Frieze And Fanciful Art: London's Artistic Highlights This Fall – Forbes – Sarah Turner
Back in the Air: A Meditation on Higher Ground
Temple Station's Roof Terrace
7 October 2021 – 1 September 2022


After 18 months of COVID-19 slumber, artistically, London feels fired up this fall. Exhibitions and installations are raining down across the city whether in galleries, installations or the return of art fairs. 

Anicka Yi has just taken over the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. Yi’s commission, In Love With The World, which started on October 12 and runs until January 16 2022, populates the space with floating machines. ‘Xenojellies’ have semi opaque bodies with coloured tops and patterned tentacles, while ‘planulae’ are bulbous and covered by short yellow hair. Both species are filled with helium, propelled by rotors and powered by a small battery pack. Seoul-born Yi’s largest and most ambitious installation, it’s a beautifully quiet and uplifting exercise in harmonious coexistence.   

A little further along the Thames, part of the joy of London’s Brutalist SouthBank complex is that it allows art to extend from the Hayward Gallery and into the surrounding walkways. Thinking Fountains, a series of sculptures by Klaus Weber are playfully spurting water until September 9 2022, a reminder that pure joy and childish engagement has always been part of the art world.    

In London, like most of Europe, the necessity of having to incorporate existing structures can be a spur to creativity in what art does best - trying to make sense of the world. Created in 1870 by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, the half-acre roof terrace on top of London’s Temple Underground Station near the Strand sees an installation by London-based Lakwena Maciver.

The Artist’s Garden (until April 30 2022) has succinct messages, patterns and colour. All are free to experience, although Tate Modern currently needs to be booked beforehand.  

Above all, two key shows taking place in October will give a shot in the arm to the city’s independent gallery scene. Frieze returns to Regent’s Park between October 13 and 17. Alongside Frieze Masters, and the contemporary-minded Frieze London, Frieze Editions makes its debut with more affordable numbered edition artworks, including works by Paula Rego and Yinka Shonibare. Highlights throughout the shows are many; Maria Berrio’s glorious collages and Inka Essenhigh’s futuristic depiction of flowers at Victoria Miro blooms, along with works by Celia Paul and Chantal Joffe. The Lagos-based Ko Gallery is showing Obiora Udechukwu and Stephen Friedman Gallery will present a solo exhibition of new paintings by African-American artist Deborah Roberts. 

Downtime is best spent at the Art Lounge where, sponsored by Ruinart, David Shrigley brings his entirely British irreverence to play. (If it gets too popular, Nobu Hotel in Portman Square has an extension with more Shrigley works in its Whitebox). Frieze spreads out across the capital too, both around traditional art areas such as Cork Street and into hotels including Claridge’s new ArtSpace, designed by John Pawson, which is debuting with Damien Hirst’s pipecleaner animals.  At the London Edition hotel, in a space that was a nightclub in pre-pandemic times, there’s a witty riposte to modern times with Wickerham & Lomax’s Culture’s Panic Room with CGI mapping, plexiglass and neon blurring perception and a 21st century reality. 

Also between October 13-17, 1-54, the African Contemporary Art Show has its ninth exhibition, showing work from 48 galleries across 23 countries at Somerset House. Always exciting, significantly freer of the weight of Western art traditions. It’s accompanied by a series of talks under the umbrella of Continental Drift.

12 October 2021
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