Six Culturalee Picks this Summer in London

Tavares Strachan 'You Belong Here'. Image Courtesy Hayward Gallery/ Copyright the artist.

Summer Season in London is well and truly under way with a host of recent exhibition openings and society events including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Naomi Campbell’s blockbuster exhibition at the V&A, a Christie’s charity auction of the late Dame Vivienne Westwood’s personal collection, the reveal of the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, Royal Ascot and the Chelsea Flower Show. 

A multitude of exhibitions are open across the city ranging from contemporary art to classical sculpture, street art to Rococo painting, Expressionism to AI portraiture. Culturalee selects six of the best exhibitions to see in London this summer. 

Tavares Strachan Courtesy Hayward Gallery/ Copyright the artist.

Tavares Strachan: There Is Light Somewhere at Hayward Gallery

Tavares Strachan: There Is Light Somewhere is the first mid-career survey dedicated to the multi-media artistic practice of Tavares Strachan (born in 1979). There Is Light Somewhere features monumental, often gravity-defying new sculptural commissions, neon artworks, large-scale collages and installations created by the New York-based Bahamian artist to celebrate underrepresented or overlooked cultural trailblazers and explores. Visitors are taken on an unforgettable multi-sensory journey designed to illuminate hidden histories and overcome historical biases. One of the most engaging, ground-breaking artists of his generation, Strachan exhibited at the 2019 Venice Biennale and his Hayward Gallery exhibition packs a punch, with a 9 metre-high neon work on the façade of the gallery declaring You Belong Here, a giant bronze head of 20th century Black nationalist Marcus Garvey, and the piece de resistance, a vast sculpture of the S.S. Yarmouth installed on the Hayward’s flooded sculpture terrace. S.S. Yarmouth was the flagship of the Black Star Line, the shipping company founded in 1919 by Jamaican social activist Marcus Garvey with the goal of facilitating trade and travel between the Caribbean USA, and Africa.

Tavares Strachan: There Is Light Somewhere is at the Hayward Gallery Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX, London until 1st September. 

Auguste Rodin installation view. Courtesy Bowman Sculpture.

Faces and Fables: Rodin’s Portraiture, Great Commissions, Mythology, and Sculptural Innovations at Bowman Sculpture. 

Bowman Sculpture offers a unique insight into the multifaceted world of Auguste Rodin, one of the most revered sculptors of all time. ‘Faces and Fables’ features 30 sculptures from Rodin’s earliest works through to the final pieces of his career including The Burghers of Calais and portraits of Balzac and Victor Hugo.

Themes of Rodin’s portraiture, his most famous monumental commissions, mythological sculptures, and his innovative use of assemblage techniques that epitomize his mastery of the medium are all explored through this thoughfully curated exhibition. 

A highlight is a lifetime cast of Le Penseur (The Thinker), one of only 6 known casts made between 1903 and 1914. Perhaps the most famous sculpture of all time, Auguste Rodin initially conceived this sculpture as an integral piece for the tympanum of his monumental work, La Porte de l’Enfer (The Gates of Hell).

Faces and Fables: Rodin’s Portraiture, Great Commissions, Mythology, and Sculptural Innovations is at Bowman Sculpture  6 Duke Street, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6BN until 31st July.

Flora Yukhnovich in her studio.

Flora Yukhnovich and François Boucher: The Language of the Rococo at The Wallace Collection

A free exhibition at The Wallace Collection encourages a visual conversation between contemporary British artist Flora Yukhnovich (b.1990) and 18th-century French painter François Boucher (1703-1770). Yukhnovich is one of the most talented artists of her generation, and explores the connection between the contemporary and historical through her large-scale, semi-abstract oil paintings. A regular visitor to The Wallace Collection, Yukhnovich has taken inspiration from the sensual paintings of Boucher, and breathed new life into the language of Rococo. Yukhnovich made 2 new paintings in response to 2 exceptional paintings by Boucher, which grace the top of the grand staircase in ornate gilt frames.

Boucher’s paintings are displayed in The Wallace Collection’s Housekeeper’s Room out of their frames, on white walls, like contemporary works of art. Theatrical and tongue-in-cheek, they are prime examples of the Rococo, a decorative and exuberant style favoured across the arts by royal and aristocratic patrons in France and elsewhere from the 1730s.

