What to See in Europe this April

From Anthea Hamilton's pun-filled retrospective at M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium, to Lap-See Lam's ambitious debut at Bonniers Konsthall, Sweden, here's what not to miss

BY frieze in EU Reviews , Exhibition Reviews | 01 APR 22

Bruno Zhu

Cordova, Barcelona, Spain

19 March – 28 May 2022

Bruno Zhu, Are you ok? (detail), 2022, satin, quartz clock movement, batteries, foam, plastic, dimensions variable. Courtesy: the artist and Cordova, Barcelona; photograph: Roberto Ruiz

An outsized satin wristwatch hangs in Cordova’s small office. Large blue gingham and orange vinyl stars span the walls, windows, doors, floor and ceiling of the adjacent gallery. Bruno Zhu’s exhibition, ‘I am not afraid’, can be consumed quickly and, as its title assures, apprehended without alarm. Yet, the digestion of its curiouser-and-curiouser blend of scalable and temporal enigmas, and autobiography with fiction, appropriately transpires more gradually. — Max Andrews

Anicka Yi

Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, Italy

24 February – 24 July 2022


Anicka Yi, ‘Metaspore’, 2022, exhibition view, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan. Courtesy: the artist and Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan; photograph: Agostino Osio

The vast open space of the former Pirelli tyre factory, which was turned into HangarBicocca’s exhibition space in 2012, provides the perfect vessel in which to gather voluminous work from throughout Yi’s practice for ‘Metaspore’ – a neologism of the artist’s own making – her most comprehensive show to date. In many ways, this exhibition charts how Yi has developed her use of organic materials as signifiers of survival and metabolism, as well as the formative beginnings of an ongoing enquiry into bacterial processes. — Saim Demircan

Lap-See Lam

Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden

09 February – 03 April 2022

Lap-See Lam, ‘Dreamers’ Quay, Dreamer’s Key’, 2022, installation view, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm. Courtesy: the artist and Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm/Berlin/Mexico City; photograph: Jean-Baptiste Béranger

In this much-anticipated exhibition, Lap-See Lam debuts the ambitious final chapter in a trilogy of works that engages the aesthetics of Chinese restaurants in the artist’s native Sweden by meticulously 3D-scanning their interiors. Continuing where her Performa-commissioned, virtual-reality piece Phantom Banquet (2019–21) leaves off, the exhibition’s centrepiece, the immersive ten-channel video installation Dreamers’ Quay (2022), draws on the ancient Chinese tradition of the shadow play to tell the story of A’Yan, a teenage girl who, while working in her mother’s restaurant, is transported – through a barrel of rice, no less – into a dreamworld full of suspect characters and 18th-century chinoiserie. Over four acts, we follow A’Yan across time, from 1753 to 1944 and beyond, as she pursues the Singing Chef, a psychopomp who, when not singing plaintive songs of loss and longing, smokes cigarettes and shouts advice in Cantonese, which A’Yan translates for us.  Matthew Rana

Anthea Hamilton

M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium

18 February – 15 May 2022

Anthea Hamilton, Olympian, 2005, Sellotape, magazine collage, paper on painted Polystyrene, teapot top, rolled up posters, ceramic mat, variable dimensions. Courtesy: the artist and Collection Nicoletta Fiorucci Russo De Li Galli, London

British diplomat Sir William Hamilton was a supreme tastemaker of the late 18th century. Over 30 years in Naples, he amassed Florentine paintings, Etruscan pots, plunder from Pompeii and Roman glassware. Sold to museums and wealthy aristocrats in the UK, these ‘discoveries’ helped shape fashion in the arts for over a century. As per Enlightenment ideals, Hamilton was also a geologist, detailing volcanic activity in the area outside Naples known as Campi Flegrei: the ‘flaming fields’. Over two centuries later, Sir William’s namesake, Anthea Hamilton – lover of puns, coincidence and false trails – used a poster of the Campi Flegrei in Olympian (2006), an assemblage on view in ‘Mash Up’, the artist’s first museum survey. — Hettie Judah

Rabih Mroué

KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany

19 February – 1 May 2022

Rabih Mroué, Leap Year's Diary, 2006-16, 366 collages on paper. Courtesy: the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut/Hamburg

From the day the Lebanon War started on 12 July 2006, until the day Michel Aoun was finally appointed president on 31 October 2016, after more than 30 inconclusive elections, Beirut-born artist, director and playwright Rabih Mroué kept a unique diary of events in his home country. Over the course of the decade, he cut out images from Lebanese and international newspapers and glued them onto individual sheets of white paper: soldiers carrying a body on a stretcher; ships that remained in port because of a naval blockade; a forlorn-looking couple with their belongings packed in plastic bags; fragments of a barbed-wire fence; the trail of a launched missile flying past a jeep. Comprising 366 images – one for each day of the leap year in which the project was completed – Leap Year’s Diary (2006–16) is one of the central works in ‘Under the Carpet’ at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Mroué’s long-overdue solo exhibition in Berlin, the city he moved to in 2013. — Carina Bukuts

Main image: Rabih Mroué, The Pixelated Revolution, 2012, film still. Courtesy: the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut/Hamburg

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