Our pick of this week’s art events: 2 – 8 September

Published 2 September 2016

From the sinister cells of Reading Prison to a pocket of glittering rebellion in the shadows off Brick Lane, here’s where to find the best art this week.

  • Unlimited Festival

    Southbank Centre, London, 6 - 11 September
    Returning for a third year, Unlimited Festival is a week of performances, talks, workshops and visual arts showcasing extraordinary new work by disabled artists. To mention but a slice of the programme: the performance Cherophobia sees artist Noëmi Lakmaier spend 48 hours attempting to lift her tied and immobilised body off the ground using 33,000 helium balloons. Sean Goldthorpe’s photo series, 11 Million Reasons, reimagines iconic film moments with deaf and disabled dancers. Assisted Suicide: The Musical explores the complexities of its subject through the medium of musical theatre, and through the erudition of its creator, disabled activist, actor and comedian Liz Carr.

  • Sean Goldthorpe, 11 Million Reasons

    Sean Goldthorpe, 11 Million Reasons, 2016.

    Photograph. 11 Million Reasons.

  • Katya Sander: Publicness

    Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth, 2 September - 29 October
    Sander is interested in our relationship to the cities we inhabit: the interactions between bodies, architecture, images and space. She explores the language that seeps into the public realm, from scrawled messages in toilet cubicles to conversations among bankers and IMDB blockbuster synopses. Full of astute observations and public interventions, this show surveys Sander’s career “as a way of trying to make sense of how we shape, and are shaped by, our environment”, in the words of Ben Borthwick, Plymouth Arts Centre’s Artistic Director.

  • Katya Sander, A Glossary of Public Gestures

    Katya Sander, A Glossary of Public Gestures, 2010.

    Courtesy the artist.

  • Abdoulaye Konaté: Symphonie en Couleur

    Blain|Southern Gallery, London, 2 - 24 September
    Though he is one of the most eminent West African artists working today, this is Abdoulaye Konaté’s first major solo exhibition in the UK. His work “explores textile as an aesthetic that is contemporary yet also anchored in perpetually evolving traditions”, writes the contemporary African art expert Joëlle Busca. The compositions are astonishing and monumental: hundreds of jewel-coloured cotton strips stitched together by hand, interwoven with social and political reflections on his Malian homeland and beyond. Exploring the effects of war, ecological shifts and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Konaté’s vast tableaux need to be appreciated up close in all their layered, embroidered, textured glory.

  • Abdoulaye Konaté, Composition vert émeraude et rouge

    Abdoulaye Konaté, Composition vert émeraude et rouge, 2016.

    Courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern, Photo Todd White.

  • Damien Frost: Nightflowers

    5th Base, London, 1 - 5 September
    As fleeting as the crepuscular carnival it captures, this brief but beautiful exhibition is Damien Frost’s celebration of London’s alternative nightlife. Distinguished portraits of drag kings and queens, burlesque performers, fetishists and gender illusionists glimpse at a nocturnal world usually hidden in the shadows. Though their set-ups have all the atmosphere and intricacy of studio shoots, all of the photographs are the result of momentary encounters on the streets, at bustops or down alleyways. Expanding the project beyond his best-selling book of the same name, this show also features new portraits not yet published or seen.

  • Damien Frost, Bougie

    Damien Frost, Bougie, 2015.

    © Damien Frost.

  • Inside: Artists and Writers in Reading Prison

    HM Prison Reading, Berkshire, 4 September - 30 October
    In a climate of privatised prisons, indefinite detentions and systemic police brutality, Artangel’s latest project seems particularly timely, despite taking its premise from Oscar Wilde’s incarceration in the late 19th century. The host building was a fully working prison until 2013, and is now open to the public for the first time in history, having become the subject of new works by Steve McQueen, Nan Goldin, Wolfgang Tillmans RA and many more. Augmented by existing works by Félix Gonzáles-Torres, Doris Salcedo, Richard Hamilton and others, the project also includes commissioned letters responding to ideas of separation from loved ones, including those by Ai Weiwei Hon RA and Jeanette Winterson, which can be listened to and read in the prison’s solitary cells.

  • Photographs of prisoners in Reading Gaol before their discharge or transfer

    Photographs of prisoners in Reading Gaol before their discharge or transfer

    © Berkshire Record Office

  • Alice Primrose is an editorial intern at RA Magazine.

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