Our pick of this week’s art events: 23 May - 2 June

Published 27 May 2016

From captivating live shows at London’s first performance art festival to Yayoi Kusama’s glossy oversized pumpkin sculptures, we guide you through the best of this week’s art events and exhibitions.

  • Block Universe

    Various locations, London, 30 May – 5 June

    Block Universe is London’s first festival to exclusively focus on performance art. Now in its second edition, the event is centred around the theme ‘The Future Perfect’, which deals with the idea of constructed identity in our technologically advanced society. On Monday, artist Erica Scourti’s live performance piece Personal Proxies explores our contradictory desire for both mechanical efficiency and human authenticity. Closing the festival, Grace Schwindt’s musical work Undead and Other Tales – a haunting melody inspired by Gaetano Donizetti’s Aria of Madness – will be performed in the RA Courtyard by the classical and jazz singer, Lisa Cassidy. The festival programme combines seven specially commissioned performances as well as works by niv Acosta, Mårten Spångberg and Trajal Harrell that have been adapted for the event.

  • Grace Schwindt, Tenant

    Grace Schwindt, Tenant, 2012.

    Performance. © Grace Schwindt and Gallery Zeno X, Antwerp (BE).

  • Yayoi Kusama

    Victoria Miro, London, until 30 July

    Known for her love of polka dots and her mirrored ‘infinity room’ installations, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has created a new body of work for her latest solo show at Victoria Miro. The gallery’s Wharf Road site will be home to three immersive mirror rooms accompanied by large-scale polka dot and infinity net canvases – short, obsessively painted dashes clustered together to create what appears to be an almost three-dimensional, moving net – while Kusama’s bulbous pumpkin sculptures nestle in the garden. Over in Mayfair, the paintings are less abstract – eyes and faces stare out from the canvases in these latest additions to Kusama’s on-going project, My Eternal Soul. Kusama’s eclectic practice, which spans six-decades and several artistic genres, draws on the bright colours and simple forms of Pop Art and Minimalism, while exploring the Surrealist unconscious through repetition of form.

  • Yayoi Kusama, Shedding Tears to the Season

    Yayoi Kusama, Shedding Tears to the Season, 2015.

    Acrylic on Canvas. 194 x 194 x 7cm. Courtesy KUSAMA Enterprise, Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore and Victoria Miro, London © Yayoi Kusama.

  • Guillermo Kuitca

    Hauser & Wirth Savile Row, London, until 30 July

    The Argentinian artist Guillermo Kuitca combines architectural forms with abstraction to create two-dimensional works in a range of media, from oil paint to graphite. This solo exhibition is made up of 15 oil paintings marking the culmination of over a decade’s worth of work. Untitled (2014), with its depiction of a Christ-like face, sees Kuitca return to the more figurative forms that were present in his early works of the 80s and 90s. The exhibition is built around Kuitca’s key work Untitled (Exodus) (2015) – an enormous six-meter long canvas consisting predominantly of grey lines at irregular angles that resemble crumpled paper.

  • Guillermo Kuitca, Untitled

    Guillermo Kuitca, Untitled, 2003 – 2015.

    Oil on Canvas. 196.5 x 196.3 cm. © Guillermo Kuitca Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth Photo: Alex Delfanne.

  • Alex Katz: Quick Light

    Serpentine Galleries, London, until 30 October

    The American landscape and portrait painter Alex Katz established his distinctive figurative painting style in New York during the 1950’s. This exhibition primarily focuses on Katz’s landscapes as well as a series of recently completed portraits. His works consist of simple shapes that, as demonstrated in Reflection 7 (2008), are reminiscent of wood block prints. Influenced by the cut-out compositions found in film and advertising and frequently adopting a monochrome background, he became an influential figure on the subsequent Pop Art movement. The show will run in conjunction with Etel Adnan’s solo show at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery.

  • Alex Katz, Reflection 7

    Alex Katz, Reflection 7, 2008.

    Oil on Linen. 274.3 x 548.6 cm. Courtesy Gavin Brown's enterprise, Rome/New york, Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris/Salzburg.

  • Open Source

    Dalston, London, from 28 – 29 May

    Open Source, a free, weekend-long contemporary art event, returns for its second year to explore a diverse range of themes including subcultures, identities, fluidity and self-determination. The festival will present a variety of cutting-edge video, painting, installation and performance works by artists including Rachel Maclean, Cory Arcangel and Benedict Drew. Stand-out work Dalston, Mon Amour by artist Lawrence Lek will use immersive video to address the topic of Brexit, presenting us with a dystopian view of post-EU Britain, which recalls historical tragedies such as Hiroshima.

  • Lawrence Lek, Dalston, Mon Amour

    Lawrence Lek, Dalston, Mon Amour, 2015.

    Video simulation. 3840 x 2160 cm.