What to See in Europe this Summer

From Marilia Furman’s ‘Monstrous’ at PSM, Berlin, to ‘ARS22: Living Encounters’ at Kiasma, Helsinki, here are our picks

BY frieze in EU Reviews , Exhibition Reviews | 10 JUN 22

Sonja Sekula

Galerie Knoell, Basel, Switzerland

13 May – 2 July 2022

Sonja Sekula, Untitled, 1946, gouache on paper, 37 × 28 cm. Courtesy: the Sonja Sekula Estate and Galerie Knoell, Basel; photograph: Gina Folly

In November 1947, after moving into a small apartment at 326 Monroe Street in Manhattan, close to the Williamsburg Bridge, Swiss-American artist Sonja Sekula penned a letter to her mother. ‘As I write to you looking out of my window,’ she is quoted as saying in Dieter Schwarz’s Sonja Sekula 1918–1963 (1996), ‘I think of all the contemporary American poets and artists who represent their outlook on this strange country, and I find myself beginning to realize that I shall be one of them.’ The move put Sekula at the heart of the New York avant-garde, where she already had contacts within the surrealist circle around André Breton and Max Ernst, and with abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock and Robert Motherwell, while her new neighbours included the composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham. The 1940s and ’50s were to be the most productive period in the artist’s short life. In the mid-1950s, mental health problems forced her to return to her native Switzerland, from where she had emigrated with her family in 1936. She took her own life in Zurich in 1963. – Kito Nedo

‘ARS22: Living Encounters’

Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland

4 April – 16 October 2022

Jenna Sutela, I Magma, 2019, installation view, Kiasma Museum Of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, 2022. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Pirje Mykkänen

Entering ‘ARS22: Living Encounters’ – an exhibition that features 55 artists or groups from 26 countries, who are grappling with hot-button topics such as inequality, climate change, more-than-human life and indigenous wisdom – I braced myself for a kitchen sink stacked high with all that’s wrong with the world. It didn’t help that the exhibition opened mere weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine – Finland shares a 1,340-km border with Russia. ‘We’re gearing up for war’, a local told me. – Kimberly Bradley

Marilia Furman

PSM, Berlin, Germany

28 April – 25 June 2022

Marilia Furman, Monstrous (detail), 2022, plexiglass, smartphones, electrical cables, metal and wire, dimensions variable. Courtesy: the artist and PSM, Berlin; photograph: Marjorie Brunet Plaza

A cacophony of music and foley from Marilia Furman’s solo show ‘Monstrous’ spills out from the entry of PSM, then separates into discrete parts: an orchestral motif from Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin (1850); the call-and-response of military cadence; sinister back-masked laughter; and the hammer click of a cocking gun, among other sounds. Inside, splashed across one wall of the first room, the on-screen sequence Untitled (3 cenas) (Three Scenes, all works 2022) features three plastic barrels that explode volcanically with the at-home chemistry concoction known as ‘elephant’s toothpaste’, while Growing (Hologram) burbles against an opposite baseboard with a one-second snippet from Larry Cohen’s horror-satire The Stuff (1985), about a zombie-making goo sold as a zero-calorie dessert. – Patrick Kurth

Tony Cokes

Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany

6 June – 30 October 2022

Kunstverein Munich, Germany

6 June – 11 September 2022

Tony Cokes, ‘Fragments or just Moments’, 2022, exhibition view, Haus der Kunst, Munich. Courtesy: the artist and Haus der Kunst, Munich; Photo: Maximilian Geuter

Tony Cokes has planned a dual exhibition of works in Munich at the city’s Kunstverein and Haus der Kunst. ‘It will be series of snapshots’, he told me, about the things that happened in Munich between 1937 – the year Paul Ludwig Troost, Hitler’s favourite architect, inaugurated the Haus der Kunst, home to the Nazi party’s inventory of ‘racially pure’ art – and 1972, the year 11 athletes were brutally murdered in Munich’s Olympic village days before the city hosted the Summer Games. The playlist he has made, however, seems like it may veer far from Bavaria’s sordid past. ‘Giorgio Moroder is an obvious pick, but it might be more interesting to find music that isn’t recognizable fully, as such, like international disco produced in Munich in the 1970s, or techno from Berlin and Dusseldorf in the 1990s.’ – Shiv Kotecha

‘I Call it Art’

The National Museum, Oslo, Norway

11 June – 11 September 2022

Borgny Svalastog, Draumkvedet, 2022, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and the National Museum, Oslo

The temporary, contemporary art exhibit ‘I Call it Art’, in the Light Hall on the top floor of the National Museum, features works by Norwegian and Norway-based artists – many of whom were sourced via an open call – that are not yet part of the permanent collection. This includes sensational pieces by lesser-known artists – such as Borgny Svalastog, whose installation and embroidery Draumkvedet (The Dream Poem, 2022) draws on religious traditions to communicate incredibly moving personal stories and affects – as well as student artworks. The exhibition investigates questions of belonging and alienation by placing works with their backs to one another, letting sound pieces momentarily colonize the spaces of other works, violating walking routes, complicating access and contrasting themes.

Main image: ‘ARS22: Living Encounters’, 2022, exhibition view, Kiasma Museum Of Contemporary Art, Helsinki. Courtesy: Kiasma Museum Of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; photograph: Pirje Mykkänen

Contemporary Art and Culture