8 Must-See London Shows during Frieze Week 2022

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Oct 7, 2022 7:07PM

Tschabalala Self, installation view of “Home Body” at Pilar Corrias, 2022. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Pilar Corrias, London.

One-third of the trifecta that makes up the international powerhouse of art fairs, along with Art Basel and TEFAF, Frieze will fittingly bid farewell to a packed year of programming at its original home, the massive 220,660-square-foot tent designed by A Studio Between in London’s Regent Park.

The fair kicked off 2022—a year that has seen a significant decrease in COVID-related travel restrictions—with its Los Angeles edition in February, followed by the decennial New York iteration in May, and the inaugural Asia chapter in Seoul last month. For many, however, Frieze still thrives best in its hometown, where hundreds of galleries from across the globe unite in the British capital to occupy the aisles and participate in a city-wide network of events.

William Kentridge, installation view of “William Kentridge” at the Royal Academy of Arts, 2022. © William Kentridge. Photo © Royal Academy of Arts, London / David Parry. Courtesy of Royal Academy of Arts, London.


A year shy from its 20th anniversary, this year’s edition boasts more than 280 galleries from 46 countries, and programming that includes commissioned projects by Tyler Mitchell and Emma Talbot; a special section titled “Indra’s Net” featuring 10 dedicated presentations; and an outdoor wooden installation by 2022 Frieze Artist Award winner Abbas Zahedi. Numerous talks, exhibitions, presentations, and off-site events are also peppered throughout the fair’s run from October 12th through 15th.

Sandwiched between New York’s own Armory Show and the upcoming inaugural edition of Paris+ par Art Basel (not to forget the December tradition of Art Basel in Miami Beach), Frieze and its history-focused sister Frieze Masters will also coincide with a particular moment for the U.K. With the announcement of a new prime minister and the passing of Queen Elizabeth II occurring only the month prior, Frieze Week promises to kickstart London’s art circuit, especially its market as it continues to adjust to a post-Brexit landscape.

While Frieze anchors the calendar, local galleries and institutions are gearing up with ambitious programs—a reminder of the city’s status as an art world capital.

Tschabalala Self, “Home Body”

Pilar Corrias

Oct. 6–Dec. 17

Already an art star in the U.S., Tschabalala Self conquers the other side of the pond with her solo exhibition “Home Body” at both of Pilar Corrias’s London locations, and her first public sculpture Seated (2022) in King’s Cross. In her sewn fabric and acrylic paintings, the New Haven, Connecticut–based painter and sculptor captures the everyday through the lens of the Black American experience.

Featuring paintings in Self’s signature style alongside works on paper and sculptures, the Pilar Corrias exhibition is an extension of the domestic-themed body of work that Self embarked on during COVID-19 lockdowns. Meanwhile, in Lewis Cubitt Square, Self’s sculpture of a young Black woman dressed in yellow claims the public space in three dimensions. With hand-painted details by the artist, Seated—commissioned by Avant Arte—embodies joyous contemplation through corporeality in bronze.

Daniel Arsham, “Relics in the Landscape”

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

From Oct. 1

Daniel Arsham, installation view of Unearthed Bronze Eroded Melpomene, 2021, in “Relics in the Landscape” at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2022. Photo by James Law. Courtesy of Perrotin Gallery and Arsham Studio.

Another American artist with widespread global recognition, Daniel Arsham brings his chronologically ambiguous, quartz-embellished sculptures to the 45-year-old, 500-acre, open-air institution of Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield. Known for his archaeology-inspired sculptures of classical human figures and contemporary consumer objects, Arsham has since stretched his practice to furniture and attire.

In his first institutional show in the U.K., however, he exhibits new interpretations of his most recognized body of work: sculptures with hints of contemporary touches that appear to have been excavated. From recreations of ancient Greco-Roman statues to Pikachu from the Pokémon franchise, six bronze works are on view in what was once the formal garden of an 18th-century aristocratic home.

