The eponymous fairs may be taking place online this year, but there is still plenty to see in London during Frieze week. Apollo’s editors pick out the shows they don’t want to miss
Until 18 October
‘Howard Hodgkin: Memories’
Until 11 December
‘I want people to look at my pictures as pictures, as things,’ Howard Hodgkin said of his work – even as he painted to pin down such ghostly un-things as memories. The 20 paintings assembled in this show – curated by Paul Moorhouse, who wrote about Hodgkin for Apollo soon after the artist’s death in 2017 – date mostly from the 1980s and ’90s, and encapsulate that tension: expressive and emotive, yet all the while rejoicing in their materiality – in their colour, brushstrokes, and the occasional fingerprint.
There is a common ground here with the mud paintings of Richard Long, whose stone-studded Circle for Sally (2016) is currently laid out in Regent’s Park as part of Frieze Sculpture, and which – along with installations by Lubaina Himid and others – will make a walk in the park even more vivifying. Sophie Barling
‘María Berrío: Flowered Songs and Broken Currents’
Until 27 November
‘Meleko Mokgosi: Democratic Intuition’
Gagosian (Britannia Street)
Until 12 December
Behind María Berrío’s colourful collages, made from delicate layers of Japanese paper, lie darker, denser themes. This exhibition at Victoria Miro by the artist, who was born in Bogotá and lives in Brooklyn, dwells on an imaginary Colombian fishing village that is attempting to overcome a catastrophic event. Yet, as Berrío has noted, making this exhibition in the midst of a real catastrophe meant that ‘the lines that distinguish art from life and life from art inevitably dissolved’.
I’m also looking forward to stepping into the rich and complex world created by the Botswana-born artist Meleko Mokgosi. This is Mokgosi’s first solo exhibition in the UK and features a suite of 21 panels from 2018, titled Bread, Butter, and Power, drawn from his wider Democratic Intuition series. While he might be grappling with big questions of race, capitalism and nationhood, Mokgosi’s vast figurative canvases – one of which fills an entire wall of the gallery – nevertheless teem with the minutiae of life in southern Africa. Imelda Barnard
‘Gillian Wearing: Lockdown’
Until 25 October
‘Nick Goss: Nine Mile Burn’
9 October–13 November
‘Tom Hammick: Nightfire’
Until 13 November
A modest frustration of lockdown: not seeing any paintings for weeks, or rather only seeing images of them – marks, colours, surfaces – filtered, flattened, formatted on a screen. And, for me, a small cause for optimism during lockdown: the artists are still painting through this, right?
The last Gillian Wearing show I went to was ‘Behind the Mask, Another Mask’ at the NPG, pairing her work with that of Claude Cahun. I’m keen to see how far Wearing’s recent self-portraits in watercolour (the most direct of painting mediums, after all) constitute an unmasking in some sense – or whether they explore how, even in isolation, a public face might be pieced together with the materials at hand.
Nick Goss’s new paintings were conceived, to some degree, in an solitude that preceded lockdown; he was on a residency on an oil tanker in the Adriatic when the crisis began in March. They evolved in a cowshed in Midlothian, a provisional studio over the spring near the hamlet of Nine Mile Burn. I’m lucky enough to have seen them recently in his studio in London: ambivalent longings for elsewhere, deeply attentive to the prospects and pitfalls of travel and transit, and of a world that has come to seem more transitory than ever.
And then there are Tom Hammick’s paintings and prints, nocturnal scenes that show individuals and couples on uncertain pathways or reclining beneath skies that dwarf them. Yet these are nights lit with colour and pattern, with strange phosphorescence. I suspect we all need a bit of colour to beguile us in the darkness right now. Thomas Marks
‘Leila Alaoui: Rite of Passage’
Somerset House in partnership with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair.
11 October–28 February 2021
‘Portia Zvavahera: Ndakavata pasi ndikamutswa nekuti anonditsigira’
Until 31 October
I always look forward in Frieze week to the neoclassical terraces of Somerset House being taken over by contemporary art from Africa, so I’m pleased that 1–54 is going ahead with a physical fair this year in spite of the obstacles. This year’s themed exhibition in the South Wing feels especially timely – the first UK retrospective of the late Leila Alaoui, a Moroccan photographer, film-maker and activist whose work shines a light on the lives of people displaced from their homes around the globe.
African art gets an outing elsewhere in London, too: Zimbabwe-born Portia Zvavahera’s first solo show in Europe is well worth a visit. Dreams come to the surface in a new suite of vivid, densely layered works; semi-abstract, but with shadowy figures lurking in the background, they combine oil paint with elaborate printmaking techniques, drawing on a range of Zimbabwean art traditions. Samuel ReillyFrieze Sculpture
‘Holly Hendry: Busy Bodies’
Stephen Friedman Gallery at 30 Old Burlington Street
Until 31 October
There are no tents going up in Regent’s Park this year, but it’s still worth a trip to check out Frieze Sculpture. Selected by Clare Lilley, director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park, there’s an eclectic range of recent and newly commissioned works – from a ghostly anthropomorphic figure by David Altmejd to Sarah Lucas’s massive concrete Sandwich (2011–20).
Continuing the sculptural theme, I’m looking forward to seeing Holly Hendry’s series Busy Bodies, which Stephen Friedman Gallery is showing in a pop-up space on 30 Old Burlington Street. Hendry’s layered and seductively tactile work, which frequently invokes bodily forms, is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea next year: the current presentation should be a useful introduction. Gabrielle Schwarz
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