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.
“Lee Bul: From Me, Belongs to You Only”
MORI ART MUSEUM
February 4– May 27
Curated by Mami Kataokan
As the discourse of contemporary art took a global turn in the mid-1990s, the Seoul-based artist Lee Bul rose to international prominence. Now, this front-runner of Asian contemporary art has her first midcareer survey. The exhibition will include some fifty works ranging from performances of the late 1980s and early ’90s, addressing questions of gender, to more recent installations (including several that will debut here) made using industrially manufactured glass and metal chains. Making clear the full scope of her practice to date, the show is poised to vividly demonstrate the extent to which Lee owes her artistic longevity to her visceral understanding of materials. And it will evince how her particular combinations of drastically different substances can command an emotional response no less compelling than the history and politics her works attempt to address.
After his assured handling of the Swiss pavilion in last year’s Venice Biennale, Valentin Carron will now explore Europe’s midcentury modernist vernacular in this solo exhibition, his first to feature painting exclusively. The forty-some works included will be screenprints on industrial tarpaulin stretched across austere tubular steel frames, all executed in an idiom that suggests a kind of colloquial hard-edge, with “mistakes” left ostentatiously unconcealed. The referent? The rugged, cold material aesthetic of overland truck transportan allusion, Carron claims, to his home canton of Valais in the country’s southwest. This winter in neighboring Bern, Carron adroitly poses as the native sona Sunday painter singing solfège, albeit one cued to the beat of a different drummer.
Ceal Floyer’s works often revolve around fleeting physical phenomenathe sound of footsteps, the movement of a window blindthat hover on the edge of significance. But the infrastructures that deliver these stimuli (projectors, speaker systems, turntables, and other common devices) serves as a constant reminder that in fact the given gesture or sensation exists concretely within our environment. Such an approach is foundational to Floyer’s practice, as is her use of words not as abstract vehicles of meaning but as material: For example, the artist replaced the PUSH/PULL door plates in her studio with ones reading PUSHED/PULLED, thus revealing the ambiguities of language through the actions and reflections of a body in space. This show is poised to address Floyer’s minimal approach via recent pieces in sound, light, and video, as well as new works conceived for Museion’s markedly fluid architecture. Christina Ritchie, Sergio Edelstein, and the curator contribute to the accompanying trilingual catalogue.
“I Love You,” the coquettish subtitle of Pascale Marthine Tayou’s upcoming exhibition at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, is of course gently ironic: an ambivalent affirmation in line with the Cameroonian-born, Belgium-based artist’s long history of ebullient antagonism toward the museums and biennials that host his work. Whether through jury-rigged installations that destabilize institutions’ physical and conceptual architecture from within or via his dazzling aesthetics of excess (think bauble-swathed Venetian crystal sculptures bedecked with crimson chicken-feather headdresses), Tayou always finds ways to unsettle and confound. This exhibition, featuring an impressive lineup of the artist’s motley characters and constructionsincluding the transparent “unsculptures” that mock conceptions of Africa as opaque, a “favela” of hundreds of birdcages, and a perilously balanced “endless column” of cookwarepromises to explode a love bomb of scattered dimensions across three floors of the kunsthaus.
“Displace, Disclose, Discover: Acts of Painting, 1960/1999”
LILLE MÉTROPOLE MUSEUM OF MODERN, CONTEMPORARY, AND OUTSIDER ART
March 3–May 27
Curated by Marc Donnadieu
A decade ago, “As Painting: Division and Displacement”a revelatory show at the Wexner Center for the Artsforegrounded the vitality of French painting following the New York scene’s storied theft of modern art. Now, another exhibition, this time in Lille, more closely examines the pictorial practices of five French artistsSimon Hantaï, Martin Barré, Marc Devade, Jean Degottex, and Michel Parmentierworking during (and in resistance to) the ascendancy of Greenbergian modernism and its Minimalist and post-Minimalist aftermaths. Narrower in focus than its North American predecessor yet more expansive in regard to each featured oeuvre, the LaM’s presentation brings together nearly 125 works by these very different figures, arguing for the continued importance to each of some material notion of the tableau. A catalogue with essays by Donnadieu and Philip Armstrong accompanies the show.
4th Marrakech Biennale
EL BADI PALACE
February 29–June 3
Curated by Carson Chan and Nadim Samman
This festival of arts explicitly buys into the city-branding directive of big, brash international showmanship. However, presided over by Vanessa Branson (sister of Richard) and featuring participants ranging from the writer Gideon Lewis-Kraus to the punk-rock/freak-folk duo CocoRosie and the artists Younes Baba-Ali, Tue Greenfort, and Karthik Pandian, the fourth Marrakech Biennale promises to be at once stranger than the last and as heterogeneous as ever. After the bombing in the city’s bustling Jemaa el-Fnaa last spring, the event is now doubly tasked with helping to clean up Marrakech’s image and demonstrating Morocco’s commitment to an open society and free expression. Anchoring this multiplatform program will be “Higher Atlas,” for which architecture critic Chan and independent curator Samman have asked artists, musicians, novelists, and architects to collaborate with local craftsmen to create new works in response to the exhibition venue (a sixteenth-century palace) and the Sufi notion of transcendence.