If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that nothing beats an in-person art encounter. The Covid-19-induced backlog of show postponements has largely settled, and uncertainty is becoming less of a certainty. We finally have an alternative to viewing art via pixels, which – bar recent NFT dramas – never quite offered the same thrills. 

These are the best art exhibitions, in London and around the UK, worth visiting in 2022.

  • London art exhibitions

Exhibition: ‘Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art 50s – Now’
Location: Tate Britain
Dates: Until 3 April 2022

 Caribbean-British Art 50s – Now’. Tate Photography Best London exhibitions
Installation view of ‘Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art 50s – Now’. Tate Photography

Spanning four generations of art through the work of 40 artists, ‘Life Between Islands’ is a landmark group survey of Caribbean-British art and its impact on the contemporary UK landscape. The show begins with the Windrush Generation that arrived in Britain in the 1950s. It moves through the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s and 80s and concludes with emerging contemporary artists who draw on the legacy of Caribbean-British. Featured artists include Aubrey Williams, Sonia Boyce, Donald Locke, Horace Ové, Sonia Boyce, Frank Bowling, Isaac Julien, Claudette Johnson, Peter Doig, Hurvin Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner and Alberta Whittle. 

Exhibition: Ed Clark: ‘Without a Doubt’
Location: Hauser & Wirth 
Dates: 19 January - 20 April 2022

 Thomas Barratt
Ed Clark, 
Untitled (Paris), 1998, Acrylic on canvas. Photography: Thomas Barratt

Ed Clark’s solo exhibition at Hauser & Wirth London will plunge viewers into the depths of material and colour, where paint itself is the primary subject. Clark was a pioneer of the New York School in the 1950s, known for pushing painting beyond hard-edged Abstraction, and became the first artist to exhibit a shaped canvas. ‘Without a Doubt’ is a deep-dive into the artist’s wide-ranging exploration of paint, marks his first solo presentation in the UK, following the artist’s inclusion in the seminal ‘Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983’ at Tate Modern

Exhibition: Victor Vasarely: ‘Universe’ 
Location: Selfridges
Dates: until 31 March 2022

 Fabrice Lepeltier and Fondation Vasarely
Victor Vasarely, Okta cor (1973). Photography: Fabrice Lepeltier and Fondation Vasarely

Selfridges is blending the worlds of NFT and IRL in a new project, ‘Universe’, which celebrates the work of Op Art pioneer, Victor Vasarely, known for geometric designs and perception-bending illusions. In partnership with the Fondation Vasarely and Paco Rabanne, the show will include an exhibition of 55; 37 will be available for sale, alongside a series of specially commissioned NFTs created by London-based platform, Substance. The project also marks the launch of Paco Rabanne’s S/S 2022 collection for which creative director Julien Dossena has taken the work of Vasarely as a starting point.

selfridges.com

Exhibitions: Lee Ufan: ‘Response’; Joanna Pousette-Dart
Location: Lisson Gallery (Bell Street & Lisson Street) 
Dates: until 22 January 2022

Lee Ufan
, Response, 2021 
Acrylic on paper
. © Lee Ufan. Courtesy Lisson Gallery Best London art exhibitions
Lee Ufan
, Response, 2021 
Acrylic on paper
. © Lee Ufan. Courtesy Lisson Gallery

Artist-philosopher Lee Ufan is known as the founding member and pioneer of the avant-garde, Tokyo-based Mono-ha movement. His work centres on essentialism blending natural stones and pigments with body gestures. At Lisson’s Bell Street gallery, he presents six minimal paintings and four works on paper recently created in his Paris studio. New York-based Joanna Pousette-Dart is dominating the gallery’s Lisson Street space with dynamic multi-panel curved canvases for her first show in London. 

Exhibition: Rindon Johnson: ‘Law of Large Numbers: Our Selves’
Location: Chisenhale Gallery
Dates: until 6 February 2022

Rindon Johnson best london art exhibitions
Rindon Johnson, Coeval Proposition #2: Last Year’s Atlantic, or You look really good, you look like you pretended like nothing ever happened, or a Weakening, 2021. Realtime Portrait Animating Program, projectors, platform, computer. SculptureCenter, New York and Chisenhale Gallery, London Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles. Photography: Kyle Knodell

The art of American artist Rindon Johnson is rooted in language and fluid in media. In a newly-opened show at Chisenhale Gallery, London – following a recent presentation at SculptureCenter New York – Johnson traverses a wide range of subjects, from his identity as a Black transgender American, to the environmental crisis and the space between actual and virtual realities. Through sculpture, installation, poetry, writing, virtual reality film and painting, Johnson probes at the very core of belonging. In the large-scale sculpture, Coeval Proposition #1: Tear down so as to make flat with the Ground or The *Trans America Building DISMANTLE EVERYTHING, Johnson references the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, an iconic landmark of the city’s skyline. The building’s concrete, steel, and glass with a facade covered in crushed white quartz has been reimagined in reclaimed redwood and ebonised, or darkened.

