European Curators Pick the Shows to Look Out For in 2019

Selections include Kathy Acker’s solo show at the ICA, Pedro Neves Marques at Gasworks and Banu Cennetoğlu’s pair of exhibitions in New York and Düsseldorf

Patrizia Dander

Christina Lehnert

Barbara Casavecchia

João Laia

Osei Bonsu

Miriam Cahn, unklar, 2017, line on wood, 1.7 x 1 m. Courtesy: the artist and Meyer Riegger, Berlin/Karlsruhe

Miriam Cahn, unklar, 2017, line on wood, 1.7 x 1 m. Courtesy: the artist and Meyer Riegger, Berlin/Karlsruhe

Patrizia Dander

Patrizia Dander is a curator at the Museum Brandhorst in Munich, where she’s currently preparing a large collection survey for the 10th anniversary of the institution in May. Recent exhibitions she has curated include ‘Kerstin Brätsch. Innovation’ and ‘Schiff Ahoy – Contemporary Art from the Brandhorst Collection’.

2018 was a year of great exhibitions, which makes it hard to concentrate on the one to come. 2019 kicks off with a number of promising projects (to make it easier, I’m listing only institutional shows): the first exhibition I visited in early January was ‘A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women’, curated by Tate Liverpool’s Kasia Redzisz for the opening of Museum Susch in Switzerland, with its focus on the art of women from central Eastern Europe. Miriam Cahn’s timely survey at the Kunstmuseum Bern (travelling to Reina Sofía, Madrid, Haus der Kunst, Munich and Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, later in the year) – its unofficial prelude was her stunning contribution to 2017’s Documenta 14 – will allow for an in-depth contemplation on the artist’s own perspective on her work in painting, drawing, sculpture and video. The representation of the female body, the experience of expulsion and migration and its impact on cultural identity are concerns she shares with the Paris based artist Nil Yalter, whose long overdue retrospective will be on view from March at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. In the summer, the ICA in London will inaugurate an exhibition dedicated to the transgressive and performative practice of poet and novelist Kathy Acker; I’m very curious to see their take on her uncompromised and complex work. Last but not least, I can’t wait to see the new project that Mark Leckey is preparing for Tate Britain, his first major institutional solo after several large surveys between 2014 and 2016 (I worked on a show by Leckey in this run). Suffice to say that his childhood past still haunts him.

Banu Cennetoğlu, Library of spirits part I – Romania, installation view, 2015, Bonner Kunstverein. Courtesy: the artist and Rodeo, London; photograph: Simon Vogel

Banu Cennetoğlu, Library of spirits part I – Romania, 2015, installation view, Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn. Courtesy: the artist and Rodeo, London; photograph: Simon Vogel

Christina Lehnert

Christina Lehnert is the curator of Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Claire Tancons’ ‘Look for Me All Around You’, part of the Sharjah Biennial 14 Leaving the Echo Chamber, curated together with Zoe Butt and Omar Kholeif, draws its title from Marcus Garvey’s poem written under arrest in 1925. It implicates the political urgency of one’s immediate surrounding within the beauty of words. The exhibition is an open platform of ephemeral practices that will address, amongst wider themes, Sharjah’s role as an emirate and city, resource extraction and labour sourcing practices more generally.

Banu Cennetoğlu will open two new exhibitions: at New York’s SculptureCenter, at the beginning of this year, curated by Sohrab Mohrebbi, and at Kunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf, in July 2019, curated by Anna Goetz. Cennetoğlu critically reflects on ways in which cultural knowledge carries the potential for change and how it becomes part of societies’ collective memories and ideologies – a pressing subject in today’s political climate.

Artistic directors Hans D. Christ and Iris Dressler have invited ten artists, curators, scientists and a theorist to collectively conceive Bergen Assembly 2019ACTUALLY, THE DEAD ARE NOT DEAD. Bergen Assembly was founded as a critical approach towards the format of biennales, and 2019 edition will focus on different implications of the word ‘assembly’ in its relation to a political and aesthetic practices. The ‘Assembly’ proposes a new form for curatorial practice, referring at once back to Documenta 14 (2017), and ahead to its forthcoming editions – what are the exhibition format’s prospects in light of the limitations and right-wing interferences at the end of Documenta 14?

Alessandro Serra, Macbettu, 2018, performance documentation. Courtesy: Sardegna Teatro and Teatropersona

Alessandro Serra, Macbettu, 2018, performance documentation. Courtesy: Sardegna Teatro and Teatropersona

Barbara Casavecchia

Barbara Casavecchia is a writer, curator and contributing editor of frieze who lives in Milan, Italy. 

