Exhibitions to Discover:
Women Artists In Focus

Exhibitions to Discover: <br>Women Artists In Focus

The following shows, on view across the UK, provide a platform for international female artists. From sculptures that link to a global abstraction, to replicas of avant-garde film sets from the 1960s and 1970s, these surveys shed light on creative figures who continue to challenge the canon.

Barbara Kruger | Serpentine Gallery, London | Until 17 March

American conceptual artist Barbara Kruger’s (b. 1945) creative practice focuses on visual culture and image production. She’s widely recognised for her collage style that consists of monochrome photographs, overlaid with decorative captions. These graphics examine the inherent connection between pictures and words and often explore complex mechanisms of capital, class, gender and power.  Now, Kruger’s show at Serpentine Gallery transforms the interior and extends beyond the institution’s walls to engage Kensington Gardens and other sites around London. Artistic Director, Hans Ulrich Obrist, states that Kruger’s pieces are “about how we are to one other” resulting in “a commentary on living in our times.” A selection of video installations, posters and wall-sized prints propose a conversation about societal issues, whilst Kruger’s characteristic graphics envelope complete rooms and overtake corridors. 

Beyond Form: Lines of Abstraction, 1950-1970 | Turner Contemporary, Margate | Until 6 May

Beyond Form is a group exhibition thematising abstraction as a radical global language shared by women artists in the 20 years following WWII. By resisting the pressure to return to domestic roles, female artists of the 1950s and 1960s utilised visual expressions that resonated with the era’s proto-feminist sentiments. Through employing techniques like hanging, stacking and weaving they distanced themselves from established cultural hierarchies and challenged gender norms. The exhibition presents tactile pieces by names such as Eva Hesse, Hannah Wilke, Louise Bourgeois and Mária Bartuszová alongside Ewa Pachucka and Maria Teresa Chojnacka’s fibre work and a selection of paintings and reliefs by Agnes Martin and Carmen Herrera. Over 80 items, predominantly sculpture, trace how trailblazing women artists revolutionised and materialised ideas, making way for new forms of creative expression.

Zineb Sedira: Dreams Have No Titles | Whitechapel Gallery, London | Until 12 May

Originally conceived for the French Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022), Dreams have No Titles is the critically acclaimed project of French-Algerian artist Zineb Sedira (b. 1963). The multimedia exhibition transforms the gallery space into a series of film sets that reference specific moving images, as well as elements of the artist’s personal history. Sedira’s installations address pivotal cultural history moments from avant-garde cinema during the 1960s and 1970s across Algeria, France and Italy. The public can immerse themselves in scenes from Ettore Scola’s Le Bal (1983) – a film that represents a 50-year story of French society, as well as the replica of Sedira’s own living room. Whitechapel Gallery’s display invites visitors to participate in an unfolding narrative where fiction and documentary intertwine.

Kim Lim: Space Rhythm & Light | The Hepworth, Wakefield | Until 2 June

Kim Lim (1936-1997) was a Singaporean-British sculptor of Chinese descent. Recognised for her abstract wooden and stone-carved pieces, her objects explore the relationship between art and nature. Now, Hepworth Gallery presents the full breadth of the artist’s work through a selection of sculptures that were inspired by organic shapes, as well as those found in global cultures. Space, Rhythm & Light explores Lim’s engagement with abstraction across a wide range of media and materials that indicate the artist’s distinct contribution to 20th century British sculpture and printmaking. The display features large-scale metal works created between the 1950s and 1970s as well as later minimalist stone carvings made in the 1990s. Visitors will be able to engage with an array of audio recordings, documentary photographs and sketchbooks alongside Lim’s personal library of research material from her studio.

Yoko Ono: Music Of The Mind | Tate Modern, London | Until 1 September

Tate Modern presents the UK’s largest exhibition to celebrate the work of artist and activist Yoko Ono (b. 1933). Ono is known for her early conceptual and participatory projects including moving-image, mixed media works and performances. Besides a trailblazing career in visual art, Ono has been a celebrated musician and a formidable campaigner for world peace. Music of The Mind spans seven decades of Ono’s powerful and multidisciplinary practice from the mid-1950s to now. It traces the development of her innovative work and its enduring impact on contemporary culture. The display brings together over 200 items such as films, installations, music and photography. Conceived in close collaboration with the artist’s studio, it reveals a radical approach to authorship, language and social advocacy.

Image credits:

1. Tawney At Work In Studio, New York, USA.1966 Nina Leen/ The LIFE Picture Collection/ Shutterstock

2. Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.,(Installation view, 1 February – 17 March 2024, Serpentine South) Photo: George Darrell

3. Marisa Merz withLiving Sculptures, Turin, 1966Photo: Renato Rinaldi, Courtesy ArchivioMerz, MarisaMerz © SIAE

4. Zineb Sedira Installation view fromDreams Have No Titles at theHamburgerBahnhof–National galerie der Gegenwart, Berlin2023©Mathieu Carmona © DACS, London

5. Kim Lim working on Twice, 1968. © Estate of Kim Lim / Turnbull Studio. All Rights Reserved, DACS. Photo: Jorge Lewinski. © The Lewinski Archive at Chatsworth. All Rights Reserved 2023 / Bridgeman Images

6. Yoko Ono withHalf-A-Room1967 fromHALF-A-WIND SHOW, Lisson Gallery, London, 1967. Photo © ClayPerry