10 art exhibitions to see in October

Published 1 October 2018

The long days of summer are over, but there is no shortage of art to see. From the first UK exhibitions dedicated to pioneering textile artist Anni Albers and Spanish Old Master Jusepe de Ribera, to witches’ ladders and Frieze Masters, here are 10 exhibitions not to miss this month.

  • Pierre Puvis de Chavannes

    Michael Werner Gallery, London, 21 September - 10 November 2018
    Although not as widely known as the painters he inspired – among them Cézanne, Van Gogh and Matisse – the 19th-century artist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes had a 40-year career that defied genre and straddled both the Impressionist and Symbolist movements. A new show of Chavannes at Michael Werner Gallery demonstrates the artist’s ability to mix the old with the new, and to combine allegory and classicism with broad strokes of Impressionism. Seeing these works is an escape into a pre-industrial dream.

  • Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Baigneurs dans un sous-bois (Bathers under Trees)

    Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Baigneurs dans un sous-bois (Bathers under Trees), ca. 1890-91.

    Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London.

  • Mika Rottenberg

    Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Arts, London, 8 September - 4 November 2018
    The inaugural show of Goldsmiths CCA takes audiences into the hyper-capitalist world of Argentinian artist Mika Rottenberg. Throughout all seven galleries the New York-based artist presents new and past work that builds on her interest in the human body and the labour market. Installations respond directly to the building – once a services area for a Victorian bathhouse – recently transformed by Turner Prize-winning collective Assemble. At times it is difficult to know where architecture ends and art begins: a bingo machine plays continuously on a revolving wall, while films run on the ceiling. At other times it feels as if you’ve walked into a dream – to watch suited ‘professionals’ sneeze rabbits and light bulbs or to enter a darkened room of cast-iron pans that sizzle as water drips from the ceiling. Rottenberg’s systems verge on a state of collapse that amplifies a more general state of anxiety. The only thing that seems to keep them going is their state of constant motion.

    And for those in the mood for a South London art and architecture tour, after Goldsmiths, head to Camberwell to see the South London Gallery’s new annexe, the Fire Station, designed by 6a architects.

  • Mika Rottenberg, NoNoseKnows (Artist Variant)

    Mika Rottenberg, NoNoseKnows (Artist Variant), 2015.

    Installation view. Courtesy the artist and Goldsmiths CCA. Image: Andy Keate, 2018.

  • Nashashibi/Skaer: Thinking through other Artists

    Tate St Ives, Cornwall, 20 October 2018 - 6 January 2019
    British artists Rosalind Nashashibi and Lucy Skaer have been making collaborative work together since 2005. Their film Why Are You Angry? (2017) takes its title from a painting by Paul Gauguin, No te aha oe riri (1896), made during his voyage to Tahiti. Using the English translation of the painting as a point of departure, the artists investigate the male gaze in visual narratives and specifically explore the problems around Gauguin’s representation of women. But Nashashibi and Skaer are aware that they as artists also risk mythologising their foreign subjects – though the women in this film are bestowed with a more active sense of agency. The work becomes an exploration of the difficulties that arise from making images, whether 125 years ago or today.

  • Nashashibi/Skaer, Why are you Angry?

    Nashashibi/Skaer , Why are you Angry? , 2017 .

    © The artists.

  • Spellbound: Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft

    Ashmolean, Oxford, 31 August 2018 - 6 January 2019
    In keeping with the ghoulish side of October is the Ashmolean’s eight-century survey of the history of magic. From the medieval cosmos to spiritual rituals, the exhibition explores how magic has evolved as well as its role in the 21st century. New commissions by contemporary artists, such as Katharine Dowson’s Concealed Shield (2018), are displayed alongside objects including a 12–13th-century human heart encased in lead, books on the discovery of witches and their powers, a witch’s ladder, found in the attic of a house in Somerset, and a 16th-century French prognosticator, which was used to calculate bloodletting times.

  • Discoverie of Witches

    Discoverie of Witches

    © Queen's College, University of Oxford.

  • Ribera: Art of Violence

    Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, 26 September 2018 - 27 January 2019
    Jusepe de Ribera was a Spanish painter and printmaker known for his extreme use of light and shadow – he was often described as an heir to Caravaggio for his use of chiaroscuro. This exhibition focuses on the violent nature of Ribera’s paintings, where the use of darkness is the dominating characteristic. The subdued salon interior of the Dulwich Picture Gallery adds a layer of tension to Ribera’s scenes of executions and flaying, tortured saints and visceral scenes of the Spanish inquisition. For Ribera, the use of violent imagery was a way to experiment with the physical limitations of the human body. Often painting from live models, his naturalistic compositions possess a forceful presence that’s impossible to avoid.

  • Jusepe de Ribera, Martyrdom of Staint Bartholomew

    Jusepe de Ribera, Martyrdom of Staint Bartholomew, 1644.

    Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona.