“Arsham introduces ambiguity,” said Yorkshire Sculpture Park director Clare Lilley, describing the artist’s era-defying visual language. “Seemingly excavated archaic sculptures of Venus and Melpomene appear to have found their rightful home in this arcadian landscape, while popular cultural icons acquire a new status, solidity, and longevity. Arsham throws time into the air and questions what is original and what is replica; what is high end art and what is not; and what artifacts represent who we are, were, or will be.”

James Nares, “All I Know”


Oct. 6–22

James Nares
Untitled, 2014

A Briton returns to London with this five-decade survey at Frieze’s exhibition and event space in the gallery district Mayfair. New York–based multimedia artist James Nares has created a diverse body of work in painting, film, and mixed media to both capture and free the idea of movement. Her expansive presentation with Kasmin, “All I Know,” traces her trajectory from 1970s downtown New York to the present.

“Time is a construct; space is an arbitrary measure,” Nares said about her attempt to monumentalize a gesture, particularly through the lens of our rapidly evolving landscape. “Technology has given us evermore ingenious tools for prying these conceptions apart and enabling us to see that seeing is perceiving, and I seem to be attached to the idea that there are indeed worlds within a grain of sand.”

In her paintings from the last decade, Nares commits to monumentalizing movement through painterly hand gestures. Her monochrome, serpentine abstractions resemble delirious waves when in horizontal form, and tornadoes or waterfalls when composed vertically. In Sidewinder is a Snake (2020), a sense of aquatic tumult is elevated in Nares’s dense blue color palette. And in They do Come Back (2017), the flow of rosy purple gushes downwards, rendering every movement of the artist’s brush over linen—or occasionally her splashing of it—evident.

Gabriel Orozco, “Diario de Plantas”

White Cube

Oct. 12–Nov. 12

Gabriel Orozco, 27.I.22 (b) #17, 2022. © Gabriel Orozco. Photo © Gerardo Landa Rojanol. Courtesy of the artist and White Cube.

Gabriel Orozco, 24.I.22 (a) #16, 2022. © Gabriel Orozco. Photo © Gerardo Landa Rojanol. Courtesy of the artist and White Cube.

Another artist making his comeback to London for Frieze Week is Gabriel Orozco, whose new exhibition “Diario de Plantas” at White Cube marks the Mexican artist’s first show in the city in five years. Orozco’s return, however, is modest in concept and features romantic gouache, tempera, ink, and graphite drawings and prints of gentle plants and leaves.

The artist’s use of everyday, oftentimes overlooked, objects—from a melon to an empty shoe box—translates into commentary on our relationship with nature. Orozco started the series during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is evident in his introspective rendition of leaves in autumnal colors and demure geometric forms.

With a diaristic approach, Orozco renders his muted drawings akin to aged postcards or yellowed letters. In 24.I.22 (a) #16 (2022), the impression of a branch is printed over a wash of yellow in the hue of dried fall leaves. Meanwhile, 27.I.22 (b) #17 (2022) captures the imprint of a leaf resembling human lungs in a more vibrant blue tone, alongside a single, smaller, green leaf.

William Kentridge

Royal Academy of Arts

Sept. 24–Dec. 11

William Kentridge, installation view of Notes Towards a Model Opera, 2015, in “William Kentridge” at the Royal Academy of Arts, 2022. © William Kentridge. Photo © Royal Academy of Arts, London / David Parry. Artwork courtesy of William Kentridge Studio, Johannesburg. Photo courtesy of Royal Academy of Arts, London.

William Kentridge’s career retrospective at the Royal Academy of Arts is a fittingly ambitious undertaking that does justice to the pairing of one of South Africa’s most globally acclaimed artists with Britain’s 254-year-old institution. In addition to his multichannel films and tapestries measuring more than 13 feet wide, the survey features work from Kentridge’s early years in theater that ultimately led to the creation of his widely known, large-scale, charcoal drawings.

