Top 4 Exhibitions to see in London this November 2021

Although staying home might look like a tempting idea as the winter looms upon us, there are plenty of amazing exhibitions around the city this November where you can surround yourself with art… and still be inside! Even though Frieze has now sadly been and gone, the art world in London is as lively as before. There is plenty of great art to see this November, so we have selected a good variety of exhibitions around the city that will cater to everyone's taste. So, let’s delve into Artscapy's top picks of the month!

Anicka Yi at Tate Modern 

12 October 2021 – 16 January 2022

Art and science fusion has been around for a while now, but every time its innovations astonish us. If you like this kind of art, head to Tate Modern to see the new installation by Anicka Yi. Yi, (a Korean American artist), is known for her scientific art practices that can put you on the edge of your seat (which we actually discussed in our  Top 7 Contemporary Halloween Artworks article, from last month). 

Her In Love with the World installation in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern shows two types of floating aerobes - Yi calls them “xenojellies” and “planulae”, which are based on ocean forms and mushrooms. These jellyfish-like machines, (powered by mini-propellers), float above the viewers, prompting us to consider the connecting links between biology and technology, asking us to envisage a world in which machines could evolve on their own and live in the wild. The artist wants us to imagine co-existing and not living in conflict with the new creatures.

The installation centres around what it means to learn, evolve and grow, focusing on smell as a means for acquiring information and knowledge. With this in mind, Yi has introduced various London-themed ‘smellscapes’ to the space. When visiting you might smell spices that were thought to ward off the infamous ‘Black Death’ of 1346-52, or simply just coal itself (alluding to the Turbine Hall’s original use). This installation is an engaging and multi-faceted dive into both the past and future, one that connects us to the atmosphere around us, posing new and exciting questions about our ever-changing relationship with technology.

LUX: New Wave of Contemporary Art at 180 The Strand 

13 October - 18 December 2021

180 The Strand is back with another immersive and cutting-edge exhibition. A few months ago, visitors had a chance to see light and sound installations by a Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda which left many speechless. LUX: New Wave of Contemporary Art is no different. In a collaboration between curatorial body SUUM and FACT magazine, twelve artists showcase immersive displays that blur the line between technology and art, and without a doubt, Es Devlin and Hito Steyerl are the showstoppers, as their use of digital and immersive displays address issues in innovative ways.

Es Devlin’s installation BLUESKYWHITE is a protest against the engineering proposal to ‘dim the sun’ in order to counter the climate crisis, one of the potential side effects of which is an end to blue skies. As visitors walk down a long red tunnel, a reading of Byron’s poem Darkness (1816), which was written after a volcanic eruption in Indonesia that dimmed the sky for a year, rings in their ears. 

Further into the exhibition, Hito Steyerl, (a German filmmaker and moving image artist), presents a fascinating work involving a neural network that uses trained AI to predict plant growth. Power Plants, first showcased at Serpentine Gallery in London a few years ago, is firing once again, creating gorgeous displays of digital flowers. 

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga at October Gallery 

13 October - 27 November 2021

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga is one of the most exciting talents amidst the monumental rise of African art in the last five or so years. The paintings in Ghost of the Present, Ilunga’s third solo exhibition with October Gallery, provide a refreshing twist on the widespread return to figurative art we’re currently seeing in the contemporary art world. 

Ilunga uses the aesthetics of digitalisation and electric circuit patterns to invert our understanding of the human form and explore the history and culture of his homeland. Ghost of the Present continues Ilunga’s explorations of his Congolese heritage, this time focussing on the effect of Catholic missions in the country from the end of the 19th century onwards.

Shilpa Gupta at Barbican 

7 October 2021 - 6 February 2022

Shilpa Gupta is one of those artists that are so brilliant yet so unknown outside of art circles. Her practice approaches important subjects such as the fragility of freedom of expression, the dangers of censorship, and the importance of resistance to which this exhibition at The Barbican provides the viewer a great insight into the artist's practice.  

For this exhibition, Gupta will build on her acclaimed project For, In Your Tongue, I Cannot Fit, an immersive, soundscape installation in which 100 metal spikes pierce pages of poetry from suppressed writers throughout the centuries. Above them are 100 microphones, broadcasting the silence to the audience. Gupta’s poignant reflection on artistic censorship and the merits of dissenting voices is a thoroughly thought-provoking and moving experience.

So there you have it: from floating futuristic aerobes to an installation addressing artistic censorship, London has it all. We are pretty sure that you won’t regret taking the time to see any of these! Which exhibition are you most excited about? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.

Header image credits: Installation view, ‘LUX’, Carsten Nicolai, unicolor, 2014, courtesy 180 Studios. Via Wallpaper

#anickayi #180thestrand #esdevlin  

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