In 2022, we’ve visited a harrowing retrospective in Cambridge (Howardena Pindell at Kettle’s Yard), a challenging collective show in Dublin (The Otolith Group at the Irish Museum of Modern Art) and a bold debut (Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley at Arebyte) in Canning Town. In no order, this list represents, in my opinion, the shows that have stood out the most – from familiar names to a degree show presentation.
Camden Art Centre, London
Modern Art Oxford
Camden Art Centre was on a roll this year, with its Forrest Bess survey a contender for this list. However, I’ve plumped for ‘Enclosures’, the culmination of Jesse Darling’s Freelands Lomax Fellowship residency, an exhibition which drew the viewer into the artist’s ongoing research into the fallibility and vulnerability of living beings. Along with Darling’s ‘No Medals, No Ribbons’, a retrospective at Modern Art Oxford, ‘Enclosures’ conjured a powerful sense of the malleability of both bodies and borders. Iarlaith Ni Fheorais: ‘Darling’s work refuses the ordering and categorization of the colonial state, showing us that the body is beyond fixity. It bends, transforms and breaks.’
Brathwaite-Shirley’s brilliance in ‘She Keeps Me Damn Alive’ was to transform the viewer from passive witness to protagonist – aggressor, even – in a shoot ’em up video game of social allyship. Literally holding an oversized purple gun recalling a retro arcade game, exhibition visitors move through the game platform, defending Black trans people from danger. In January, Lauren Dei detailed how the artist employs fantastical simulations to challenge real-world injustices in a game of responsibility, choices and consequences: ‘As we move towards an alleged meta-future, no digital upgrade on society can compensate for a lack of understanding and love. There are no cheat codes.’
Mimosa House, London
In ‘The Baroness’, the creative output, mythology, stature and writing of the early 20th-century artist Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, formed the basis for responses by 12 contemporary artists, including Caspar Heinemann and Linda Stupart. Rather than taking received histories as read, curator Daria Khan proposes unusual points of departure from which multiple new interpretations can spring. Juliet Jacques: ‘In a time when it has become fashionable to revisit forgotten people from historical art scenes, a figure such as Elsa Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven poses a complex question to curators, historians and contemporary artists.’
Lisson Gallery, London
‘Safe’ was the eponymous second instalment in a trilogy of short films on women’s interior and exterior lives. Bradley, whose 2020 feature-length documentary Time received an Oscar nomination, seamlessly moves between conventional cinematic and gallery contexts. Allie Biswas profiled the New Orleans-based artist in the October issue of frieze, which featured a still from her documentary America (2019) on the cover. Bradley, Biswas noted, acts as a facilitator, and her art as a channel for the voices of others: she has ‘forged a body of work in which the personal circumstances of individuals are prioritized’.
The Otolith Group
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
‘Xenogenesis’, an exhibition of works produced between 2011 and 2018 by The Otolith Group, opened in Dublin in July. Curated by Annie Fletcher, director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the show has appeared worldwide, at galleries including Buxton Contemporary, Melbourne, and Sharjah Art Foundation. In his review, Chris Hayes characterized Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun’s unique and significant contribution to video essay-making as ‘a commitment to the political potency of complex ideas and challenging forms’.
Read the entire article here: https://www.frieze.com/article/top-ten-shows-uk-and-ireland-2022