Major European Shows This Season

Major European Shows This Season

Aesthetica’s list of recommended shows brings together global names that work with a range of media. From Denmark to the Netherlands and Portugal to Switzerland, these institution surveys consider themes like memory and heritage and display site-specific works that reinvigorate audiences’ experience of space.

Nan Goldin | Lousiana, Humlebæk | Until 21 March

At the end of 2023, Art Review, named American photographer Nan Goldin (b. 1953) the most influential artist right now on their Power 100 list. The justification for the placement was as follows: “Nan Goldin tops the list as the most visible and prominent role model for an artist who does not just document and bear witness, but who functions as a whistleblower, activist and ethical spokesperson.” Goldin is considered one of the most recognized artists of her generation. She found international fame in the 1980s with the picture series The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, an honest depiction of the time’s wild bohemian and nightlife in New York and Berlin. Now, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art displays her latest piece titled Memory Lost, which recounts Goldin’s years struggling with substance abuse. It is a digital slideshow that takes viewers on a poignant journey. The film contains images and recordings from Goldin’s archive.

Marina Abramović | Stedelijk, Amsterdam | From 16 March

“There are so many different forms of art, performance is one of the most difficult, the most immaterial, and the most real,” says conceptual artist Marina Abramović (b. 1946), who has been recognised for her body art since the 1970s. She thrust performance art from its experimental beginnings into the mainstream. Using her body as her medium, Abramović consistently tests her mental and physical endurance, to the point of pain and even the possibility of death. Stedelijk presents a solo exhibition that showcases the entire oeuvre of Abramović. The survey features archival footage of performances, photos, videos, sculptures and four iconic performances will be re-staged for the first time in the Netherlands.

Joana Vasconcelos:Plug-in | MAAT, | Until 8 April

“My objective is not the cause of women, but thinking; and thinking has no colour race, identity age or gender,” says Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos who is known for her large-scale installations. MAAT’s show brings together a selection of Vasconcelos’ most recognisable works created in the last two decades. Alongside two objects that were previously shown at Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum, Plug-in showcases a brand new piece titled Drag Race, which establishes a dialogue with previous works. The exhibition invites visitors to interact with Vasconcelos’ pieces and explore the gallery from a new perspective.

Anish Kapoor | Arken, Ishøj | From 11 April

British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor’s (b. 1954) monumental objects and installations speak directly to our senses and emotions. Through his unique eye for materials, shapes, colours and surfaces we are drawn into his artwork, which turns the world upside down — often quite literally. Kapoor has been shown in the largest exhibition venues in the world including Buenos Aires, Munchen, New York and Shenzhen. Several of his public pieces occupy significant pots in global metropolises. This spring, Kapoor’s site-specific installations overtake the galleries of the ARKEN Museum of Contemporary Art, Ishøj. Most of these pieces directly respond to the architecture. In this way, the exhibition challenges and changes the usual way audiences interact with the building. It proposes new ways of seeing the works and spaces.

Dan Flavin: Dedications in Lights | Kunstmuseum, Basel | Until 18 August

Minimalism is an extreme form of abstract art developed in the USA in the 1960s and typified by artworks composed of simple geometric shapes based on the square and the rectangle. Some of the most important innovators associated with the movement include painter Agnes Martin (1912-2004), sculptor Robert Morris (1931-2018) and light artist Dan Flavin (1933-1996), whose luminous objects are on display at Kunstmuseum Basel. Flavin rose to fame by creating a new art form with industrially manufactured fluorescent tubes. His works were made of light-extricated colour from the context of painting and transposed into three-dimensional space. In addition to Flavin’s widely recognized installations, some of which take up entire rooms, the presentation includes drawings as well as notebooks with sketches.

Image credits:

1. StrangersinTheNight2000_4 © DMF Lisboa

2. Nan Goldin, “Memory Lost,” 2019-2021, Fourth Floor – North Gallery Right Side Video Room

3.Marina Abramović, ‘The Artist is Present’, 2010. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. © Marina Abramović. Photo: Marco Anelli

4.ValkyrieOctopus2015_35 © Luís Vasconcelos

5. Anish Kapoor, Destierrio, 2017. Photo: Jonathan Leijonhufvud © Anish Kapoor / VISDA

6. Dan Flavin, untitled (to Don Judd, colorist) 1-5, 1987. fluorescent light (122 x 122 x 10 cm; Object: 137.16 x 121.9 x 10 cm) © Stephen Flavin / 2024, ProLitteris, Zurich,  Panza Collection, Mendrisio
Photo Credit: Florian Holzherr