The following guide to museum shows currently on view is compiled from Artforum’s three-times-yearly exhibition preview. Subscribe now to begin a year of Artforum—the world’s leading magazine of contemporary art. You’ll get all three big preview issues, featuring Artforum’s comprehensive advance roundups of the shows to see each season around the globe.
Turin is a fitting setting for the work of Ed Atkins. While his tragicomic videos of HD avatars express the alienation that permeates contemporary (white hetero cis-male) life, they alsolike the famous Shroud of Turin before themrender the body strange, as the mutable object of endless mediations. Just as the shroud’s configuration of marks is either an ancient hoax or the indexical trace of the body of Christ, the artist’s representations may or may not register the existence of an entity that hovers somewhere between presence and ghostly evanescenceonly in Atkins’s case, that radically ambiguous entity is the embodied subject of today. More than half a dozen projects will be presented at the Castello di Rivoli; notable among the works that will take up residence in the former Savoy soldier barracks are Ribbons and Happy Birthday!!!, both 2014. Another video installation, Safe Conduct, 2016, will be on display at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.
“Campo cerrado” (Closed Field) surveys Spanish cultural production from 1939a date that marks not only the commencement of World War II but also the end of the Spanish Civil War and the beginning of Franco’s dictatorial ruleto the mid-1950s. Work from this period has, for the most part, been critically disregarded until recently, thanks to its conservative strain and its association with the fascist Francoist regime. This exhibition promises to shed new light on the epoch, highlighting the emergence of a modern Spanish sensibility. The show brings together painting and sculpture alongside film, documentation of theatrical productions and architectural structures, and related ephemeraall recontextualizing our aesthetic and ideological understanding of this era. The catalogue includes reproductions of these materials and a selection of contemporary and historical texts, many translated into English for the first time.
A seminal figure in both the New Basque Sculpture movement of the 1980s and the internationalization of Spanish art toward the end of that decade, over the past thirty years Txomin Badiola has developed a prolific body of work that utilizes a diverse array of media and references to engage his viewers in a manner that is more dialogic than expressive. For his upcoming retrospective at the Palacio de Velázquez, the artist has invited a group of his peersAna Laura Aláez, Ángel Bados, Jon Mikel Euba, Pello Irazu, Asier Mendizabal, Itziar Okariz, and Sergio Pregoto help select some of the sculptures, drawings, photographs, and multimedia installations that will be on view. Interviews in which the seven cocurators discuss their decision-making process will be filmed, and an edited transcript of these conversations will appear in the exhibition catalogue.
Concrete (béton) is chic again. Its rehabilitation was officially ratified last year when a number of stark Brutalist buildings served as backdrops for fashionable figures in a Prada fall/winter ad campaign. For many years the material was considered drably utilitarian at bestthe primary stuff of a postwar modernism associated with civic projects foisted on the public by town councils and other bureaucratic institutions. The irony of such a reading, however, is that many of the architects who employed concrete did so in hopes of opening up architecture to the outside. Featuring work by twenty international artists, including Tom Burr and Isa Genzken, this show should reveal the social implications registered within the dense medium. With any luck, the exhibition will move beyond reactionary readings (from Prada’s romance with ruins to neoliberalism’s gripe with public institutions) to prove that the use of concrete was driven as much by ethical concerns as it was by aesthetic ones.
In 1971, Július Koller (1933–2007) envisioned a gallery atop a mountain in Slovakia’s High Tatras. This private, fictive spacethe UFO Gallery Ganek, as it came to be knownwas a liberating alternative to the official institutions of the Soviet state, a refuge where thought could flow freely and information had no limits. Though Koller’s gallery was imaginary, it was nevertheless a frame for the creation of real works, including drawings, photographs, “anti-paintings,” and cards made with a children’s printing set. This monumental retrospective, and its extensive catalogue, will put the full breadth of the artist’s production on view, placing unprecedented emphasis on Koller’s archive of printed matter: a massive collection of postcards and cheap brochures, newspaper clippings, comic strips, and other such pulp culled from everyday life.
Mining the current intensification of nationalism in Germany and Israel, this collaboration between Tel Aviv’s CCA and the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein explores the political and formal limits of belonging, artistic disciplines, and imposed structures through performative interventions. Each iteration of this show will include an arena (built by architect Markus Miessen for the CCA and by artist Ohad Meromi for the NBK) delineating the spatial parameters in which a multigenerational cast of artists, theorists, dancers, and directors will produce new worksand investigate the contemporary occupation, inhabitation, and colonization of space and subjectivity. As much of the world regresses into frighteningly reactionary and essentialized models of identity, this is a worthy attempt to offer complex demonstrations of “working through” power relations. Can we move beyond the binational narratives of “victim” and “victimizer” by questioning the physical limits and aesthetic constraints of collaboration? Travels to the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, June 3–July 30, 2017.