Running into the mid-point of December and with just days to go until the all-important business of Christmas truly begins, this weekend is unquestionably the one to take a breather from the festivities to revel in the best exhibitions still on offer at galleries around the world. From stylish fashion illustration to prize-winning portraits, a cobbled road in Bradford to the streets of Italy, there’s plenty going on this Saturday and Sunday to drag you away from the mince pies and Christmas shopping. Here’s five of the best.
1. Fashion Illustration Gallery at Christie’s, London
David Downton’s Elizabeth Taylor smoulders alongside two slender models of Cecil Beaton’s imagination as the Fashion Illustration Gallery team up with Christie’s and Issa London to present a new exhibition of some of the most exciting, colourfully evocative and original works of fashion illustration. Sitting young London-based artists alongside established practitioners, including the likes of Warhol and Lopez, the show serves as a reminder of the genre’s evolution and the stable shoulders upon which contemporary work is now made. A place where fashion and art unite, this is an exhibition that promises endless stylishness.
2. With Love from $inister, A Palazzo Gallery, Italy
The A Palazzo Gallery is alive with the spirits that have latched themselves onto artist Chiara Fumai from 2007 to the present day in an exhibition that reaches out to the surreal, the symbolic, the dreamy and even the nightmarish. A sea of Fumai’s alter-egos, all indistinct from the artist herself, crowd the room as the myriad definitions of the word “sinister”, from its historical links to genealogy and birth to today’s associations with horror, are talked through. Lives and existences swirl around the gallery in this unusual, haunting and haunted exhibition.
3. My Hand is an Animal, South Square Gallery, Bradford
The animal within raises its head in this new show exploring the art of expression and self-representation. Digging out the internal desires, myths and fantasies that have fascinated artists from the Pre-Raphelites and Surrealists to contemporary pop culture and fashion, My Hand is an Animal examines the complexity and fluidity of identities. Spanning artists emerging and established from across disciplines including performance, collage, design and costume, this is a space where “cyber selves”, female archetypes and cultural icons, converse ideas of selves with one another.
4. Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, London
60 portraits from some of the world’s most exciting contemporary photographers come together at the National Portrait Gallery, showcasing everything from famous faces to the most spontaneous and intimate moments of everyday life. Attracting over 5,000 submissions from gifted amateurs and established professionals alike, you can now see the winning portraits on full display. Highlights of the presentation include Giles Price’s series of the Kumbh Mela Pilgrimage, Anoush Abrar’s portrait of the Ghanian diplomat, Kofi Annan, and Dorothee Deiss’ strikingly human portrait of twin sisters in their bathrobes. The first-prize winning work of Katie Walsh by Spencer Murphy, capturing the toil and demands of extreme sports is also a key work to look out for.
5. Isa Genzken: Retrospective, MoMA, New York
Minimalist and cryptic, the assemblage sculptures of Isa Genzken (b.1948) might have left their mark on an American audience, but up until now, her broader body of work, encompassing painting, photography, film and public sculpture, has remained largely unknown. The comprehensive retrospective of the artist showcases over 150 objects for the first time in the USA, allowing her fascinating assemblages and room-filling installations to be admired in all their glory. Bringing together everything from toy soldiers to umbrellas to rain boots, America and its popular culture is packed into each piece as the talent and impact of this lesser-known artist is brought into startlingly clear view. For more information on Genzken pick up a current copy of Aesthetica.
1. Hana Knizova, Elza and Nellie, 2013. © Hana Knizova.