Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium, Whitechapel Gallery, London
Back in the 1980s the rise of video art and photography led to numerous critics declaring the ‘death of painting’. This show offers further riposte to this drastic oversimplification, featuring a group of contemporary artists who manage to utilise the medium without it ever slipping into boring convention. Highlights include the work of Daniel Richter, which draws from current events such as the migrant crisis or Taliban mythology, and Michael Armitage’s narratives of politics and violence in East Africa, which are painted in the lush, exoticised style of Gauguin.
Until 10 May www.whitechapelgallery.org
Thumbs Up, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
This exhibition, which is a co-presentation between Castlefield Gallery and Venture Arts, sees the gallery reimagined by four artists into a place of research and learning, conversation and exchange. Michael Beard, Frances Disley, Harry Meadley, and Leslie Thompson have worked closely with the University of Salford to expand their various practices, incorporating expert advice on topics including botany, energy efficiency, psychology, and horticulture in the development of new work for the exhibition.
Until 8 March www.castlefieldgallery.co.uk
Zadie Xa: Child of Magohalmi and The Echoes of Creation, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill On Sea
This major new multimedia project by Zadie Xa sees De La Warr Pavilion transformed into a sub-aquatic marine environment. Audiences enter into an immersive world by way of atmospheric lighting, surround-sound, large-scale video projections, sculptures and costumes, that bring together imagined and learned Korean folklore. Exploring the passing down of ancestral knowledge through the ‘matrilineal social structures that are based on the separation of responsibilities between male and female deities in the creation of the universe’, the results confront the goddesses’ shift in cultural status over time, from central to marginal.
Until 4 May www.dlwp.com
Pip Thornton: Arcadia, The Fruitmarket Gallery Pop Up Space, Edinburgh
Made specially for The Fruitmarket Gallery’s pop-up space in Edinburgh’s Waverley Mall, this installation uses LED screens hung in the bookshop’s windows to display text that will be seen in the communal mall space below. The text is from Walter Benjamin’s Arcades project, with each word appearing along with a price which is allocated from Google’s advertising platform. The results invite us to consider the processes that generate monetary value around us, in both physical and virtual marketplaces.
Until 29 March www.fruitmarket.co.uk
Unboxing Alex Frost, Firstsite, Colchester
This show includes videos and sculptures that are made from products that ‘feed our on-the-go lifestyle’, like frozen pizzas and supermarket sandwiches. It includes videos from Alex Frost’s Wet Unboxing series, in which meals, snacks, protein shakes, vitamin tablets and energy drinks are submerged and unpacked underwater. Encapsulating a world where consumption rules all life, he has previously shown at Venice Biennale, Tate St Ives, The Modern Institute, Glasgow and at Frieze Sculpture Park.
Until 19 April www.firstsite.uk
1. Michael Armitage, Kampala Suburb, Oil on Lubugo bark cloth, 196 x 150 cm, Private Collection, London
2. Thumbs Up, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
3. Pip Thornton: Arcadia