What to See Around the World in January

From Nan Goldin’s canonical photography at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, to Yayoi Kusama’s bold palette at M+, Hong Kong, here are five institutional exhibitions not to be missed

BY frieze in EU Reviews , Exhibition Reviews | 04 JAN 23

Nan Goldin

Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden

29 October 2022 – 26 February 2023

Nan Goldin, Fashion show at Second Tip, Toon, C, So and Yogo, Bangkok, 1992, from slideshow ‘The Other Side’, 1992–2021. Courtesy: © Nan Goldin

‘I don’t ever want to be susceptible to anyone else’s version of my history,’ Nan Goldin writes at the end of the catalogue essay for her monumental photographic work The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, published in 1986. More than 35 years later, the title of Goldin’s retrospective at Moderna Museet in Stockholm could be read as a response to that understandable desire to be in control of her own narrative: ‘This Will Not End Well.’ Goldin’s history has been absorbed into the collective cultural imagination; it has become canonical, and it is no longer hers alone. Natasha Marie Llorens 

Yayoi Kusama

M+ museum
, Hong Kong

12 November 2022 – 14 May 2023

‘Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now’, 2022, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and M+, Hong Kong; photograph: Lok Cheng

Yayoi Kusama’s major retrospective at Hong Kong’s M+ museum opens with a self-portrait: the artist as a young woman, covered in black dots, against a yellow-on-black net background. The 2015 painting bears the hallmarks of the Kusama that everyone knows today: the bold palette, the profuse patterning, even the subject’s blunt bob. But what is more intriguing about this work – and more pertinent to the story that curators Doryun Chong and Mika Yoshitake set out to tell – is the artist’s persona. Examining a longer period than typical exhibitions of the Japanese icon, ‘Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now’ reveals an artist who has always been preoccupied with the relationship between interior and exterior, connecting the recurring motifs of Kusama’s seven-decade career to her longstanding engagement with self, space and spectacle. Ophelia Lai

Nairy Baghramian 

Nasher Sculpture Center, US

15 October 2022 – 8 January 2023

Nairy Baghramian, ‘Modèle vivant’, 2022, installation view. Courtesy: the artist, kurimanzutto, Marian Goodman Gallery and Nasher Sculpture Center; photograph: Kevin Todora

Hanging from the vaulted-glass ceiling of the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, long S-hooks extend down several metres, nearly to the floor. Metal rods shoot out of their shanks like branches, dangling large slabs of both smooth and textured aluminum. With these enigmatic sculptures, artist Nairy Baghramian continues her exploration of power and the body, expanding her visual vocabulary in unexpected ways. Jia Jia Huang

58th Carnegie International

Various venues, Carnegie, US

24 September 2022 – 2 April 2023

thu-van-tran-colors-of Grey-carnegie-museum-of-art
Thu Van Tran, Colors of Grey, 2022, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Carnegie Museum of Art; photograph: Sean Eaton

‘Is it morning for you yet?’, the 58th Carnegie International, borrows its title from the Mayan Kaqchikel expression for ‘good morning’. It also reads as a plea: have we awoken from this nightmare? Foregrounding the impact of US imperialism since 1945, the exhibition reaches into pasts that occupy the present, cracking open perpetrations obscured in collective consciousness or rarely apprehended together. With such an ambitious mandate, the show inevitably has its paradoxes: namely, how to de-centre the US while the country remains the protagonist of its thesis. At the same time, such oppositions – even contradictions – are key to its methodology. It is conceptually and structurally hybrid with works that range between abstraction and figuration, sorrow and hope, the historical and the contemporary.  Margaret Kross

Jala Wahid

Baltic, Gateshead, UK

22 October 2022 – 30 April 2023

Jala Wahid, ‘Conflagration’, 2022, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and BALTIC, Gateshead

This pared-back installation has the feel of a deconstructed stage play. In place of actors, three new artworks perform a lament within a dramatically lit, maroon-painted set. Baba Gurgur (all works 2022), a monumental sculpture, holds centre stage. Naphtha Maqam, a sound work interlacing Kurdish melodies with English vocals, unfolds plot and song over the course of an hour, while the light work Sick Pink Sun (03:00 14.10.1927 –) illuminates the installation with its unchanging fuchsia spot. Set within an eternally burning fire – in a time that is at once past, present and future – the players of Jala Wahid’s epic ‘Conflagration’ keen the futility of destruction havocked in the interest of politics. Rosalie Doubal

Main image: Nan Goldin, French Chris on the Convertible, New York City, 1979. Courtesy: © Nan Goldin

Contemporary Art and Culture