This weekend make sure to get the most out of the longer days and visit one of the many brilliant art exhibitions currently on display. With highlights including the rarely seen Spitalfields street photography of C.A. Mathew, the powerful video art of Bill Viola at the Grand Palais, and Paweł Althamer’s newest show which encourages visitors to add to the gallery space, there is no excuse to miss out. Here are our pick of five exhibitions to see this weekend.
1. C.A. Mathew: Photographs of Spitalfields A Century Ago, Eleven Spitalfields, London.
Little is known of the enigmatic C.A. Mathew, whose photography is being showcased by Eleven Spitalfields. Capturing the essence of Spitalfields in 1912 as he ventured into the heart of the district, Mathew’s work contrasts the contemporary fashion for staged, formal photography in favour of depicting the everyday, bustling life of the streets around him. The relaxed spontaneity and human quality of the artist’s pictures allows the viewer to imagine in vivid detail how this unique part of London looked one hundred years ago, and question how it has changed since.
2. Richard Hawkins: Hijikata Twist, Tate Liverpool.
In his first UK museum exhibition, the American artist Richard Hawkins will explore the way in which Western figurative painting can be “twisted” to create new ideas beyond established art history. Showcasing works by iconic artists such as Francis Bacon and Willem de Kooning, Hawkins investigates how they have influenced Japanese artist Tatsumi Hijikata in unexpected ways. Carrying on these connections, the artist shows how Hijikata and the concept of butoh, a surreal mode of performance from the 1960s involving grotesque imagery and white body-makeup, have inspired his own work.
3. The Jameel Prize 3, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
The third edition of the Jameel Prize is exhibiting the works of 10 shortlisted international artists inspired by the Islamic traditions of art, craft and design. An exciting marriage of contemporary artists and an incredible creative heritage characterises the work on show which includes Arabic calligraphy, video installation, social design and more. The winning piece is Dice Kayek’s Istanbul Contrast, a collection of garments evoking Istanbul’s architectural and artistic aesthetic which demonstrates how Islamic traditions have historically moved across art forms and continue to do so today.
4. Paweł Althamer: The Neighbours, New Museum, New York.
Althamer’s unique artistic practice involves figurative sculptures of his community and experimental modes of social collaboration. The artist’s work is invested in the complex social, psychological and political networks that define modern life. In this exhibition, a blank white space will be gradually transformed by the accumulation of drawings and paintings by visitors and community organisations. Alongside this collaborative work, the artist has invited street musicians to play outside the gallery and this music will be broadcast into the gallery space to create an immersive atmosphere. A selection of Althamer’s distinctive sculptures and performative videos will also be featured.
5. Bill Viola, Grand Palais, Paris
The metaphysical themes of life, death and transfiguration are all explored through the video art of Bill Viola. In this extensive exhibition, the Grand Palais will showcase the artist’s moving paintings and installations from 1977 until today. One of the leading artists in this field, his works depict both intimate and universal experiences and often draw from his interest in mystical traditions and existentialist questions. The thought-provoking video art has been influential in marking a new generation of artists working with sound and image technology.
1. Paweł Althamer: The Neighbors, 2014. Exhibition view: New Museum. Photo: Benoit Pailley.