To sum up my hopes for the cultural and political climate of Italy in 2019, I’ll quote a line from the song 90MIN by Italian rap star Salmo (who has repeatedly clashed with the far-right deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini): ‘Prima di essere un vero italiano, cerca di essere umano’ (Try and be human, before a ‘true Italian’). I’d like to see more shows like the generous Eva Marisaldi retrospective ‘Trasporto Eccezionale’ (Exceptional Transport, PAC, Milan), which is on view in Milan until 3 February. Marisaldi’s installations, videos, animatronics, text and sound works from the early 1990s onwards, are ironic, poetic and tech-savvy antidotes to mainstream gloom. I am looking forward to the XXII Triennale di Milano, ‘Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival’, which is curated by the Museum of Modern Art’s Paola Antonelli (1 March until 1 September); to Matera’s year of exhibitions as European Capital of Culture, including ‘Rinascimento visto da Sud’ (The Renaissance, Seen from the South, curated by Marta Ragozzino); the work of small, non-profit and artist-run projects such as Il Colorificio in Milan and Spettro (a new ‘corridor for sound explorers’, as its founders describe it) in Brescia; and more plays like Macbettu (an adaptation of Shakespeare’s masterpiece in Sardinian, directed by Alessandro Serra, which is touring Europe, Japan and the US): if it comes to any theatre or festival near you, run to see it. It’s simply amazing.

Pedro Neves Marques, Learning to live with the enemy, 2017, film still. Courtesy: Museu Colecao Berardo, Lisbon

Pedro Neves Marques, Learning to live with the enemy, 2017, film still. Courtesy: Museu Colecao Berardo, Lisbon

João Laia

João Laia is a curator and writer based in Lisbon, Portugal. Curatorial projects include ‘Drowning in a Sea of Data’ at La Casa Encendida, Madrid (forthcoming), ‘foreign bodies’, P420, Bologna (2018), ‘10000 Years Later Between Venus and Mars’, Oporto City Hall Gallery (2017-18) and ‘Transmissions from the Etherspace’, La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2017).

2018 was a year of intense institutional change in Portugal, with new directorships to be filled at MAAT and the City Hall Galleries, both in Lisbon, as well as Serralves in Porto. After brilliant shows at Museu Berardo in Lisbon and Pérez Museum in Miami, Pedro Neves Marques’s solo exhibition at Gasworks in London is surely not to be missed. I’m also excited about the appointment of Sabel Gavaldon as Gasworks’s curator and look forward to engage with his programme. The 16th Istanbul Biennial, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, will raise relevant questions regarding humanity’s position in the (barely) blue planet and Anne Imhof’s live exhibition at Tate Modern should once again underline the vigour of performance art and its ability to comment on the contemporary condition.

Gilets jaunes protesters, December 2018, Paris. Courtesy: Getty Images, Chestnot

Gilets jaunes protesters, December 2018, Paris. Courtesy: Getty Images, Chestnot

Osei Bonsu

Osei Bonsu is a writer, curator and a contributing editor of frieze. He lives in Paris, France. 

In November 2018, thousands of people across France, dressed in yellow motorists’s vests, spontaneously organized to block roads and public landmarks to protests a planned ‘green’ hike on diesel fuel. Adding their voices to the generalized cry of grievance against the state of Western democracy, the increasingly turbulent protests of the gilet jaunes closed a momentous year in global politics. Across France, institutions are confronting their own crises, namely the question of how a museum should align itself with art’s international ecosystem, rather than being governed by provincial mentalities and stale bureaucratic systems. Launched in 2017, ‘MOVE’ (24 May – 9 June) at Centre Pompidou will attempt to provide answers to the tension between the museum’s public and thought-provoking socio-political ideas. Opening the galleries up to durational and participatory performances, the two-week festival will address issues of identity and diaspora as they relate to gesture, with performances by Evan Ifekoya, Tarik Kiswanson, Emilie Pitoiset and Manuel Pelmuș. 

The issue of challenging prevailing social hierarchies relates not only to contemporary art, but also the canon of art history and its hegemonic representation of race, class and gender. ‘Black models: From Géricault to Matisse’ (26 March - 21 July 2019), organized by the Musée d'Orsay and the Musée de l'Orangerie, reconsiders the representation of black figures in Western art from the abolition of slavery in France (1794) to the present day. Based upon pioneering research by art historian Denise Murrell (Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the Wallach Art Gallery), the exhibition will provide a critical insight into the question of the black female model, whose presence in masterworks by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Paul Cézanne, Charles Cordier, Théodore Géricault, Edouard Manet and Henri Matisse has remained invisible until now.

Main image: Eva Marisaldi, Trasporto Eccezionale (exceptional transport), 2018, installation view, PAC, Milan. Courtesy: PAC, Milan; photograph: Claudia Capelli

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