This Season: 5 UK Shows to See

The Turner Prize and Tate’s most recent Turbine Hall commission are amongst this season’s must-see UK shows. From interactive installations to traditional knotting techniques, these exhibitions offer a variety of perspectives on the world – showing how art can be used as an effective tool for communication.

Turner Prize 2022, Tate Liverpool | Until 19 March

The Turner Prize returns to Liverpool, where it was first presented outside London 15 years ago. These exhibitions push art in bold directions. Heather Phillipson’s (b. 1978) Rupture Number 6: biting the blow torched peach (2022) places visitors in a dystopian reality, whilst Ingrid Pollard (b. 1953) mediates on nationhood and race. Elsewhere, Veronica Ryan’s (b. 1956) practice realises spatial experiences through sculpture and Sin Wai Kin (b. 1991) draws on their non-binary identity in performances that blend pop culture with Chinese philosophy.

Cecilia Vicuña: Brain Forest Quipu, Tate Modern, London | Until 16 April

Indigenous Andean cultures have been using “quipu” – a system of knotted chords – to record information and communicate messages for thousands of years. Renowned Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña (b. 1948) has incorporated the technique into her work over the last five decades. Brain Forest Quipu (2022) mourns deforestation and biodiversity loss. Unspun wool is combined with found objects gathered from around the Thames by local Latin American women to become, in the words of the artist, “a tactile, spatial metaphor for the union of all.”

Plastic: Remaking Our World, V&A Dundee | Until 5 February

In 2022, scientists detected microplastics in human blood. The discovery attests to how ubiquitous the artificial matter has become – even inserting itself within human biology. Its durability makes plastic equally pernicious and useful. This show uses an array of objects – from furniture and clothes to toys – to explore how this paradoxical material has transformed the world over its 150 year history. These displays look beyond the present to ask how, for the sake of the planet, we can adapt to a plastic-lite future, embracing biodegradable alternatives.

Cerith Wyn Evans, Mostyn, Wales | Until 4 February

Neon sculptures dangle like tangled lines dancing in mid-air, whilst columns of light shoot down from seven metres above the floor. Leading Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans (b. 1958) takes over Mostyn, Wales, for this place-responsive exhibition – his largest to date in Britain. Everything is a carefully choreographed allusion to the unfixable energy that flows through- out the world. A sensory playground unfolds as light, shadow, vibrations and transparencies form a “controlled randomness” for audiences to explore and challenge perceptions of space.

Yinka Ilori: Parables for Happiness, The Design Museum, London | Until 25 June

“Love Always Wins.” These words, emblazoned on Yinka Ilori’s (b. 1987) mural in Harrow, London, sum up his ethos. The artist’s bright, multi-coloured style is a tonic for the senses. The designer has turned his instantly recognisable graphics into cushion covers and playgrounds, taking inspiration from the Nigerian parables and textiles of his heritage. In a kaleidoscopic presentation of 100 objects and images, eye-popping oranges, turquoises and hot pinks contrast with bold patterns to form a visual articulation of the rich diversity of Britain’s capital.

Image Credits:
1. Yinka Ilori, Pavillion Reveal Estrel Hotel (2022). Photographed by Linus Muellerschoen
2. Hyundai Commission: Cecilia Vicuña: Brain Forest Quipu (2022). Installation View at Tate Modern. Photo: © Tate Photography (Sonal Bakrania)
3. The Ocean Cleanup, System 002 deployed for testing in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (2021). 1.3MB 3000 x 1686px. © The Ocean Cleanup.
4. Pirelli Hangar Bicocca, … the Illuminating Gas, Milan 31 October 2019 – 6 July 2020 © Cerith Wyn Evans. Photo © Agostino Osio. Courtesy the artist and Pirelli Hangar Bicocca, Milan.
5. Yinka Ilori, Pavillion Reveal Estrel Hotel (2022). Photographed by Linus Muellerschoen