The eponymous exhibition is the Johannesburg-based artist’s largest museum show in the U.K., and fills nine galleries and various rooms of the Piccadilly museum. Of the retrospetive’s oldest works, The Conservationists’ Ball (1985) is a charcoal triptych depicting an ornate and indulgent café interior with hints of European accents. However, the last of the three panels includes a hyena, an alarmingly misplaced animal of prey that is neither canine nor feline. Presenting Kentridge at career maturity, his 11-minute film Notes Towards a Model Opera (2015) is a cinematic production displaying masterful editing of Kentridge’s drawings with found footage about China’s relationship with Africa.

Kristy M Chan, “Binge”

Simon Lee Gallery and The Artist Room

Oct. 12–Nov. 12

Kristy M Chan, Comedown from Wind Chimes, 2022. Courtesy of The Artist Room.

London-based artist Kristy M Chan delves into the notion of excess—and our indulgence in it—in her latest body of work “Binge,” presented by Simon Lee Gallery and The Artist Room. “I tend to chase after those intense moments because they move me enough to paint,” Chan said about exploring acts of both physical and mental indulgence. “Overindulgence feels unhealthy, and I think I attempt to release that excess through painting.”

The Hong Kong–born artist’s energetic compositions of repeated, erratic strokes of oil, oil stick, and pigment on linen convey bold shades, particularly nocturne blue. Similar to the narrative titling in Chan’s earlier, semi-figurative paintings—such as Sashimi on the Tube (2019) and Arm Wrestling Party No.2 (2021)—the works in “Binge” suggest the presence of representational details. However, in these purely abstract pieces, the viewer is encouraged to imagine the scenarios from which Chan’s expressive titles stem. Comedown from Wind Chimes (2022), for example, captures the title’s suggestion of rhythmic tranquility through breezy brushstrokes in ice-cold shades of blue in one corner of the canvas and a calmer spacing of paint on the opposite end.

Cecily Brown, “Studio Pictures”

Thomas Dane Gallery

Oct. 11–Dec. 17

Cecily Brown, Body (after Sickert), 2022. © Cecily Brown. Photo by Genevieve Hanson. Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery.

In a market that demands for bigger and larger works, partially due to growing gallery spaces, Cecily Brown pursues the opposite direction in “Studio Pictures,” her third show with Thomas Dane Gallery. After creating absorbing, mammoth-scale paintings of poetic chaos—most notably the gloriously gothic Triumph of Death (2019) at Blenheim Palace—the New York–based artist returns to a modest scale, an invitation for more intimate encounters with her canvases.

While Brown’s inspirations include modern masters who all scaled down at some point, such as Pablo Picasso, Paul Sérusier, and Edgar Degas, the anchoring theme of this exhibition is Brown’s own studio. Her paintings, some made this year and others from a decade past, depict human figures in dense and somewhat liquid surroundings. In an untitled 23-by-17-inch work from 2016, a young boy in bathing suit, à la Cézanne’s The Bather (ca. 1885), seems to reach for something, perhaps a fruit hanging from a tree. Body (after Sickert) from this year is even smaller—measuring 13 by 17 inches—and shows a nude woman spread over a bed, the dark density of her pubic hair contrasting her pink flesh.

Somaya Critchlow, “Afternoon’s Darkness”

Maximillian William

Oct. 6–Nov. 19

Scale and homage to the Western art canon are also key in Somaya Critchlow’s current solo exhibition “Afternoon’s Darkness” at Maximillian William. The British artist is among the most exciting young figurative painters working today. Her work exploring labor, nudity, and power by presenting Black female figures in penetrating familiarity have, in recent years, garnered institutional and market attention.

The paintings and drawings in “Afternoon’s Darkness” veer away from Critchlow’s usual small scale. The 29-year-old artist’s enlarged linen surfaces juxtapose sexuality, control, and ecstasy, while her color palette holds a nocturnal, candle-lit veil over the scene. In the diptych Bedstead (Asymmetry) (2022), a young woman wearing nothing but stockings spreads her legs over a bed. She locks her gaze outside of ours and gently covers her vagina with her hand. Bodily autonomy is exuberantly captured in two drawings, Scream I and Scream II (both 2022), in which two nude women vehemently howl with their mouths wide open; one figure keeps her eyes shut while the other stares directly at us.

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