration to the Caribbean island around the Great Famine of 1845–52. An Ciúas / The Silence (2023), her new work on the subject, is presented as a three-screen, 57-minute film installation. Drawing heavily on state and broadcast-media archives, Keating’s film deftly combines found footage, news interviews and extracts from government documents with her own films of landscapes and the occasional new interview. – Crystal Bennes

Main image: Richard Prince, Untitled (Jewels, Watch, and Pocketbook), 1978–79, Ektacolour photograph. Courtesy: © Richard Prince and Gagosian, London; photograph: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd 

Contemporary Art and Culture