Exhibitions to See: This Month

Exhibitions to See: This Month

Discover art and photography exhibitions – both physical and online – to explore this October.

Dark Testament, Fotografiska, Stockholm

British-Liberian conceptual artist Lina Iris Viktor (b. 1987) blurs the lines between photography, painting, performance and sculpture. The black and gold works – infused with 24-karat gold leaf – explore the complex cultural histories of the global African diaspora, whilst looking at “multifaceted notions of ‘blackness’: as colour, value and socio-political consciousness.” Viktor draws on a variety of artistic traditions and visual influences – from European portraiture, classical mythology and astronomy to ancient Egyptian and African symbolism. In every image, Viktor is the subject. Until 31 January.

An Eclipse of Moths, Gagosian, Beverly Hills

Gregory Crewdson’s (b. 1962) latest series unfolds across postindustrial American landscapes: a taxi depot, a traveling carnival lot, an abandoned factory complex, abandoned diners and vacant storefronts. “These pictures are a meditation on brokenness, a search, a longing, and a yearning for meaning,” the photographer notes. “The figures are surrounded by vast decaying industrial landscapes and the impinging nature―and there’s a certain underlying suggestion of anxiety. I hope in the end the theme of nature persisting, and of figures seeking out light, offers hope for renewal.” Until 21 November.

Martine Franck, FOMU, Antwerp

“A photograph isn’t necessarily a lie, but nor is it the truth. It’s more of a fleeting, subjective impression. What I most like about photography is the moment that you can’t anticipate: you have to be constantly watching for it, ready to welcome the unexpected.” Martine Franck’s (1938-2012) images are filled with a sense of humanity. They capture life across the globe, spanning France, Ireland, China, India and Japan. Her work came from a place of “deep social commitment” – telling the stories of women, the elderly, refugees and endangered communities worldwide. This retrospective highlights strong compositions in black and white. From 2 October.

Face to Face, Kings Cross Tunnel, London

This free, public exhibition highlights powerful social documentary and portrait photography. Curated by Ekow Eshun in partnership with the Fund for Global Human Rights, it showcases work from regions where the Fund is active – Africa, Latin America, South Asia and Southeast Asia. The show presents “encounters that celebrate the agency, energy, and potential of people and causes on the ground.” The artists, including Sabelo Mlangeni, whose work is featured above, have worked closely with individuals and local communities to create collaborative, nuanced images. An accompanying online programme will feature live interviews, articles and videos about campaigning for change. 7 October – 1 November.

Don McCullin, Tate Liverpool

Don McCullin (b. 1935) is recognised as one of the world’s leading conflict photographers. Tate Liverpool’s show turns its attention to his images of Britain – depicting life and industrial scenes in Liverpool and other northern towns and cities during the 1960s and 1970s. These scenes highlight how communities were impacted by policies of deindustrialisation, whilst reflecting on McCullin’s own childhood. Every photograph in this exhibition has been printed by McCullin, including a series of haunting landscapes taken of his home county, Somerset. Until 9 May.

Andreas Gursky, Sprueth Magers, Berlin

Andreas Gursky (b. 1955) revisits iconic images – including Rhine II (1999) – in his latest series. The photographs transport audiences back to settings such as Hong Kong’s cityscape and the Rhine river, looking anew at our built environment and humankind’s impact on the natural world. Many of the landscapes have drastically altered, with water drying up and cities expanding. A particularly striking image is that of a colossal cruise ship still in the process of being constructed. In today’s world, it represents many things: urban overcrowding, a sense of anonymity and a need to escape. Until 14 November. Available online.

Leila Alaoui: Rite of Passage, Somerset House, London

French-Moroccan photographer, video artist and activist Leila Alaoui (1982-2016) is remembered for capturing the unseen stories of individuals and communities displaced by conflict and unrest. Her portraits offered a window into a variety of cultural identities and experiences, from Syrian refugees fleeing civil war in Lebanon to young North Africans seeking an alternative future in Europe. As Somerset House explains, Alaoui gave “a human face to the people who often become lost and misrepresented behind waves of news coverage and statistics.” Opens 11 October.

Companion Pieces: New Photography 2020, Online with Museum of Modern Art, New York

Museum of Modern Art’s New Photography show, launched in 1985, continues to celebrates fresh talent in image-making. This year’s edition asks the question: how do photographs speak to one another? It touches on timely themes of connection and separation, with artists reframing images from throughout history and across the globe. “The exhibition was conceived well before the pandemic forced us inside, physically isolating us from one another, compelling us to connect through our screens,” the museum notes. “In realising this exhibition on moma.org, we once again experience physical artworks as digital scrolls of images. In our current reality of frequent looking online, we are eager for their companionship.”

Lead image: Courtesy Lina Iris Viktor.
1. Gregory Crewdson, Red Star Express, 2018-19.

2. Martine Franck, Swimming Pool Designed by Alain Capeilleres, La Brusc, South of France, 1976.
3. James Brown (The Royal House of Allure), 2019, Sabelo Mlangeni.
4. Don McCullin Protester, Cuban Missile Crisis, Whitehall, London 1962.
5. Andreas Gursky, Rhine II (1999).

6. Tamesloht, 2011 from the series Les Marocains by Leila Alaoui. Courtesy Fondation Leila Alaoui & GALLERIA CONTINUA
Khamlia, South of Morocco #1, 2014 from the series Les Marocains by Leila Alaoui. Courtesy Fondation Leila Alaoui & GALLERIA CONTINUA
8. Dionne Lee, Breaking Wave.