11 May 2022 Galleries across London will show contemporary art from across the world this weekend – for free. Here are our top picks.
Lonnie Holley: The Growth of Communication
Lonnie Holley grew up in 1950s Alabama scratching a living from selling people’s castoffs, and the self-taught artist’s intuitive, compulsively made assemblages still give new life to unwanted flotsam. Though his art is rooted in the deep south, it is Suffolk’s former military test site, Orford Ness – the basis for a new song cycle commissioned by public art trailblazers Artangel – that informs his latest sculptures and paintings.
Edel Assanti, from 13 May to 2 July.
Lonnie Holley: The Growth of Communication, installation view, Edel Assanti, London, UK, 2022. Photo: Andy Keate.
Conversations on Tomorrow
London stalwart Sadie Coles has invited galleries from Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi to take over her Davies Street space for a collaborative exhibition of some of south Asian art’s leading lights. Standouts include the late Mrinalini Mukherjee’s otherworldly figures crafted from twisted hemp and Prabhakar Pachpute’s surrealist drawings tackling labour conditions in his home state, the coal-mining centre Chandrapur.
Sadie Coles HQ, from 11 May to 18 June.
Hauser & Wirth, from 13 May to 30 July.
Amie Siegel: BloodlinesIn her latest feature-length production, the lauded American film-maker follows George Stubbs’ animal paintings from their usual resting places in country piles to brief showings in public galleries. Strapping animals and their dutiful grooms parade on canvas while real-life staff maintain geriatric mansions and hounds bray in surrounding grounds. Museumgoers, meanwhile, lap it up. It’s a brilliantly straight-faced excoriation of class and privilege, art and power.
Thomas Dane, until 23 July.
This taster of pop art outlier Nicola L’s work should whet appetites for a 2024 survey at Camden Arts Centre. She is best known for the sculpture-cum-furniture she began in the 1960s: pouting-lips lamps or cushioned nudes that take swipes at female objectification. Her fabric sculptures into which we can stick arms, legs and heads are like second skins inviting us to be as one with each other.
Alison Jacques, from 13 May to 23 July.
Lewis Davidson: Clickers
The project space Xxijra Hii, in Deptford, is a recent addition to the south London scene known for fostering fresh talent, such as Davidson, a Slade School of Fine Art graduate whose florid, sci-fi-looking creations are elaborately assembled from takeaway spoons, coat hangers and other everyday plastics. Alongside the south Bermondsey newcomer Sid Motion gallery, Xxijra Hii is also co-hosting Saturday night’s South London Art Party, with live music at AMP Studios.
Xxijra Hii, until 28 May.
Jane and Louise Wilson: The Toxic Camera
Putin’s nuclear sabre-rattling makes Jane and Louise Wilson’s 2012 film The Toxic Camera horribly prescient. Their study of the Chernobyl disaster is anchored by documentarist Vladimir Shevchenko’s attempts to film its aftermath for Ukrainian TV. He eventually died from radiation sickness and even his camera became lethally radioactive. Alongside this, the Wilsons underscore our planet’s vulnerability in recent photographs exploring fragile island ecosystems.
Maureen Paley, until 5 June.
Korakrit Arunanondchai and Alex Gvojic: Songs for Living
The Thai rapper turned artist known for hip, high-energy videos meshing modern tribes and ancient beliefs travels through fiery and underwater worlds in this propulsive installation. Burning birdman effigies; topless, body-painted revellers; inky cephalopods; and vertiginously inverted cityscapes are among the cinematographer Gvojic’s irresistible imagery. Musician Zsela narrates the spiritual journey with a soundtrack that progresses from spaced-out thrums to frantic drumming.
Carlos/Ishikawa, until 15 May.
Mandy El-Sayegh, The Minimum
The first artist to cinch London Gallery Weekend’s new public art commission, Mandy El-Sayegh’s performance explores the squeezed space of a solitary confinement cell. Co-created with the choreographer Alethia Antonia and composer Lily Oakes and co-commissioned by UP Projects, it promises to be a visceral study in the limited movement of isolated bodies, which will surely speak loudly to a world coming out of lockdown.
Various times, 13 May, St James’s church, Piccadilly; 14 May, Peckham Library Square; 15 May, Allen Gardens