What to See in Europe This January

From an exhibition dedicated to underground filmmaker Bruce Baillie to a group show addressing the absence of Roma visual culture in European art history

BY frieze in EU Reviews , Exhibition Reviews | 20 JAN 23

‘Somewhere from Here to Heaven’

Azkuna Zentora, Bilbao, Spain

28 October 2022–16 April 2023

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, For Bruce, 2022, film still. Courtesy: the artist

As a pioneering underground filmmaker of the 1960s and ’70s, as co-founder (with Chick Strand) of the legendary West Coast cinematheque/distribution co-op Canyon Cinema, as a naturalist and passionate advocate of the art of attention, Bruce Baillie’s influence is far-reaching. ‘Somewhere from Here to Heaven’, an exhibition at Bilbao’s Azkuna Zentroa dedicated to Baillie, does not provide a primer on the South Dakota-born filmmaker’s life and work so much as it conveys what curator Garbiñe Ortega describes as a ‘constellation’ of his influence. The show places three of his 16mm films in dialogue with newly commissioned works by four contemporary artist-filmmakers he inspired: Ben Rivers, Ana Vaz, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Eduardo Williams. Ren Ebel

Roee Rosen

Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland

26 November 2022–5 February 2023

Roee Rosen, from the series ‘Maxim Komar-Myshkin: Vladimir’s Night’, 2011–2014, gouache with short texts. Courtesy: © the artist and Rosenfeld Gallery, Tel Aviv

Among the personal belongings of Russian poet Efim Poplavsky, who fled to Tel Aviv during the late 1990s under an assumed name, was a folio of more than 30 pages of drawings and texts devoted to Vladimir Putin. Discovered by fellow members of the dissident group Buried Alive, after Poplavsky took his own life in a bout of paranoia, the folio was subsequently published as Vladimir’s Night (2014) by Israeli artist Roee Rosen. On view as part of Rosen’s current retrospective, ‘Kafka for Kids & Other Troubling Tales’, the document reads as a fairy tale in which a quiet meal enjoyed by the Russian president dissolves into gory torture that eventually leads to Putin’s demise. ‘Or maybe he’s asleep,’ reads the last verse, ‘Or maybe not. Remember dear, with Vladimir, things are not what they appear.’ Krzysztof Kościuczuk

Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt

Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin, Germany

2 November 2022–5 February 2023

Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, Gedankengänge (PEACE), 1980s, collage, paper, letterpress. Courtesy: the artist and ChertLüdde, Berlin

‘I had the ambition, like a spider in a web, to spin my threads to every place on earth,’ opines Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt in the wall text of her current exhibition at Berlin’s Kupferstichkabinett. ‘Like a Spider in a Web’ is a survey of the German artist’s extensive practice, with a particular focus on what the artist refers to as ‘typewritings’ (1972–89) – an inventive form of concrete poetics created almost entirely using her Erika typewriter, the ubiquitous technology of East German bureaucracy during the cold war.—Alex Turgeon

June Crespo

P420, Bologna, Italy

26 November 2022–5 February 2023

June Crespo, Untitled (jaw bone) (2), 2022, steel, resin, textile, 113 × 35 × 64 cm. Courtesy: the artist and P420, Bologna

June Crespo’s sculptural assemblages beckon you to come up close and pay attention – to the materials she has chosen, to the traces of her process, to her subtle yet persistent allusion to human bodies. For ‘Acts of pulse’, her first solo show at Bologna-based gallery P420, the Basque sculptor has created a series of new works that combine natural and synthetic materials – such as clay, resin, fibreglass and concrete – with bronze or steel castings.— Ana Vukadin

‘All That We Have in Common’

Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje, North Macedonia

8 November 2022–23 February 2023

Ceija Stojka, The Tumult, 1944, 2008, drawing, ink on paper. Courtesy: @ the artist and Christophe Gaillard Gallery, Paris

Written in three languages, the phrase ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ jumps out from a canary-yellow poster at the entrance to ‘All That We Have in Common’. Created by Roma Jam Session Art Kollectiv, the piece is one of five typographic works that the transnational artist collective made as part of the 2021 project 'Open Roma Culture', which sought to address the absence of Roma visual culture in European art history, museums and archives. Demanding ownership of representations of the Roma community within institutions, the work is a fitting introduction to this group exhibition, which explores issues of erasure, exclusion and marginality in Roma communities in different European political contexts. Erëmirë Krasniqi

Main image: Ben Rivers, The Minotaur, 2022, film still. Courtesy: the artist

Contemporary Art and Culture