chisenhale.org.uk

Exhibition: Hervé Télémaque, ‘A Hopscotch of the Mind’ 
Location: Serpentine South Gallery
Dates: until 30 January 2022

 Jean-Louis Losi © Hervé Télémaque, ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2021.
Hervé Télémaque, Confidence, 1965, Magna on canvas, painter’s stepladder, carpenter’s hammer, rod and ropes. Photography: Jean-Louis Losi © Hervé Télémaque, ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2021

Since the late 1950s, Haitian-French artist Hervé Télémaque has merged mixed-media abstraction with cartoon-like imagery to form a distinctive visual vocabulary across paintings, drawings, collages, objects and assemblages. At the Serpentine, Télémaque’s first UK institutional show surveys subversive fusion of archival and contemporary pop cultural references, alongside narratives on the impact of racism, imperialism and colonialism. His vast, vibrant and often playful pieces ranging from the 1950s to the present day offer insight into the artist’s blend of internal consciousness and social experiences. 

Exhibition: Yayoi Kusama: ‘Infinity Mirror Rooms’
Location: Tate Modern
Dates: Until 12 June 2022

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrored Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life 2011/2017 Tate Presented by the artist, Ota Fine Arts and Victoria Miro 2015, accessioned 2019 © YAYOI KUSAMA Photo © Tate (Joe Humphrys)
Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room Filled with the Brilliance of Life, 2011/2017, Tate, presented by the artist, Ota Fine Arts and Victoria Miro 2015, accessioned 2019 © YAYOI KUSAMA Photo © Tate (Joe Humphrys)

On the post-lockdown London art scene, there seems to be a recurring theme: immersion. These include Ryoji Ikeda’s sensory ambush at 180 The Strand, and Es Devlin’s recent Forest for Change at Somerset House for London Design Biennale. But Tate Modern is hosting the piece of work that arguably redefined the role of immersion in contemporary art: Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Infinity Mirror Rooms’. The year-long show will comprise two of the artist’s acclaimed mirror room installations in a dizzying marriage of mirrors, light and water, which offers the illusion of limitless space. Also on view is The Universe as Seen from the Stairway to Heaven, 2021, Kusama’s brand new ’peep in’ sculpture, which has been created specifically for the show. At 92, Kusama remains a prolific force: the artist currently has a simultaneous shows at Victoria Miro, London, the New York Botanical Garden, and a major retrospective at Gropius Bau in Berlin. She has also recently collaborated with brands such as Veuve Clicquot, which involved a striking sculptural intervention on the French Champagne house’s premium cuvée, La Grande Dame. 

Art exhibitions around the UK

Exhibition: ‘Masterpieces in Miniature: The 2021 Model Art Gallery’
Location: Pallant House, Chichester
Dates: Until spring 2022

 The 2021 Model Art Gallery’ at Pallant House Gallery, featuring miniature artworks by leading artists, the best art exhibitions to see in the UK
Installation views of ‘Masterpieces in Miniature: The 2021 Model Art Gallery’ at Pallant House Gallery. Photography: Rob Harris

The 2021 Model Art Gallery at Pallant House is a microcosm of contemporary British art featuring tiny new works created over the last year by 34 leading artists. The dolls house-esque gallery features new works sculptures by Julian Opie, ceramics by Grayson Perry, with a façade clad in Lothar Götz’s electric geometric mural, and pieces by Michael Armitage, Cecily Brown, Michael Craig-Martin, Gary Hume, Magdalene Odundo, and Rachel Whiteread. Ever thought you’d have to squint for a closer look at a Sean Scully or spot a porcelain pot by Edmund de Waal no bigger than a thimble? We didn’t either, but there’s a first time for everything. 

Online art exhibitions 

Exhibition: ‘Shapeshifters: The Image in Flux’
Location: online
Dates: Until 5 February 2022

At first, you may only be able to progress this far. (no.5), 2012, Joseph Staples
At first, you may only be able to progress this far. (no.5), 2012, Joseph Staples

‘Shapeshifters: The Image in Flux’ brings together ten contemporary artists pushing the boundaries of photographic transformation; images in their original form are simply raw ingredients for this cohort. Whether folding, scanning, cutting, ripping, sticking, stitching, merging or collaging, every destructive and constructive method is fair game as these curious artists generate new meanings. Through this breadth of approaches, what is presented by one artist, is questioned by another. Viewable on Open Doors Gallery until 5 February 2022, the ten artists include ​​Ibrahim Azab, Cecilia Bonilla, Anthony Gerace, Ricardo Miguel Hernández, Kensuke Koike, Kíra Krász, Alexandra Lethbridge, Joseph Staples, Miriam Tölke and Constanza Valderrama. 

Writer: Sophie Gladstone

opendoors.gallery