This week: five top art shows to see

30 September – 6 October

Published 29 September 2016

From the reconstruction of human faces through prosthetic advancements during WWI, to the reconstruction of farmyard animals’ faces using marble dust and resin, we take in the best shows to see this week.

  • Floe Edge: Contemporary Art and Collaborations from Nunavut

    Canada House, London, until 30 November
    In the region around Floe Edge, where the vast Arctic Ocean meets frozen sea ice, the word “art” translates in Inuktitut as “sanaugait”, which taken literally means “things made by hand”. Indeed, in this remote, sparsely populated area, many things are made by many hands: one quarter of adult residents are practicing artists. This exhibition in Canada’s London Embassy brings together 18 of those artists’ work to tell contemporary stories of Inuit life. From lingerie made of sealskin to temporary ice paintings captured on film, the show provides a glimpse at the teeming natural and cultural ecosystem found at Floe Edge, where human, ocean, animal and art all support and challenge each other.

  • Niore Iqalukjuak, Nilaktarvik

    Niore Iqalukjuak, Nilaktarvik.

    Image courtesy of Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association.

  • Daphne Wright: Emotional Archaeology

    Arnolfini, Bristol, until 31 December
    At first glance, Daphne Wright’s sculptural installations appear to be a serene haven of alluring, gentle white forms. Yet, as this 25-year survey show makes clear, things are never quite as they seem. Her animal sculptures, including bulls, lambs, horses and monkeys, are all cast from corpses, often acquired from hushed conversations with black-market farmers. When the bodies were already too decayed to make a good cast, Wright found herself applying multiple layers of resin, shadow and highlighting in order to “paint the death back on”. Wright’s works contain hidden truths, concerning both her own practice and wider contemporary culture. The process by which she uncovers them has been described by curator Josephine Lanyon as “emotional archaeology”.

  • Daphne Wright, Stallion

    Daphne Wright, Stallion, 2009.

    Marble dust and resin. Image courtesy of Alex Delfanne. Artwork courtesy of the artist and Frith Street Gallery.

  • Yinka Shonibare: '...and the wall fell away'

    Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, until 5 November
    Yinka Shonibare RA has had a busy few months. The façade of the Royal Academy is currently draped in a giant collage: his largest work to date, it is comprised of hundreds of photographs of the RA’s history, in an attempt “to bring the inside outside”. The 71-metre wrap seems to echo with the title of this latest solo show, …and the wall fell away. Here, he continues to shake the foundations of the hallowed halls of western thought, turning his astute eye and distinctive style onto its artistic canons and religious iconography. Though absent of the wax batik textiles Shonibare typically uses, this new body of work translates such patterns and colours into mural painting, bronze sculptures and screen prints, producing fantastical reimaginings of some of art history’s most sacred figures.

  • Yinka Shonibare, Myron Discus Thrower (after .....) (detail)

    Yinka Shonibare, Myron Discus Thrower (after .....) (detail), 2016.

    Unique mannequin, hand painted Dutch wax Batik pattern, globe and steel baseplate. Copyright: Yinka Shonibare MBE. Courtesy: Yinka Shonibare MBE and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photography: Mark Blower..

  • Jane and Louise Wilson: Undead Sun - We Put the World Before You

    Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesbrough, 1 October – 15 January 2017
    Jane and Louise Wilson have delved into WWI archives at the Imperial War Museum and the Wellcome Trust and returned with fragments of footage depicting early 20th-century developments in prosthetics and facial reconstruction, along with the rapidly advancing warfare technologies which necessitated them. The artists have weaved their findings around animation, a soundtrack performed by the Brodsky Quartet, and new imagery developed through working with pioneers in facial reconstruction today. In the words of MIMA’s Senior Curator Elinor Morgan, “the work presents challenging topics such as the emotional cost of conflict and the high financial investment in armaments. These subjects remain as relevant today as they were 100 years ago”.

  • Jane and Louise Wilson, Undead Sun

    Jane and Louise Wilson, Undead Sun, 2014.

    Courtesy of artist and Film and Video Umbrella.

  • Paula Rego: Dancing Ostriches

    Marlborough Fine Art, London, until 12 November
    Paula Rego’s 1996 Dancing Ostriches series was originally painted to commemorate one hundred years of cinema in Britain, having taken inspiration from Disney’s Fantasia (1940). The ballerinas, absorbed in stretching their muscular bodies or taking a moment to relax their dancing limbs, are Rego’s witty retort to Disney’s elegant characters. In the context of the artist’s Portuguese upbringing under Salazar’s autocratic Catholic regime, these paintings of women at peace take on further resonance. This show also features Rego’s first tapestry; a large-scale work made this year, based on a 16th-century folk tale of a daughter whose father was raised by eagles.

  • Paula Rego, Dancing Ostriches from Disney's ‘Fantasia’

    Paula Rego, Dancing Ostriches from Disney's ‘Fantasia’, 1995.

    Pastel on paper mounted on aluminium. 150 x 150 cm. Copyright Paula Rego, Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art, London.

  • Alice Primrose is an editorial intern at RA Magazine.