International Museum Exhibitions

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.

El Ultimo Grito, Mise-en-scène, 2014, digital print on vinyl. From the 10th Gwangju Biennale.

10th Gwangju Biennale: “Burning Down The House”

GWANGJU BIENNALE
GWANGJU
Through November 9
Curated by Jessica Morgan

Responding to the loaded context underpinning Gwangju’s biennial—inaugurated to commemorate the 1980 massacre of Korean civilians protesting military dictatorship—Jessica Morgan borrows a title from the band Talking Heads for this year’s iteration, foregrounding the idea that with destruction comes renewal. The exhibition, which fills five vast halls and surrounding grounds with contributions by some one hundred participants, opens with a work by Korean artist Minouk Lim, who presents a container filled with the biological remains of Korean War casualties—the “bones of near history,” Morgan writes. Promising to expand this cycle of mourning and recrimination is the dialogue set to transpire between such locally derived works and those of lesser-known international names who are in fact icons in their regions: Turkey’s Gülsün Karamustafa, for example, or India’s Mrinalini Mukherjee. In such company, the work of familiar Western figures such as Jeremy Deller and Urs Fischer may find new meanings as well.

Doryun Chong

Pavel Pepperstein, Supreme of Control, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 59 x 78 3/4". From Manifesta 10.

Manifesta 10

THE STATE HERMITAGE MUSEUM
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
Through October 31
Curated by Kasper König

For its tenth edition, the Manifesta Foundation will settle its itinerant biennial at the edge of a former empire, in one of the world’s oldest museums: the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg. Once touted as a “window to Europe,” Russia’s second city has recently drawn its shades, as domestic politics—notably, the criminalization of “homosexual propaganda”—have sparked international protests. Mindful of this context,König will address questions of the body, drawing on the museum’s treasured Matisse collection (which includes The Dance, 1909–10) to develop a politically nuanced exhibition of more than fifty artists—from Francis Alÿs, Joseph Beuys, Nicole Eisenman, Maria Lassnig, and Pavel Pepperstein to gender-bending pioneers from the perestroika era such as Timur Novikov and Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe. The catalogue will feature essays by Ekaterina Andreeva, Ekaterina Degot, Helmut Draxler, and Silvia Eiblmayr.

Kate Sutton

Roman Signer, Unfall als Skulptur (Accident as Sculpture), 2008. Performance view, Kunstraum Dornbirn, Austria, 2008.

Roman Signer

KUNSTMUSEUM ST. GALLEN
ST. GALLEN, SWITZERLAND
Through October 26
Curated by Roland Wäspe and Konrad Bitterli

Roman Signer is the only artist that I know of who possesses an official license to blow things up. And it isn’t just for show. The Swiss artist, who creates much of his work outside, takes his sweeping native landscape as his studio, often staging destructive processes and massive performances involving fire. Though this exhibition will be installed predominantly indoors, it will nevertheless feature Signer’s signature alchemical transformations of everyday objects (such as chairs, tables, or a model helicopter) into assemblages of newly exploded elements. Viewer wariness is not entirely unjustified: To be sure, there are various levels of pyrotechnic accreditation in Switzerland, and Signer apparently has the authority to detonate any object he likes save for entire buildings. Which is to say: Will there be rockets in this show? Yes. But the kunstmuseum itself is likely to survive.

Daniel Birnbaum

Yokohama Triennale 2014: “Art Fahrenheit 451: Sailing Into the Sea of Oblivion”

YOKOHAMA MUSEUM OF ART
YOKOHAMA
Through November 3
Curated by Yasumasa Morimura

Best known for inserting himself into studiously researched photographic re-creations of masterpieces from the Western canon, artist Yasumasa Morimura will oversee the fifth edition of the Yokohama Triennale. He has selected approximately seventy international artists to address the dialectic of remembering and forgetting—a subject embodied in a new version of Michael Landy’s monumental Art Bin, 2010, a receptacle for failed artworks. With projects (including new efforts by Miwa Yanagi, Akira Takayama, and Masahiro Wada) arranged around such literary themes as“A Voyage into the Useless” and “A Voyage of Silence and Whispers,” Morimura’s curatorial strategy promises an idiosyncratic and necessary contrast to the state-driven agenda of “urban regeneration” behind many recent large-scale exhibitions in Japan. A catalogue featuring an essay by Morimura will be available in Japanese and English.

Andrew Maerkle