Flora Yukhnovich and François Boucher: The Language of the Rococo prompts visitors to reconsider preconceptions, explore how we can connect with the Rococo today and examine the impact of display on art interpretation and historical re-evaluation.

Flora Yukhnovich and François Boucher: The Language of the Rococo  is at The Wallace Collection Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN until 3rd November.

Image courtesy Rob and Nick Carter gallery.

THISPERSONDOESNOTEXIST at Rob and Nick Carter Gallery 

Husband and wife artist duo Rob and Nick Carter continue to push the boundaries of art and tech with their new group exhibition THISPERSONDOESNOTEXIST, a showcase of 24 artists offering their unique interpretation of the curious intersection of art and technology through a diverse array of wall-based media.

Participating artists include; Ben Ashton, Will Ayres, Helen Beard, Simon Braiden, Rob and Nick Carter, Luke Caulfield, Adam Dix, Rayvenn D’Clark, Cyan Dee, Nina MaeFowler, Colin Glen, Georgia Kitty Harris, Marcus Harvey, Hayden Kays, Annie Kevans, Natasha Law, Hugh Mendes, Joe Morrow, Geraldine Swayne, Liesel Thomas, Gavin Turk, Nettie Wakefield, James White and Jonathan Yeo.  The exhibition takes as a starting point the website 

THISPERSONDOESNOTEXIST  with a narrative from each artist engaging with the AI-generated, fake, but highly realistic, human faces produced by the site. Viewers are invited to contemplate the implications of artificial intelligence on our perception of identity and authenticity.

THISPERSONDOESNOTEXIST is at Rob and Nick Carter Gallery  5A Bathurst Street, London W2 2SD until 10th September. 

War and Peace by Blek le Rat at Woodbury House. Image courtesy Woodbury House.

Blek le Rat: War and Peace at Woodbury House 

Iconic French artist Blek le Rat, often known as the “Father of Stencil Graffiti’, has revealed a major solo exhibition featuring 50 new paintings and prints at Woodbury House in Mayfair. War and Peace by Blek le Rat is named after Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel War & Peace and reflects Blek’s exploration of humanity’s dichotomous state of being, examining notions of security and instability, harmony and hostility, resilience and torment, and life and death.

A highlight of War and Peace is a painting of a Persian Warrior on horseback from Blek’s ‘Stallion of Sacrifice’ series, based on an artwork Blek saw at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, which he felt perfectly embodied the universal soldier – powerful yet vulnerable.

As well as the exhibition at Woodbury House, Blek has created new stencil art in several central London locations. See if you can spot Blek le Rat artworks at Grind on Kingly Street, The Devonshire Arms on Denman Street and Maddox Street in Mayfair.

Blek has also created a limited print run of ‘Art is not Peace but War’ to coincide with the Woodbury House exhibition.

Blek le Rat: War and Peace is at Woodbury House 29 Sackville Street, London W1S 3DX until 31st July.

Expressionists: Kandinsky, Munter and the Blue Rider, 2024 at Tate Modern. Image courtesy Tate Modern.

Expressionists: Kandinsky, Münter and the Blue Rider at Tate Modern 

Expressionists: Kandinsky, Münter and the Blue Rider is an extensive exhibition exploring the ground breaking work of a circle of friends and close collaborators known as The Blue Rider.  The Blue Rider centred around Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter and was formed in the 20th century with a mission to transform modern art through experimentation with colour, sound and light. 

Expressionists is a story of friendships told through art and examines the highly individual creatives that made up The Blue Rider, from Franz Marc’s interest in colour to Alexander Sacharoff’s freestyle performance. The women artists played a central role in the movement. Discover experimental photographs by Gabriele Münter alongside the dramatic paintings of Marianne Werefkin. Featured in the exhibition are bold and vibrant masterpieces from paintings, sculpture, and photography to performance and sound. This landmark exhibition is possible due to a collaboration with Lenbachhaus, Munich, who have offered Tate unprecedented access to their collection. It features over 130 works – brought together in the UK for the first time in over 60 years.

Expressionists: Kandinsky, Münter and the Blue Rider is at Tate Modern until 20th October.


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