  • Jesse Darling: The Ballad of Saint Jerome

    Tate Britain, London, 22 September 2018 - 24 February 2019
    Following the underworld of witchcraft and Ribera’s nightmares, British artist Jesse Darling takes us to higher ground, with her reinterpretation of the story of Saint Jerome, who instead of running away when confronted by an injured lion, saved it by extracting a thorn from its paw (saint and beast then became lifelong companions). While the story is well documented throughout art history, with versions by Messina, Dürer, Caravaggio and El Greco, Darling explores the story’s themes of power, healing, control, captivity and otherness in relation to our lives today. Fundamentally for the artist, Jerome becomes a symbol of sovereignty and the institution, while the lion’s wound becomes the world’s wound and ours. Dispersed throughout the gallery are everyday objects and materials that appear wounded, contorted and liberated. Ultimately Darling is exploring the hierarchical dependency between people and our own socio-political structures, asking how we are ultimately “both the beneficiary and the victim of these various systems”.

  • Jesse Darling, Lion in wait for Jerome and his medical kit, detail

    Jesse Darling, Lion in wait for Jerome and his medical kit, detail, 2018.

    730 x 1100 mm. Courtesy Arcadia Missa. © Jesse Darling 2018.

  • Anni Albers

    Tate Modern, London, 11 October 2018 - 27 January 2019
    The Anni Albers retrospective at Tate Modern is the first major exhibition of her work in the UK. As a female student at the Bauhaus School in 1922, Albers had limited access to certain classes. She reluctantly enrolled in a weaving workshop. Textiles became Albers’s main form of expression, and she revolutionised weaving and textile design. Following her marriage to Josef Albers in 1925, the pair became central to the Bauhaus School, with Anni appointed head of the weaving workshop in 1931. The Nazi attack on modern art threatened the Bauhaus’s existence, prompting the couple to emigrate to North Carolina to teach at the Black Mountain College until 1949. They finally settled in Connecticut. The exhibition comprises over 350 objects, ranging from large-scale wall hangings to small ‘pictoral weavings’. Also included in the exhibition is an exploration of Albers’s publication On Weaving (1965), as well as the research material she used to write her book.

  • Anni Albers, Red Lines on Blue

    Anni Albers , Red Lines on Blue , 1979 .

    © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London. Photo: Tim Nighswander/Imaging4Art..

  • Pin Ups: Toulouse-Lautrec and the Art of Celebrity

    Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, 6 October 2018 - 20 January 2019
    Master printmaker and original club kid Toulouse-Lautrec brings the bohemian spirit of fin-de-siécle Paris to Edinburgh. The exhibition focuses on his prolific output of lithographic posters, portfolio prints and illustrations, whose laconic depictions of debauched and decadent nightlife helped to define the cult of celebrity in the 19-century ‘city of pleasure’, primarily the legendary café-cabarets of his own stomping ground, Montmartre. His style takes influence from Impressionists such as Manet and Degas, as well as classical Japanese wood prints, which were popular among artists at the turn of the century.

  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Troupe de Mlle Églantine (Poster)

    Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec , Troupe de Mlle Églantine (Poster) , 1896 .

    © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

  • Beautiful world where are you?

    Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, 14 July - 28 October 2018
    As the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Arts enters its final month, this exhibition offers a unique perspective on the legacy of colonialism. Two projects by international photographers Madiha Aijaz (Karachi, Pakistan) and George Osodi (Lagos, Nigeria) present the shifting culture and power following the end of British colonial rule. Osodi’s Nigerian Monarchs (2013) depicts the reinstatement of regional sovereigns in Nigeria decades after they lost their power to centralised British governance. Aijaz uses her interest in Pakistan’s civic spaces – in this case public libraries – to comment on the linguistic divide in Pakistan between Urdu and English.

  • Open Eye Gallery – Biennial 2018 – George Osodi

    Open Eye Gallery – Biennial 2018 – George Osodi

    © Rob Battersby.

  • Frieze

    London, 4 - 7 October 2018
    We’re rounding off our list with highlights from Frieze. This year’s Frieze Masters Talks feature exclusively women international artists and curators. On Thursday Tacita Dean RA is in conversation with RA Artistic Director Tim Marlow, who also curated the series. This is followed by a talk between artist Julie Mehretu and Thelma Golden, curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem. On Saturday, Lisa Reihana – whose work in Pursuit of Venus [infected] is exhibited in ‘Oceania’ – will be in conversation with Rhana Devenport, Director of the Auckland Art Gallery. Talks close with a conversation between Lynne Cooke, Curator of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and artist Amy Sillman, whose show, ‘Landline’, has opened at Camden Arts Centre.

    The Amanda Wilkinson Gallery presents two series of works by artist, filmmaker and activist Derek Jarman. In 1986, after being diagnosed with HIV, Jarman retreated to Prospect Cottage in Dungeness where he made his ‘black paintings’ – dark, apocalyptic images of war. His later ‘tabloid paintings’ were made out of frustration at the UK government’s response to the AIDS crisis.

    Also as part of the Frieze programme, Peter Harrington opens its bookshop on Dover Street to present ‘The Machine and the Cloud: Print from Gutenberg to Google’. The show features prints from the 15th–20th century, including works by Shakespeare, Swift, Woolf, Darwin, Joyce and Hemingway.