BY frieze in Critic's Guides | 22 SEP 23

What to See in the UK and Ireland in Autumn

From Sarah Lucas’s hotly anticipated retrospective at Tate Britain to Christian Marclay’s Kafkaesque Nightmare at White Cube Mason’s Yard

BY frieze in Critic's Guides | 22 SEP 23

Marina Abramović

Royal Academy of Art, London, UK 

23 September 2023 – 1 January 2024

Portrait of Marina Abramović dressed in black and looking downwards
Portrait of Marina Abramović, 2022; Courtesy: CIRCA and the artist; Photographer: Marco Anelli 

I could never have performed The Artist Is Present [2010] in the 1970s because the audience wasn’t prepared for it then. Timing is so important when making art. Around 1985-86, I was asked what the future of art is. I said that I see it as the transmission of the artist’s experience to the audience in an immaterial way – an exchange of energy. – Marina Abramović in conversation with Angel Lambo

Marina Abramović’s Institute Takeover is at the Southbank Centre, London, from 4–8 October 

Christian Marclay

White Cube Mason’s Yard, London, UK  

6–30 September 2023 

Christian Marclay
Christian Marclay, Doors, 2022, single-channel video. Courtesy: © the artist and White Cube

Doors, of course, mark the threshold between two spaces but, in Marclay’s video, they also become thresholds between two films, two fictional worlds. It’s a work in which John Travolta can exit one scene and enter another, having seemingly transformed into Sidney Poitier, Audrey Hepburn or even the creepy spectre of Woody Allen. Such unlikely shifts in identity are mirrored in shifts in cinematic genre. One quickfire edit and an obscure German B-movie segues into a French New Wave classic, or a 1980s American blockbuster. – Tom Morton

EVA International

Various Venues, Limerick, Ireland 

31 August – 29 October 2023 

Clodagh Emoe, Reflections on a City Lot, 2023, installation view. Courtesy: EVA International

The core programme of the 40th edition of EVA International, which describes itself as ‘Ireland’s biennial of contemporary art’, revolves around ideas of citizenship. Examined in the context of both the individual and the nation-state, citizenship was a topic that felt especially relevant according to director Matt Packer and his team as they prepared for this year’s edition. – Nadia Egan 

Gabriel Massan

Serpentine North, London, UK 

23 June – 22 October 2023

Gabriel Massan, 'Third World: The Bottom Dimension', 2023, installation view. Courtesy: Serpentine; photograph: Hugo Glendinning

Gabriel Massan’s ‘Third World: The Bottom Dimension’ impels us to question our tendencies toward Western hegemonic attitudes: to engage in the objectification of a nation; to study, classify and then proceed in wealth extraction. Massan’s project is ultimately a world-building exercise, prompting participants to reimagine attitudes toward the unknown and to scrutinize what we think constitutes development. – Thara Parambi

Lisetta Carmi

Estorik Collection, London, UK

20 September – 17 December 2023 

Lisetta Carmi, I Travestiti, Genova (The Transvestites, Genoa), 1965–67, photograph. Courtesy: © the artist, Galeria d'arte Martini & Ronchetti, Genoa, and Galerie Antoine Levi, Paris 

Carmi’s portraits are intimate and empathetic, giving the subjects a rare chance to reveal themselves: sometimes literally, as in the photograph of an unnamed transvestite hitching up her skirt to expose the top of her stockings, or another pulling down a part of her dress to reveal her breast, the lighting and angle (most likely deliberately) making it impossible to tell if she is a cross-dresser or transsexual. – Juliet Jacques  

Jonathan Baldock 

Charleston, Lewes, UK 

23 September 2023 – 7 July 2024 

Jonathan Baldock
Jonathan Baldock, Mother Flower, 2022, hessian, felt, ceramic stoneware, wadding, hollow fibre, wood, boning, dried roses, dimensions variable. Courtesy: © Jonathan Baldock and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; photograph: Todd-White Art Photography

These plants belong to no species known to botany. Indeed, their generative pistils and stamen have been replaced by, or perhaps mutated into, human countenances, cast from the faces of the British artist and his septuagenarian mother – a woman who taught him many of the craft techniques he employs in his work, and who has long cultivated her own modest garden in the village where Baldock spent his formative years. – Tom Morton 

Sarah Lucas 

Tate Britain, UK 

28 September 2023 – 14 January 2024 

Sarah Lucas, from the series 'Beer Can Penis', 1993–2004, beer cans, dimensions variable. courtesy: the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London

I remember being taken aback by the size of Sarah Lucas’s penis. It was smaller than I had anticipated. It arrived in the post at the Dublin gallery for which I was assembling a small show of artists’ multiples in 2001. Some years earlier, I had spotted a version of the work, Beer Can Penis (1993–2004), on an office windowsill at Sadie Coles HQ in Heddon Street, London. I had been taken with this rude rendition of male tackle, composed of two deftly intersected empty beer cans. Its disarming economy of means, its wit and its brio, were a throwback to an earlier freewheeling moment when a bull’s head could be conjured from bicycle parts. – Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith

Main image: Lisetta Carmi,
I Travestiti, Genova (The Transvestites, Genoa), 1965, photograph. Courtesy: © the artist, Galeria d'arte Martini & Ronchetti, Genoa, and Galerie Antoine Levi, Paris

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